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McCain Echoes Hansen: Waxman-Markey is a ‘Farce’ (The Civil War widens among climate alarmists)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- August 3, 2009

“[The Waxman-Markey] 1,400-page bill is a farce. They bought every industry off—steel mills, agriculture, utilities…. I would not only not vote for it. I am opposed to it entirely, because it does damage to those of us who believe that we need to act in a rational fashion about climate change.”

– Senator John McCain to Stephen Moore, Wall Street Journal, August 1-2, 2009, p. A9.

“The truth is, the climate course set by Waxman-Markey is a disaster course. It is an exceedingly inefficient way to get a small reduction of emissions. It is less than worthless….”

-James Hansen, “Strategies to Address Global Warming,” July 13, 2009.

The death of federal climate legislation in 2009 will not only be because traditional Republicans and conservative Democrats said “no”. It will also be because true believers like Senator John McCain realize that politicized cap-and-trade is all pain and no gain. A scorched earth economic policy that does not meaningfully address a feared “scorched earth” to come is worse than no policy at all.

Consider the conversation between Stephen Moore and Senator McCain in last weekend’s Wall Street Journal:

Since Mr. McCain was the co-sponsor of the McCain-Lieberman bill last year to limit CO emissions through a cap-and-trade system, I ask him about the climate change bill that passed the House last month and he surprised me with his opposition. “I believe climate change is real . . . but this 1,400-page bill is a farce. They bought every industry off—steel mills, agriculture, utilities,” he says.

So you wouldn’t vote for the House bill? “I would not only not vote for it,” he laughs, “I am opposed to it entirely, because it does damage to those of us who believe that we need to act in a rational fashion about climate change.”

And compare this to what NASA scientist, climate alarmist, and Al Gore confidant James Hansen has said about the original version of Waxman-Markey:

“Governments are retreating to feckless ‘cap-and-trade,’ a minor tweak to business-as-usual….

“Why is this cap-and-trade temple of doom worshipped?  The 648-page cap-and-trade monstrosity that is being foisted on the U.S. Congress provides the answer.  Not a single Congressperson has read it.  They don’t need to – they just need to add more paragraphs to support their own special interests.  By the way, the Congress people do not write most of those paragraphs—they are ‘suggested’ by people in alligator shoes.”

And Dr. Hansen later spanked harder on the final bill:

“The alternative approach is Cap & Trade, or perhaps more honestly Tax & Trade, because a ‘cap’ increases the price of energy, as a tax or fee does.

Other characteristics of the ‘cap’ approach: (1) unpredictable price volatility, (2) it makes millionaires on Wall Street and other trading floors at public expense, (3) it is an invitation to blackmail by utilities that threaten ‘blackout coming’ to gain increased emission permits, (4) it has overhead costs and complexities, inviting lobbyists and delaying implementation.

The biggest problem with [cap and trade] is that it will not solve the problem. It may slow emissions, but because of the long lifetime of atmospheric CO2, slowing the emissions does little good. As long as fossil fuels are the cheapest form of energy they will be used eventually. There is no hope that cap and trade can get us back to 350 ppm CO2.

Hansen also addressed his critics on the Left who are politically stuck with Waxman-Markey:

Some environmental leaders have said that I am naïve to think that there is an alternative to cap-and-trade, and they suggest that I should stick to climate modeling. Their contention is that it is better to pass any bill now and improve it later. Their belief that they, as opposed to the fossil interests, have more effect on the bill’s eventual shape seems to be the pinnacle of naïveté.

The truth is, the climate course set by Waxman-Markey is a disaster course. It is an exceedingly inefficient way to get a small reduction of emissions. It is less than worthless, because it would delay by at least a decade or two the possibility of getting on a path that is fundamentally sound from economic and climate preservation standpoints.

And Hansen will not kow-tow to the Administration:

Officials in the Obama administration privately admit that the science demands much more rapid emission cuts than Waxman-Markey would yield, but they say that their hands are tied by a recalcitrant Congress. Is that so? Has President Obama provided direction or guidelines for what he expects from Congress?

Waxman-Markey–aka the Enron Revitalization Act of 2009— is in deep trouble because it fails to either help the economy (the ‘green jobs’ myth) or address alleged climate change. Its death will be bipartisan.


  1. Graeme Strathdee  

    Isn’t there a close correlation between GDP and energy consumption in developed countries? Capping energy use will mean dialing back the GDP. The current recession has provided experimental evidence of what happens to energy consumption when the US economy declines. If energy use is curtailed by this bill then surely a 1960s-like economy will return. Unfortunately the American love-in won’t be quite the same.


  2. Michael Labeit  

    Surprising. Why couldn’t McCain have been this way before the election on the other pressing issues?


  3. Bryan Kelly  

    Let’s scrap that bag of balderdash for this:

    American Energy Act H.R. 2828 [111th]

    From the June 11, 2009 edition of the Wall Street Journal. Edited for space:

    “…The American Energy Act establishes a national goal of licensing 100 new nuclear reactors over the next 20 years. With 31 announced reactor applications already in the pipeline, this goal can be achieved — and it will revitalize an entire manufacturing sector, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. The bill also streamlines a cumbersome regulatory process by offering a two-year, fast-track approval program for power-plant applications that employ safe reactor designs already approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission…”


    The simple “Contact Congress” page below enables readers to quickly find and open a window directly to their US Representative, and then cut and paste a simple letter of support.

    Please visit and pass it on as you see appropriate.


    or, Twitter-sized:



  4. Charles Higley  

    So, Hansen criticizes the cap-and-trade bill, which is definitely evil and ill-intended, but he refuses to study his own field and admit that global warming has failed, the PDO and ENSO are in cooling mode (right on schedule, predictably) and Solar Cycle 24 is not only late but might fail altogether, producing a very predictable cooling future through entirely natural processes. Very simply, a trace gas cannot, has not, and does not drive the climate, just as a ship rat does not captain an oceanliner.

    C Higley, PhD Biochem


  5. Michael Labeit  

    Nuclear power unarguably has the most potential in my mind.


  6. Andrew  

    If only McCain could be made to understand that none of the “do something” proposals would work, be desirable, or even necessary!

    You would think a man tortured by communist barbarians wouldn’t be scared of the weather…


  7. McCain realization: “[The Waxman-Markey] 1,400-page bill is a farce. « Watts Up With That?  

    […] McCain Echoes Hansen: Waxman-Markey is a ‘Farce’ (The Civil War widens among climate alarmists) […]


  8. javapoppa  

    McCain is still not to be trusted on this issue. In other recent comments he has said that something still needs to be done with regard to climate change. The conceit that the Congress has the ability to alter our climate is still deeply ingrained in him.


  9. Ben  

    I am glad that there is some measure of sanity in Washington. Waxman bill proposes a worst case scenario. No matter what your conclusions are about global warming, people are going to be harmed significantly and enormous amounts are going to be wasted, and all for an insignificant reduction in a minor greenhouse gas.

    JavaPoppa, McCain is doing what he thinks is right. The fact that he is wrong is at this point immaterial. The good thing about people like McCain is that if they can be shown they are wrong, they change. Compare to a party-liner who will bow down to whatever gets them in power and you will probably agree.

    As for Hansen, while the enemy of my enemy isn’t my friend (and I certainly will not tolerate Hansen’s baseless accusation of big-oil writing the bill), this goes to show what a horrible bill it is and he will be instrumental in defeating it.


  10. Eve  

    The joke is that not only will the cap and trade not do anything for the climate but reducing C02 emmissions will not do anything for the climate. Earth’s temperatures are cooling all by themselves. However the cap and trade will do harm to the economy and to every individual in the county. The politians know this. The scientists know this. The citizens are starting to learn this. I am sure this hoax will be the downfall of climate science and maybe the political system.


  11. Hugh  

    It is unfortunate that Senator McCain is buying into global warming at all. It is not happening ……. and anthropogenic global warming has never been and never will be a danger.


  12. Joe  

    The truth is, people want economical power, they want ethical business guiding real change to produce power. The jury is still out on greenhouse gases, I’ve read scientists from both sides of this issue, the gloom and doom scientists point to industry and peoples carbon footprint while the others point to historic models and natural elements driving climate change. One has to question the validity of industy being the real reason for climate change when science puts such a small percentage to industry and people really impacting climate change. Other countries aren’t willing to bankrupt their country for such an ill-concieved legislative mumbo-jumbo.


  13. Randall  

    Interesting that McCain, a pretend “Republican”, even has the gumption to speak on this or any other issue. The fact that his is still, nominally, a “public servant” speaks volumes of Arizona’s common sense.

    Now, Nuke power is the way to go. I consider it to be a stop gap measure, certainly, till such a time as Quantum Theory is more completely understood and can be utilized. Additionally, new power plant designs and advances in materials and construction techniques have shed much of the “fear factors” of previous designs.
    Go Nuke, or go away.

    Side note;
    Petroleum is far too valuable a commodity to be poring into our gas tanks. Many more uses (plastics, pharma, agriculture, ad nauseam).


  14. Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, Aug. 7th 2009 « The Daily Bayonet  

    […] McCain, the 3rd election loser to be mentioned in this weeks round-up, has decided that Waxman-Malarkey is a farce.  Not for the right reasons, but a farce nonetheless: “They bought every industry […]


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