It seems to be a rule of thumb in the election campaign: Talk about anything you like – abortion, jobs, taxes, the other guy’s taxes, anything at all – but whatever you do, don’t mention climate change!
A video from NASA shows how the planet is rapidly warming up:
But you wouldn’t know it on the campaign trail. Seth Borenstein of the A.P. gives a simple analysis of what’s at stake. On the candidate’s positions:
Obama’s position: He proposed a bill that would have capped power plant carbon dioxide emissions and allowed trading of credits for the right to emit greenhouse gases, but the measure died in Congress. Now he’s attempting to treat carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the law. He doubled auto fuel economy standards, which will increase the cost of cars but save drivers money at the pump. He’s also put billions of stimulus dollars into cleaner energy.
Romney’s position: In his book “No Apology,” he wrote, “I believe that climate change is occurring” and “human activity is a contributing factor.” But during the primaries he said, “We don’t know what’s causing climate change.” He opposes treating carbon dioxide as a pollutant and the capping of CO2 emissions, but favors spending money on clean technology. He says some actions to curb emissions could hurt an already struggling economy. And he ended his convention speech by saying: “President Obama wants … to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.”
Borenstein outlines the deteriorating situation:
In the U.S. July was the hottest month ever recorded, and this year is on track to be the nation’s warmest.
… Sea levels are rising while Arctic sea ice was at a record low in September. U.S. public health officials are partially blaming unusually hot and dry weather for an outbreak of the deadly West Nile virus that is on pace to be the worst ever.
… Limiting carbon dioxide emissions from coal and oil would be costly [but] the price of not doing anything is extraordinarily high. People will pay either way in taxes, energy prices, insurance premiums, disaster relief, food prices, water bills and changes to our environment that are hard to put a price tag on, says MIT economist Henry Jacoby.
The issue of man-made global warming is “totally missing” from the campaign between Obama and Romney, says Jacoby. It should be talked about, he says, because “we’re running a serious risk of passing a much-damaged planet to our descendants.”
No doubt, during the debates, one of the moderators will pose the question. But don’t expect any real answers from either candidate. They both know how hot this topic is. And they both know that the solutions are completely unacceptable to an electorate that is basically in complete denial.