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Reality Check: Examining McCain Ad On Global Warming

Published On: Jun 25 2008 05:53:05 AM CDT   Updated On: Jun 27 2008 03:09:37 AM CDT

Now that the primary season is over, presidential candidates are beginning to fight over swing states like Wisconsin, especially over the airwaves.

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Political ads for the general election have arrived in Wisconsin.

Republican Sen. John McCain's latest ad touts his commitment to global warming issues, and WISC-TV put the ad through a "Reality Check."

"John McCain stood up to the president and sounded the alarm on global warming five years ago," a narrator in the ad says.

That statement is true. In January 2003, McCain co-sponsored the Lieberman-McCain Climate Stewardship Act, which called for a cap on greenhouse gas emissions.

The Bush administration opposed it, preferring voluntary efforts to stop global warming.

"Today, (McCain) has a realistic plan that will curb greenhouse gas emissions. A plan that will help grow our economy and protect our environment," the ad says.

WISC-TV found that this claim needs clarification.

McCain's plan stems from the Stewardship Act he co-sponsored. The Stewardship Act failed in the Senate in 2003.

It would create a so-called "cap and trade" system. The program would cap emissions, aiming to reduce them by nearly 70 percent by 2050.

It would allow companies to buy, sell or trade their rights to emit gasses like carbon dioxide. So, companies that emit below the cap can sell their allowances not used back to the government... for cash or sell them to companies that want to emit more.

The main argument against McCain's plan comes from his own party. The headline shown at the beginning of the ad was from the end of May, just before Republicans blocked a vote on a similar bill.

"The president supports tackling the problem of climate change in a way that will be effective, meaning that it would actually reduce greenhouse gas omissions around the world and in a way that would not harm our economy," said Dana Perino, White House press secretary.

Many believe these measures would amount to a major restructuring of the economy and call the cap a "tax increase."

NOTE: On Thursday's "News 3 at 6," WISC-TV will put Barack Obama's first general election ad through a "Reality Check." The ad is running in 18 states across the country, including Wisconsin.

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