Why Aren't the Candidates Talking About Climate Change?

In his Washington Post column, Eugene Robinson wonders why Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have been so silent when it comes to this important issue.

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In his Washington Post column, Eugene Robinson wonders why Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have been so silent when it comes to this important issue.

Not a word has been said in the presidential debates about what may be the most urgent and consequential issue in the world: climate change.

President Obama understands and accepts the scientific consensus that the burning of fossil fuels is trapping heat in the atmosphere, with potentially catastrophic long-term effects. Mitt Romney's view, as on many issues, is pure quicksilver -- impossible to pin down -- but when he was governor of Massachusetts, climate-change activists considered him enlightened and effective.

Yet neither has mentioned the subject in the debates. Instead, they have argued over who is more eager to extract ever-larger quantities of oil, natural gas and coal from beneath our purple mountains' majesties and fruited plains.

"We have increased oil production to the highest levels in 16 years," Obama said in Tuesday's debate. "Natural gas production is the highest it's been in decades. We have seen increases in coal production and coal employment."

Romney scoffed that Obama "has not been Mr. Oil, or Mr. Gas, or Mr. Coal," and promised that he, if elected, would be all three. "I'll do it by more drilling, more permits and licenses," he said, adding later that this means "bringing in a pipeline of oil from Canada, taking advantage of the oil and coal we have here, drilling offshore in Alaska, drilling offshore in Virginia, where the people want it."

Read Eugene Robinson's entire article at the Washington Post.

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Sept. 19 2014 8:34 AM