Media outlets hear the climate silence in debates

Media outlets hear the climate silence in debates

After Tuesday night’s second round of presidential climate silence, the national media started to take notice. Below is a sample of articles noting and criticizing the essential issue that was left conspicuously missing in the debates.

Climate change, the debate’s great unmentionable by Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker

“But aside from the potential for job creation, the President could never quite bring himself to discuss why it might not be a good idea to burn every gallon—or cubic foot—of fossil fuels we could conceivably bring to the earth’s surface. In the midst of what will almost certainly be the warmest year on record, climate change has become to the Obama Administration the Great Unmentionable, or, as the blogger Joe Romm has put it, The-Threat-That-Must-Not-Be Named.”

Three debate questions to break the climate silence by Mike Sandler, The Huffington Post

National Security: The Pentagon has stated that climate change and its related increase in extreme weather events, water shortages, and more ‘will pose a threat to U.S. security interests.’ Do you agree with this statement? If not, please explain why Americans should be subjected to increased risks to national security if you are elected president? If so, would you declare a ‘War on Climate Change’ to protect our national security by mobilizing government, the private sector, and communities around the country to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?”

Is David Axelrod to blame for climate change’s absence from the election? by Chris Mooney, The Atlantic

“Taylor said that following the economic collapse of 2008, this was a more or less a conscious strategy. ‘By the spring of 2009, with the fiscal crisis, there was a decision made, and adopted, not to talk about climate change,’ she related. ‘That was adopted by the majority of the environmental groups, and by the White House. I was at that meeting. Bill McKibben stood up and said, “This is a mistake — it’s going to come back and haunt us.”‘ Talking about clean-energy jobs was fine, she continued. But the ‘C-word’ was a no-go.”

Why the chill on climate change? by Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post

“Why does it matter that nobody is talking about climate change? Because if you accept that climate scientists are right about the warming of the atmosphere — as Obama does, and Romney basically seems to as well — then you understand that some big decisions will have to be made. You also understand that while there are some measures the United States could take unilaterally, carbon dioxide can never be controlled without the cooperation of other big emitters such as China, India and Brazil. You understand that this is an issue with complicated implications for global prosperity and security. “

Enviros say debate a “missed opportunity” for Obama to discuss climate change by Zack Colman, E2 Wire of The Hill

“Environmental groups have pushed the presidential campaigns to address climate change all summer. Many thought the issue would be more salient after record-breaking temperatures, wildfires, storms and a record drought.

“But Obama and Romney have yet to seriously engage in a discussion on climate change, save for exchanging one-liners a week apart during their respective convention speeches. Some environmentalists believe Democrats are trying to stay away from the issue after failing to pass a cap-and-trade bill in 2009.”

What about climate change? by Editorial board, The Baltimore Sun

“The only real possibility for Mr. Obama’s reluctance to attack his opponent is that he worries that the issue might be used against him. Concern for the environment might translate into a lack of interest in people and jobs. That’s clearly how the GOP is playing it. Republicans have tried to make the case that the U.S. has gone too far in environmental protection and hurt the private sector’s ability to expand and create new employment opportunities. ‘By the way, I like coal,’ as Mr. Romney likes to say.”

Candy Crowley almost got around to a question for “all you climate change people” by Will Oremus, Slate Magazine

“Except that climate change and the economy are not two separate issues. The problem with climate change isn’t that we’re going to sweat a little more on sultry August afternoons. It’s that species are going extinct, cyclones and tsunamis are wiping out cities, entire island nations are sinking, and Kansas can no longer grow corn. How’s that for an ‘all of the above’ energy policy?”

The sound of climate silence: Romney and Obama spar over who wants to drill for more fossil fuels during debate by Stephen Lacey,

“Obama started off the debate with a strong nod to renewable energy, explaining that we need to invest in ‘solar and wind and biofuels, energy efficient cars.’ But after a voter asked about gas prices, both Obama and Romney proceeded to battle over who could drill more fossil fuels. … Obama separated himself by focusing on the need to develop more renewables and lower consumption of petroleum through better efficiency measures. But when talking about why he believes those investments are important, he never mentioned the reasons that alternatives to fossil fuels are so important.”

Why aren’t candidates debating climate change? by Editorial board, Minnesota Star Tribune

“But if the nation, and the world, doesn’t get serious about climate change – like, right now – the jobs of the future are at serious risk. Unfortunately, as MSNBC’s 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 isn’t halted, jobs won’t be the worst worry for future farmers – or nurses, or teachers, or factory workers. Survival will.”