McCain pledges to combat climate change
By Tim Gaynor
PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuters) - Republican John McCain pledged to take the lead in combating global climate change if elected president in a speech that set him apart from the policies of U.S. President George W. Bush.
In remarks he prepared to give at a wind technology firm in Portland, Oregon, on Monday, the Arizona senator said he would seek international accords to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and would offer an incentive system to make businesses in the United States cleaner.
"The facts of global warming demand our urgent attention, especially in Washington," McCain said in remarks he planned to give at the Vestas Wind Technology plant.
"Good stewardship, prudence, and simple common sense demand that we act to meet the challenge, and act quickly," he added.
McCain is visiting Oregon where Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama is favored to beat Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary on May 20.
The speech set McCain apart from fellow Republican Bush, who has been skeptical about global warming throughout his eight-year term, and was calibrated to win support from independents and centrist Democrats he will need to convince to win office in the November election.
"I will not shirk the mantle of leadership that the United States bears. I will not permit eight long years to pass without serious action on serious challenges," he added.
If elected president, McCain said he would push for "meaningful environmental protocols" that included developing industrial powers India and China, to seek to cut worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.
He planned to present a so-called cap and trade system to Congress that sets clear limits on all greenhouse gas emissions for U.S. businesses, while also allowing the sale of rights to excess emissions, so as to "change the dynamic" of the U.S. energy economy.
"Those who want clean coal technology, more wind and solar, nuclear power, biomass and bio-fuels will have their opportunity through a new market that rewards those and other innovations in clean energy," he said.
McCain said the plan would set out specific goals on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, including a return by 2012 to 2005 levels of emission, and by 2020 to 1990s levels.
McCain has campaigned on his support for alternative energy sources including wind, solar and biomass technologies in his run for the White House, as well as support for nuclear power.
(Editing by Eric Beech)