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McCain, Obama, and Hot Air

Both John McCain and Barack Obama have promised tough action on global warming. But the cornerstone of their plans – a cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions - is expensive, unwieldy, and would mainly benefit politicians and big businesses in privileged positions.

WASHINGTON, DC – Whatever the outcome of the United States’ presidential election, climate change policy will be transformed. Both candidates have placed great importance on global warming. Republican John McCain believes that it presents “a test of foresight, of political courage, and of the unselfish concern that one generation owes to the next,” while Democrat Barack Obama calls it “one of the greatest moral challenges of our generation.”

It remains far from clear, however, whether the shift in rhetoric and policy will move the planet any closer to embracing the best response. Both McCain and Obama could leave future generations lumbered with the costs of major cuts in carbon emissions – without major cuts in temperatures.

Both politicians are keen to tap into voters’ concerns about global warming. McCain launched a television commercial declaring that he had “stood up to President George Bush” on global warming. If elected, Obama plans to count on former vice president and passionate campaigner Al Gore to help “lead the fight” against warming.

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