McCain on Climate Change

When I was talking to Jon Chait about John McCain I realized that I was a little unclear on the current status of McCain's climate change thinking. Brian Beutler lays out his evolution:

Jon rightly points to his position on climate change--indeed, in 2003, when McCain and Joe Lieberman introduced the Climate Stewardship Act, they were way ahead of the curve, and if the bill had passed then, it might well have been a sufficient regulatory solution to the problem. But the problem has grown worse and the measures needed to combat it more expansive, and as such, when the Democrats took over in 2007, they began discussing a whole host of new legislation, the weakest of which--sponsored by Lieberman and John Warner--has a lot of momentum behind it. But it doesn't have the support of McCain himself, who basically thinks the bill is too far reaching, except in that it doesn't contain a provision to back a dump truck full of money up to the front door of the nuclear energy industry. Today, his campaign says almost nothing about global warming at all. So I suppose he should get some plaudits for opening the climate change conversation up to other Republicans (like Olympia Snowe and John Warner and others). But he's not leading on the issue anymore, and it's pretty clear where he'd govern from as president.

I don't think it's a very good idea to lard up a climate change bill with subsidies to the nuclear industry (noting that any sensible system of carbon curbs would constitute a large de facto subsidy to nuclear power anyway, I'd like to see explicit subsidies limited to truly clean renewables). I wouldn't, however, be heartbroken to see an otherwise good climate bill wind up larded up with such subsidies on route to passage or as a means of building a broader political coalition. But to actually turn around and oppose a climate change bill due to insufficient lard seems totally unconscionable like old fashioned straight talk to me.