McCain talks climate

John McCain has a new ad up and is giving a speech today in Oregon on climate change, a signature distinction that he likes to draw between himself and President Bush. McCain’s strategy on this issue is to try to position himself as a moderate, and this will be a key issue for him to build his maverick image upon.

Take a look at the new ad:

This ad places McCain in the middle on climate and strikes at others as being "extreme," presumably mainstream Republicans on one side and Democrats on the other. Look for more messaging like this out of the McCain team as the campaigns move into general election mode and McCain tries to neutralize climate change as an issue for the Democrats as he hunts for the middle that he will need to win in November.

McCain’s plan, which David Roberts at Grist calls "better than expected but behind the curve," is part of an important moment in American politics, as it means that the next president will surely do something about Climate Change. It is important to remember, however, that the something on climate all the candidates offer is not the same.

Update: Today's Washington Post features an excellent article by Julie Eilperin entitled "Environmental Stances Are Balancing Act for McCain." A sample:

But an examination of McCain's voting record shows an inconsistent approach to the environment: He champions some "green" causes while casting sometimes contradictory votes on others.

The senator from Arizona has been resolute in his quest to impose a federal limit on greenhouse gas emissions, even when it means challenging his own party. But he has also cast votes against tightening fuel-efficiency standards and resisted requiring public utilities to offer a specific amount of electricity from renewable sources. He has worked to protect public lands in his home state, winning a 2001 award from the National Parks Conservation Association for helping give the National Park Service some say over air tours around the Grand Canyon, work that prompts former interior secretary and Arizona governor Bruce Babbitt to call him "a great friend of the canyon." But he has also pushed to set aside Endangered Species Act protections when they conflict with other priorities, such as the construction of a University of Arizona observatory on Mount Graham.