In contrast to Barack Obama's efforts to provide viable alternatives to hefty gasoline consumption, John McCain's idea is that we should make regulatory changes to allow more drilling, and then slather on some additional subsidies (or as he puts it "incentives" since he's against subsidies) to allow for more drilling:



Now there's a coherent case for more drilling. It would say something like "the economic benefits of cheap gasoline exceed the environmental and other harms of massive gasoline consumption." But McCain, whether he realizes it or not, has endorsed a carbon cap-and-trade program that will necessarily reduce consumption of fossil fuels and raise the price of gasoline. If you want cheaper gas, you don't cap carbon emissions. And if you want to reduce carbon emissions, you don't try to reduce the price of gasoline.

But McCain wants political credit for breaking with GOP orthodoxy on climate change, and he doesn't want to bite any of the bullets involved in breaking with GOP orthodoxy on climate change, so instead he's come up with an incoherent mess.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.