A decade ago, Sen. John McCain was one of the Senate’s leaders on climate change–meaning that he actually co-sponsored (with former Sen. Joe Lieberman) a major bill to address climate that was to be the Senate’s vehicle on the issue. That bill never passed, of course; even it was too radical for the Senate then (although “radical” is an absurd word to use to describe an extremely moderate piece of legislation). And with a growing number of climate deniers entering Congress in recent years, the odds of any major climate legislation getting through the current Congress are nil. For his part, while Sen. McCain never became a climate denier himself, he stopped talking about the issue when he began to run for president in 2007 and it wasn’t an issue he talked about during the 2008 presidential campaign either. Nor has he introduced or co-sponsored any climate legislation since then, nor has he been talking about the issue–and considering how often McCain manages to get himself on Sunday TV newstalk shows and other public arenas, if he had been talking about climate, you would have known it.
So it’s a bit of a surprise to see McCain raising the issue at all this week. But don’t get your hopes up; he only raised the issue in the context of nuclear power, saying that until “the Left” embraces nuclear power–and by that he means “a lot of nuclear plants,” he won’t support any climate legislation. Well, ok John, we weren’t really expecting you to support anything as rational as climate legislation that might actually be effective–that would mean excluding nuclear power. But if the only thing you have to say is that you won’t support legislation to address a problem you once believed in unless it props up an industry undeserving of support, why say anything at all? After all, it’s not like McCain has introduced any climate legislation in about 10 years, nor is he likely to now.
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