From an editorial Friday in the Philadelphia Daily News:
The past 12 months have been the hottest on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Throughout the nation, drought, wildfires, floods and other extreme weather have made global warming a visible reality.
So it was maddening and tragic that both presidential candidates spent significant time during Tuesdays debate trying to one-up each other on how much more fossil fuels they plan to extract, burn and allow into the atmosphere. In three debates so far, climate change hasnt been mentioned once.
Moderator Candy Crowley said that one of the undecided voters at the debate had prepared a climate-change question, but she didnt call on that person: We just, you know, again, we knew that the economy was still the main thing.
Yeah, we know. But if the nation, and the world, doesnt get serious about climate change like, right now the jobs of the future are at serious risk. Unfortunately, as MSNBCs Chris Hayes pointed out, future farmers of America whose crops will be destroyed by climate change are too young to vote in this election. Then again, if climate change isnt halted, jobs wont be the worst worry for future farmers or nurses, or teachers, or factory workers. Survival will.
Yet there was former Gov. Mitt Romney challenging President Obama: This has not been Mr. Oil, or Mr. Gas, or Mr. Coal, as if that were a bad thing.
The president went right back at Romney, challenging his assertion that he is a big coal guy, as if that were a good thing, and furthering the myth there is such a thing as clean coal.
Certainly, Obama and the Democrats offer a more forward-thinking energy policy than Romney and the Republicans. Romney has hitched his policy to the extraction industry (which has effectively promoted climate-change denial).
For his part, Obama does support increased fuel efficiency for cars, which will save Americans money since they will use less high-priced gas. He supports the tax credits that make it feasible for private companies to produce actual clean energy technology like solar, wind and biofuels. (Romney does not.)
But the political necessity to frame renewable energy as part of a jobs program, rather than a necessary response to the most pressing issue of our time, does the country a disservice.
An organization called Climate Silence (climatesilence.org) is offering graphics for concerned voters to use on social media as part of a campaign to demand that it be asked. Its surely an appropriate question for Mondays final debate on foreign policy: climate change is a national security threat greater than any we have ever faced.
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