(CNN) – Kicking off a week-long push seen as outreach to independent and Democratic voters in crucial swing states, John McCain will deliver a speech in Portland, Oregon this morning outlining his vision for fighting global warming.
“We stand warned by serious and credible scientists across the world that time is short and the dangers are great,” McCain will say, according to prepared remarks. “The most relevant question now is whether our own government is equal to the challenge.”
McCain’s commitment to fight global warming puts him at odds with some Republicans in Congress and the Bush administration, which has not made climate change a top priority. His stance on carbon emissions places him closer on the environmental spectrum to Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
In his speech, the Arizona senator will propose capping carbon emissions incrementally, with the goal of returning to 1990 emission levels by the year 2020 using a cap-and-trade program. Such a program would cap greenhouse gas emissions at certain levels, and allow more efficient energy producers to sell off emissions permits to other, less efficient companies, thereby creating market-wide incentives to reduce carbon output.
McCain believes this system will encourage companies to seek out more efficient means of production.
“As never before, the market would reward any person or company that seeks to invent, improve, or acquire alternatives to carbon-based energy,” he will say.
McCain has also released a TV ad in Oregon suggesting that climate change is behind deadly weather phenomena like hurricanes. The spot features a McCain voiceover saying, “It’s not just a greenhouse gas issue, it’s a national security issue.”
McCain will also speak about the environment on Tuesday in the neighboring state of Washington. Oregon and Washington among several potential battleground states in the West, including California, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, where voters count the environment as a top issue.
However, McCain is not completely breaking with more traditional Republican positions on environmental matters. He agrees with the Bush administration’s stance on the Kyoto Protocol, which the United States has refused to ratify because large polluting nations like China and India are not obligated to reduce emissions.
McCain is also an ardent supporter of expanding the use nuclear power, a fact he mentions at nearly every campaign stop.
The Democratic National Committee is accusing the presumptive Republican nominee of hypocrisy on the energy issue, e-mailing reporters a list of McCain advisers who have served as lobbyists for the oil industry.