Year 3, Month 9, Day 25: She Said She Said…

The Anchorage Daily News runs a McClatchy story comparing the two presidential candidates’ approach to climate change:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It was just six words, but when President Barack Obama gave a shout-out to global warming in his acceptance speech this month, he reintroduced an issue that had all but disappeared from the political debate.

“Climate change is not a hoax,” Obama said, an assertion that brought Democratic National Convention delegates to their feet, as he pledged to continue approaching energy policy in a way he said would “continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet.”

In a year when the political debate has lacked nearly any discussion of climate change, some environmentalists have struggled to summon enthusiasm for the Democratic president they helped elect in 2008 in part because of his views on global warming. So they rejoiced when the president rebutted a taunt tossed out by Republican candidate Mitt Romney the week before. Romney had quipped in his own acceptance speech in Tampa, Fla., that Obama “promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet.”

“My promise is to help you and your family,” Romney added.

It was a rhetorical flourish, an attack line offered to make the point that Romney understands the kitchen table issues that, he says, the president doesn’t. But environmentalists heard it as heresy.

“Twenty years from now, history is going to judge the next generation on how they responded to the destabilization of our climate,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “With a couple of short sentences, Romney made clear what’s at stake in this election.”

It looks increasingly improbable that Mitt is going to get anywhere near the oval office. Good. Sent September 18:

It stretches credulity that a significant percentage of Americans continue to reject the reality of climate change. This is both an environmental and an educational crisis; too many of us spurn the evidence of both science and our senses in favor of the comforting untruths peddled by a fossil-fueled media.

Scientific discourse is couched in careful and meticulous language; responsible climatologists will shy away from definitive statements connecting, say, a particular extreme weather event with the burgeoning greenhouse effect. That’s because science deals with probabilities, correlations and complexities — not in polemics. But there’s a reason these specialists are exceptionally worried: the evidence for runaway atmospheric warming is unequivocal and unambiguous, and the likely effects of even moderate warming are devastating to agriculture, infrastructure, and the integrity of local and regional ecosystems.

By steadily ignoring the science of climate change, both our media and politicians have been profoundly irresponsible. A crisis of planetary magnitude demands a commensurate response — and there can be no moral justification for continued ignorance.

Warren Senders

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