John McCain’s Energy Follies

The New York Times looks at John McCain’s Energy Follies, concluding:

Global problems obviously require a global response. As the world’s most profligate user of energy, and as one of its most technologically gifted nations, the United States can and should lead the way by developing more efficient vehicles and by expanding carbon-free energy sources like wind and solar power.

The John McCain of a few years ago understood this. He sponsored a bill with John Kerry that would have aggressively raised fuel economy standards, and another that would have put a stiff price on carbon emissions to encourage investment in cleaner technologies.

Unfortunately, that John McCain has receded from view just in time for the presidential campaign. He has dropped his opposition to offshore drilling, pandered shamelessly by urging a gas tax holiday, and missed several crucial votes on bills extending credits for wind and solar power.

And while his acceptance speech promised “the most ambitious national project in decades,” including efforts to improve energy efficiency, increasing oil production remains the centerpiece of his strategy.

These positions divert public attention from an unavoidable truth: a nation that uses one-quarter of the world’s oil while owning only 3 percent of its reserves cannot drill its way to happiness or self-sufficiency. And they trivialize the very hard work that lies ahead.

Mr. McCain’s choice of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate raises even more worrisome questions. Her strategy is drill here, drill there, drill now.

She would open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in a heartbeat — something Mr. McCain continues to oppose. She has sued the Bush administration for declaring the polar bear a threatened species, fearing it would interfere with oil exploration in Alaskan waters. She has questioned whether humans are responsible for climate change. Governor Palin’s views are alarmingly out of touch with reality. No less alarming was Mr. McCain’s decision to welcome them into his campaign.

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