New York, Sept.8 : Republican presidential nominee John McCain's decision to drop his opposition to offshore drilling and calling for a gas tax holiday, besides missing several crucial votes on bills extending credits for wind and solar power, has been described by a New York Times editorial as an alarming development.
Though he has promised "the most ambitious national project in decades," including efforts to improve energy efficiency, increasing oil production, the editorial claims that this stance diverts public attention from an unavoidable truth -- that a nation that uses one-quarter of the world's oil while owning only three percent of its reserves cannot drill its way to happiness or self-sufficiency.
It further goes on to say that the world is consuming oil at a ferocious pace because of runaway demand in India and China and because America - the world's largest consumer - is only beginning to confront its addiction. It warns that this cannot go on forever, and adds that the conservative United States Geological Survey predicts that oil production will peak by mid-century.
It cites mainstream scientists as warning that unless green gas emissions are sharply reduced, Earth will face rising sea levels, prolonged droughts, widespread famine and other frightening consequences. "Global problems obviously require a global response. As the world's most profligate user of energy, and as one of its most technologically gifted nations, the United States can and should lead the way by developing more efficient vehicles and by expanding carbon-free energy sources like wind and solar power," the NYT editorial claims.
It also expresses concern over McCain's choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, as she has always been a champion of drilling for oil wherever it is available.
She is on record as saying that she is ready to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling. She has sued the Bush administration for declaring the polar bear a threatened species, fearing it would interfere with oil exploration in Alaskan waters. She has questioned whether humans are responsible for climate change.
In short, the NYT editorial describes Governor Palin's views as alarming and out of touch with reality.