Climate Change in the 2012 Presidential Election

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While it is true that climate change has been largely absent from the 2012 Presidential Race, many believe that the devastating effect Hurricane Sandy had on the eastern seaboard may be changing that trend.  Of course it is unlikely that we will see any real debate regarding climate change at this late stage of the election, but it is still worth the effort to research each candidate's positions on the issue so that we can better understand how they will react to similar events in the future.


Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney leads a party that largely denies the existence of global warming or climate change.  As a result, Romney has essentially avoided addressing climate change in favor of other, more mainstream issues (LA Times, 2012).  Some even go as far as to say that Romney "has morphed from an early supporter of clean energy, fuel efficiency and emissions caps to a climate change agnostic given to openly ridiculing the issue." (Huffington Post, 2012).  Romney began by supporting "carbon emission limits...in the battle to improve the environment" and stating that we will begin to see 'more frequent and severe heat waves' due to carbon emissions [Dec 2005].  He later began equivocating the issue with statements like "scientists haven't entirely resolved" global warming but there's "no question" that "it's getting warmer." [Feb 2007].  Most recently Romney has completely denied the issue by questioning the scientific consensus on climate change and saying "we don't know what's causing climate change" [Oct 2011] (ClimateSilence.org, 2012). 


President Obama leads a party that largely supports the science behind global warming, but he has still avoided addressing the issue in the 2012 Presidential election (LA Times, 2012).  President Obama's record on climate change is much more consistent than Romney's record, but he has not taken much real action regarding the issue.  As early as October of 2005, President Obama stated that the "science is not in dispute" regarding climate change.  The President later affirmed, in no uncertain terms, that "global warming is real, is happening now and is the result of human activities,' and that "people are dying in heat waves" [Oct 2007].  Finally, President Obama has continued his promises, committing to "phase out fossil fuel subsidies" as "one of the most important steps" to "address the threat of climate change" [June 2010] (ClimateSilence.org, 2012). 


 


"Barack Obama's Record On Addressing Climate Change In First Term Under Scrutiny By Activists ." Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/11/barack-obama-climate-change_n_1951965.html. (October 31, 2012).

 "Data". Climate Silence. http://www.climatesilence.org/data/. (October 31, 2012).

"Will Obama and Romney see climate change in Hurricane Sandy?" LA Times. http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/topoftheticket/la-na-tt-hurricane-sandy20121030,0,5019826.story. (October 31, 2012).



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2 Comments

Hi Sean - Can you resize the cartoon so we can read the righthand side? Thanks!

Yes ma'am, sorry about that. This was my first time using a picture, and I was having some trouble with the formatting. I probably wasted a little too much time trying to get it right, but I think it was worth it. Thanks for pointing out that error, though, I appreciate it.

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