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During the second presidential debate, Sen. John McCain drew a distinction with President Bush on the issue of global warming.
"We have an issue that we may hand our children and our grandchildren a damaged planet," McCain said when environmental issues arose during the Oct. 7, 2008, debate. "I have disagreed strongly with the Bush administration on this issue."
He went on to say he traveled all over the world looking at the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, and introduced legislation on the subject of global warming.
But let's check the record – as we have in the past when McCain made similar claims on the campaign trail – and see if he was in fact at odds with Bush on global warming.
McCain spoke up about global warming in January 2003. And as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, he held hearings on the issue several years before that.
On Jan. 9, 2003, McCain and Sen. Joe Liberman introduced the Lieberman-McCain Climate Stewardship Act, which sought to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by capping them and allowing companies and utilities to sell or trade their emission rights.
When he introduced the bill, McCain called it "the first comprehensive piece of legislation" in capping emissions.
"The U.S. is responsible for 25 percent of the worldwide greenhouse gas emissions," he said. "It is time for the U.S. government to do its part to address this global problem, and legislation on mandatory reductions is the form of leadership that is required to address this global problem."
By contrast, the Bush administration has opposed cap-and-trade programs and preferred voluntary efforts on climate change.
Manik Roy, director of congressional affairs for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, said McCain had actually been working on the climate change bill in 2001, but it got delayed after the 9/11 attacks. The Lieberman-McCain bill ultimately failed in October 2003 by a 43-55 vote, but Roy said it was a key step in "educating the Senate" about how government could respond to global warming.
"It is absolutely correct that McCain stood up on this issue, forced the Senate to focus on this issue when nobody else thought it made sense and did it with strong opposition from the White House," Roy said.
He called McCain "a huge leader on this issue in the Senate."
And so we find McCain's statement to be True.
PolitiFact.com, McCain spoke up early , accessed Oct. 7, 2008
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