McCain’s Embarrassing Climate Speech
While no one knows who first uttered the sentiment "It’s better to say
nothing and seem a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt,"
Republican presidential hopeful John McCain’s speech this week on climate change
certainly supports the phrase’s validity.
McCain spoke at the facilities of Vestas Wind Technology, an Oregon-based
firm that manufactures wind-power systems. The irony of the setting was rich
given McCain’s outspoken opposition to pork-barrel spending.
He even risked his presidential hopes by criticizing ethanol subsidies ahead
of the all-important Iowa caucuses. Next to solar power, however, wind power is
the most heavily subsidized form of energy.
Taxpayers cough up an astounding $23.37 per megawatt hour of electricity
produced, according to the Wall Street Journal. In contrast, coal and natural
gas are only subsidized to a tune of 44 cents and 25 cents, respectively.
McCain lauded wind as a "predictable source of energy." He must have missed
this Feb. 27 headline from Reuters: "Loss of wind causes Texas power grid
emergency." The electric grid operator was forced to curtail 1,100 megawatts of
power to customers within 10 minutes.
"Our economy depends upon clean and affordable alternatives to fossil fuels,"
What he’s talking about is not quite clear since our current economy is about
75 percent dependent on fossil fuels and will remain that way for at least the
next 25 years, as solar and wind technologies remain only marginal sources of
If anything, we are likely to be even more dependent on fossil fuels in the
future as nuclear power, which provides about 20 percent of our electricity,
shrinks in availability as a supply of energy.
Although our energy needs are ever-growing, construction of nuclear power
plants is not keeping pace — not one has come online in the last 30 years. Even
if a few nuke plants are constructed during the next decades, they will not
supply enough power to keep nuclear power at the 20 percent level.
McCain then demonstrated how little he knows about the science of global
"No longer do we need to rely on guesswork and computer modeling, because
satellite images reveal a dramatic disappearance of glaciers, Antarctic ice
shelves and polar ice sheets. And I’ve seen some of this evidence up close…"
Global warming alarmism, however, is entirely based on the "guesswork and
computer modeling" that McCain says isn’t necessary. The reason the United
Nations relies on "guesswork and computer modeling" is because the glaciers that
are receding have been doing so since at least the 19th century, before
significant human output of greenhouse gases.
In any event, the melting of glaciers is not evidence that humans are
involved. Glaciers have been advancing and retreating for hundreds of millions
of years. Just because humans are witnessing changes in glaciers does not mean
that humans are causing them; moreover, Antarctic ice is expanding while any melting of Arctic ice is not likely due to
warmer air temperatures.
"We have seen sustained drought in the Southwest and across the world average
temperatures that seem to reach new records every few years. We have seen a
higher incidence of extreme weather events," McCain stated.
But that "sustained drought" is why the Southwest is commonly known as a
"desert" — and it was a desert long before industrial emissions of greenhouse
As to global temperature, the world has cooled since 1998 and the latest research from U.N.-approved researchers indicates that more
global cooling is on the way. With respect to extreme weather events, I can’t
think of a single scientist — even an alarmist scientist — who has the temerity
to stand up and link specific weather events with climate change.
McCain’s apparent climate mentor, Al Gore, learned this lesson the hard way
McCain touted a so-called cap-and-trade system for controlling greenhouse gas emissions, citing the
supposed success of the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments’ cap-and-trade system for
the sulfur dioxide emissions linked to the alleged phenomenon of acid rain.
But even if acid rain were a genuine environmental problem — and studies
leading up to the 1990 law cast significant doubt — controlling sulfur dioxide
emissions is many orders of magnitude easier than controlling greenhouse gas
The volume of sulfur dioxide emissions to be eliminated is much smaller, the
sources (coal-fired power plants) are relatively few and the smokestack
technology is comparatively inexpensive.
McCain said that "A cap-and-trade policy will send a signal that will be
heard and welcomed all across the American economy." This is unlikely since
cap-and-trade’s economic harms have been exposed and condemned by the likes of the Congressional Budget Office, the
Environmental Protection Agency and renown economists such as Alan Greenspan and
Even the Clinton administration warned of the economic harms that would be
caused by cap-and-trade.
Although China, the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, vows not to
reduce its emissions, McCain says the U.S. should act anyway. So as China, India
and other developing nations become the world's greenhouse gas smokestacks,
thereby nullifying any reductions made by the U.S., McCain willingly condemns
the U.S. to more expensive and less available energy supplies for no
environmental benefit whatsoever.
Undaunted by facts, McCain appears to be programmed with every nonsensical
green platitude and policy — a truly worrisome situation since global warming
regulation is shaping up to be the most important domestic policy issue of the
Many McCain supporters believe he is the candidate to lead the country at a time of
war. But there is a war of sorts at home, too — the struggle against the greens
for control over vital domestic energy and economic policy. We can’t afford to
lose the latter war, either.