After the presidential debate ended last night, severe disappointment set in amongst many who had hoped climate change and the environment would be discussed. Despite over 160,000 signatures calling on moderator Jim Lehrer to ask the candidates about climate change, it wasn’t brought up at all.
The closest any of them got to talking about it was Mitt Romney lying about gas prices and promoting the Keystone XL pipeline, and President Obama touting his “all-the-above” energy policy. It would nice if the reason was there “wasn’t enough time to get to climate change”, or there were “more pressing issues to be discussed”, but the reality of the situation is if the climate gets too far out of control, then no issue will be more important—life will be completely different.
Also, polls have shown climate change and the environment are incredibly important to democratic and independent voters in swing states, which adds to the confusion as to why climate change wasn’t mentioned in the debate, and why it hasn’t been brought up more in the campaigns.
Mitt Romney will do nothing to advance environmental policy, and will instead do the opposite and move it backwards—this has been made clear in his campaign, and is not surprising given his disposition to adopt far-right positions in efforts to appease the party’s base.
President Obama is the real disappointment here, since he has supported and worked toward progressive policies to combat climate change and aid the environment. However, the “all-the-above” energy policy which President Obama has enlisted is not the greatest for the environment. It is still dependent on oil and gas that are domestically produced, which isn’t necessarily a good long-term solution.
It isn’t enough anymore to simply say climate change is real—the discussion must now shift to what will be done to combat increasing dangers associated with climate change, and it needs to happen now.
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