Where's McCain on Climate Change?


Remember the Where's Waldo? books, in which the reader has to find that tiny white-and-red-shirted Waldo in a sea of strange looking characters? I'm beginning to think that McCain's the new Waldo when it comes to climate change -- when it comes to actually voting on climate change issues, he's nowhere to be found.



The Senate voted to debate an important new climate bill on Monday -- the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act -- and John McCain was conspicuously absent. Not that this is anything new for McCain -- in the past he's repeatedly missed votes on key climate legislation. But perhaps the most bizarre part about McCain's most recent Waldo-like stunt is that McCain initially was quite supportive of the bill.



On May 9, Time's Swampland reported that McCain was strongly supporting the climate bill:
With Lieberman at his side, McCain was asked about the climate bill. "I hope it will pass," he said, "and I hope the entire Congress will join in supporting it and the President of the United States would sign it."

But by May 29, McCain had changed his tune. As the Washington Post reported,
With the debate set to begin Monday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will miss the entire proceedings because he will be campaigning all week. In a press conference Wednesday McCain defended his decision to skip the vote, and outlined his opposition to the bill. "First of all, I have not been there for a number of votes. The same thing happened in the campaign of 2000," he said. "The people of Arizona understand I'm running for president of the United States."

Notably, McCain is close friends with both Lieberman and Warner, and has co-sponsored climate change legislation with Lieberman in the past.



This isn't the first time that McCain has gone AWOL on key climate change issues. As David Roberts wrote in The Nation:

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