News & Media Opinion Pieces Presidential debate bans “climate change”

Presidential debate bans “climate change”

Presidential debate bans “climate change”

In an interdependent World we have to be concerned about action in the world’s biggest economy.  The decisions made in the US will have a flow on to Australia.

In the three debates between Obama and Romney the words climate change were never uttered once.
For the second debate between Obama and Romney the public submitted 10,000 questions on climate change.  None were used.  In all debates both candidates have judiciously avoided the words climate change and have argued who could extract the most oil and gas.  Romney once stood in front of a coal fired plant and said “I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people, and that plant — that plant kills people.”  His position has reversed

In fact the Presidential candidates avoided climate for the first time in nearly 25 years.  As noted in the press, even as the world has seen 331 consecutive months with global temperatures over the 20th century average, even as extreme weather gets more intensive and expensive, even as the Arctic sees unprecedented melt of sea ice, and even as scientists issue dire warnings about an approaching climate tipping point, the issue got no mention at all.

Even as North America has the greatest climate foot print from climate related disasters, causing huge economic loss, there was no mention in the debates.

The Washington Post sums up the situation

A presidential campaign offers an opportunity to educate and engage the American people in the decisions that climate change will force us to make. Unfortunately, Obama and Romney have chosen to see this more as an opportunity to pretend that the light at the end of the tunnel is not an approaching train.

The reasons?

After the second debate the Obama campaign defended the President’s silence on climate change after environmentalists and activists criticized him for not directly addressing the issue.

Whether it’s on the stump or at the White House, President Obama has long focused on ways to develop clean energy as a core economic pillar.  By advocating for the growth of renewable energy, as he did in Tuesday’s debate, President Obama has continually called for action that will address the sources of climate change, Adam Fetcher, a spokesman for the campaign, told The Hill.

The fossil fuel industry has deployed huge funds before and in the campaign to thwart Obama.  The intrigue is reviewed in The Conversation

And summed up by Bloomberg Business Week.

The cringe-inducing catfight about oil drilling in the second presidential debate reminded us how carefully both candidates have avoided the topic of climate change.

Those two words weren’t mentioned once, unlike “gas” (30 times).  The candidates touched on oil and gas policy in the third debate, but without voicing any concerns about the fact that fossil fuels produce greenhouse-gas emissions.

That’s because well-financed voices with a big stake in America’s wasteful status quo have successfully stigmatized global warming.

In the past 4 years, any attempt at climate change legislation in Congress was blocked by the Republicans.  Obama therefore proceeded through the USEPA to tighten pollution controls and this reduced the use of coal.  He has supported renewable energy.

Romney if elected will be captive of the fossil fuel industries and all the funds poured into Republican coffers.  He opposes subsidies for renewable energy and has supported them for coal and oil.
If Obama is re-elected many believe he will support more aggressive measures to alleviate climate change.

Quite simply if Obama can engineer a move to renewable energy, the world will have to follow because renewables offer a distinct long term economic advantage.

David Shearman, the views expressed here are not necessarily those of DEA