|Sen. John McCain|
Q. You used to be very engaged on the issue of climate change?I’m still interested in it. And I think there are a lot of things that we can do like this transition that we’re making to natural gas thanks to our resources and I still believe in nuclear power as one of the big parts of the answers, and that’s almost impossible to get. And I think we need to address greenhouse gas emissions. But I try to get involved in issues were I see a legislative result… But there’s going to be no movement in the Congress of the United States certainly this year and probably next year. So I just leave the issue alone because I don’t see a way through it, and there are certain fundamentals, for example nuke power, that people on the left will never agree with me on. So why should I waste my time when I know the people on the left are going to reject nuclear power? I don’t believe that you can really succeed in reducing greenhouse gases unless you have a lot of nuclear power plants. They’re against them. Well, okay, I move on to other issues.That's all there is to it. I vaguely remembered what might have motivated McCain's view, though this is an exceptionally blunt expression of it. David Corn discusses this (very much from the left) in Mother Jones. This is about McCain working with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and environmental groups on a new version of the McCain-Lieberman climate change bill, the first version of which had narrowly been voted down in 2008:
McCain had long been an advocate of nuclear power. "He feels strongly that nuclear power will be one of the keys to reducing emissions," says Heather Wicke, who was his environmental legislative aide at the time. But environmentalists who had worked with McCain and Lieberman on the first bill were stunned. In one meeting, lobbyists for environmental groups attempted to persuade McCain not to attach nuclear subsidies to the legislation, arguing that doing so would weaken support for the bill.The second attempt failed, too, and a third attempt went nowhere. Corn blames this on the nuclear provisions. Maybe, but a similar bill without those provisions also failed. Maybe the moment for this legislation crested with that first attempt and then passed. It could return - maybe through McCain's office, maybe not - but the bottom line is, McCain is right: "I don’t believe that you can really succeed in reducing greenhouse gases unless you have a lot of nuclear power plants." Well, you can define "a lot" however you like, but right is right.