If scientists were televangelists, they would be suggesting that Superstorm Sandy was punishment for climate change not being mentioned in any of the presidential or vice-presidential debates. This marks the first time that the issue wasn’t brought up in the debates since Ronald Reagan ran for re-election.
In the aftermath of a hurricane that’s estimated to have caused $20 billion in damage, climate is suddenly a hot topic of conversation.
You remember that in his speech at the Republican National Convention, Mitt Romney blasted the president for wanting to “begin to slow the rise of the oceans.”
Tuesday in Minnesota, President Clinton noted, “In my part of America, we would’ve liked it if somebody could’ve done that yesterday.”
Clinton praised the president’s policies to transition to green energy and added, “In the real world, Barack Obama’s policies work better.”
The politics of the electoral college make talking about fighting carbon emissions nearly impossible, as it could alienate crucial votes in the coal regions of Ohio and Pennsylvania. But it’s important to remember Barack Obama’s record. According to Time magazine’s Mike Grunwald — the author of the seminal book on the stimulus, The New, New Deal, “…he’s probably done more to prevent climate change than anyone else on the planet.”
Who even comes close? Al Gore, maybe.
In addition to the president’s new fuel standards that will save a whole year of carbon emissions by 2025, Grunwald points out that Obama is also responsible for untold innovations in green technologies:
Obama’s stimulus bill also launched a quiet clean-energy revolution, with unprecedented investments in wind, solar, geothermal and other renewables; energy efficiency in every possible form; blue-sky research into low-carbon technologies; the smart grid; electric vehicles; advanced biofuels; and the factories to build all that green stuff in the U.S.
Basically, the president has launched several Manhattan Projects to get us to cleaner energy. But because of both the Republicans’ incredibly successful effort to brand the stimulus a failure and the electoral college, he can’t even mention them.
Would a President Romney take credit for the progress that will emerge from these investments? Or would he reverse the new fuel standards and stamp out any progress he can?
Bet on the latter. Since he began running for president, Romney has moved from a genuine green energy reformer to a tool of Big Oil’s agenda, even refusing to acknowledge that climate change is caused by human activity. His energy policies never even mention climate change or indicate that he would try to wean America off oil, as even George W. Bush used to suggest.
Sandy reminds us what happens when we ignore climate change. But we also have to remember that the president’s actions to get us off oil and coal speak louder than words.