McCain vows to fight climate change, energy dependence

Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) laid out his plan Monday to tackle climate change and end U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

ADVERTISEMENT
“Climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution,” McCain said at a speech in South Carolina. “America has both an obligation and a compelling national interest in fulfilling our historic leadership role.”

The Arizona senator lambasted those who propose not to act on the issue because there are still unanswered questions and it is uncertain how great of an effect climate change will have on the world today and on future generations.

“I’m a proud conservative, and I reject that kind of live-for-today, Me-Generation attitude,” McCain said.

While the senator warned that energy independence could not be achieved overnight, he noted that using energy more efficiently would be a big step in the right direction. McCain is advocating the use of alternative fuels for cars and nuclear power for the country’s electricity needs.

The senator delivered the speech on the same day that his former colleague Al Gore accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change. The former vice president criticized the U.S. in his speech in Oslo, saying that it, along with China, “will need to make the boldest moves or stand accountable before history for their failure to act.

“Both countries should stop using the other’s behavior as an excuse for stalemate, and instead develop an agenda for mutual survival in a shared global environment,” Gore said.

McCain, who has a long track record of seeking to combat climate change, advocated working with China “to make coal use cleaner and climate-friendly.”

The senator forcefully laid out his plan to make the U.S. independent from the oil reserves in the Middle East.

“Great nations don’t leave the ‘lifeblood’ of their economy in the hands of foreign cartels or bet their future on a commodity located in countries where authoritarians repress their people and terrorists find their main support,” he said.

McCain added that its energy dependence makes the U.S. vulnerable to attacks.

“The flow of oil has many chokepoints — pipelines, refineries, transit routes and terminals, most of them outside our jurisdiction and control,” he stated. McCain pointed out that Iran made $45 billion from oil sales in 2005, adding that “al Qaeda must revel in the irony that America is effectively helping to fund both sides of the war they caused.”