It's the Environment, Stupid.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Why aren't candidates talking about climate change?

A commenter asked me (in a may-be-a-spam-comment kind of way), "Why aren't candidates talking about climate change?"

Well, alex9852 (or whoever it is trying to get me to go check out an Earthlab poll mentioned on, here's what I think.

I think candidates aren't mentioning climate change, frankly, because the press hasn't asked them to.

When/if they are asked - for the republicans, it's a moot point. They have been instructed by their campaign managers to either push the energy angle (ie. nuclear, clean coal and hydrogen) or stay skeptical (climate change does not exist).

The democrats are too worried about the effects of Obama's 'multicultural persona' (a term the NY Times used for him in a recent article about the youth vote) or how Hillary's shedding a tear will impact voters. With all that who has time to worry about the (media picked) issues, much less the issue of climate change?

Whatever color state they're trying to appeal to, candidates on both sides have their stance on climate change at the ready just in case global warming makes it back to a top issue (the media thinks) Americans care about. In most cases, these stances will include a general, vague, and all encompassing 'call to action' without anything concrete behind it.

The good news? Whoever makes it to the oval office in the end will have no choice but to deal with it.

More good news? As has been shown over the past 7+ years, federal support isn't necessary to make a difference in the 'fight against climate change' (although a little national policy help would be nice.)


  • I too got the same may-be-spam comment on my blog, but I decided to ignore it.

    Why? It was posted to an article about smart meters. In Scotland. Where I live. So I have no influence over any US poll or what questions presidential candidates get asked.

    Spamming annoys people, even if it is "green" spamming done with the best of intentions. It gives all environmentalists a bad name.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 18:09  

  • I got the same spam comment, and received a similar one with the earthlab thing months previous. My answer to it was different, but I can't honestly recall what it was.

    Anyway, maybe you're already a Grist reader, but one of their editors recently went to a conference on environment and economics and energy advisers from the three main presidential candidates were there. He did a rundown on the differences here. As I recall from my first read through, McCain doesn't want a full auction of carbon emissions permits, while the Democrats do. McCain's adviser also touted that McCain would just cap carbon and then let the "market" look after things, while the Democrats would get crazy with the regulation. To which the Democrats' advisors said capping carbon was not enough, unless the price on carbon was ridiculously high.

    The other posts on the Eco:nomics conference are also pretty interesting because of the mix of influential people who were present and all the little tidbits you're not going to see in your standard article.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17:38  

  • Dear Dr. L. B.,

    I am imagining that your questions are rhetorical ones.

    You ask,

    “Why are politicians and skeptics so willing to risk their future and everyone else’s future on blindly clinging to a course of action that has a high probability of leading to a seriously crippled future? If you even suspect that global warming represents a serious risk to your survival (and we have far more than suspicion these days), why wouldn’t you do everything protect and conserve your planet?”

    It would please me to hear from others; but from my humble perspective the “answers” to your questions are all-too-obvious.

    First, the leaders in my generation of elders wish to live without having to accept limits to growth of seemingly endless economic globalization, of increasing per capita consumption and skyrocketing human population numbers; our desires are evidently insatiable. We choose to believe anything that is politically convenient, economically expedient and socially agreeable; our way of life is not negotiable. We dare anyone to question our values or behaviors.

    We religiously promote our shared fantasies of endless economic growth and soon to be unsustainable overconsumption, overproduction oand overpopulation activities, and in so doing deny that Earth has limited resources upon which the survival of life as we know it depends.

    Second, my not-so-great generation appears to be doing a disservice to everything and everyone but ourselves. We are the “what’s in it for me?” generation. We demonstrate precious little regard for the maintenance of the integrity of Earth; shallow willingness to actually protect the environment from crippling degradation; lack of serious consideration for the preservation of biodiversity, wilderness, and a good enough future for our children and coming generations; and no appreciation of the understanding that we are no more or less than human beings with “feet of clay.”

    We live in a soon to be unsustainable way in our planetary home and are proud of it, thank you very much. Certainly, we will “have our cake and eat it, too.” We will fly around in thousands of private jets and live in McMansions, go to our secret clubs and distant hideouts, and risk nothing of value to us. Please do not bother us with the problems of the world. We choose not to hear, see or speak of them. We are the economic powerbrokers, their bought-and-paid-for politicians and the many minions in the mass media. We hold the much of the wealth and the power it purchases. If left to our own devices, we will continue in the exercise of our ‘rights’ to ravenously consume Earth’s limited resources; to expand economic globalization unto every corner of our natural world and, guess what, beyond; to encourage the unbridled growth of the human species so that where there are now 6+ billion people, by 2050 we will have 9+ billion members of the human community and, guess what, even more people, perhaps billions more in the distant future, if that is what we desire.

    We are the reigning, self-proclaimed masters of the universe. We have no regard for human limits or Earth’s limitations, thank you very much. Please understand that we do not want anyone to present us with scientific evidence that we could be living unsustainably in an artificially designed, temporary world of our own making…… a manmade world filling up with distinctly human enterprises which appear the be approaching a point in human history when global consumption, production and propagation activities of the human species become unsustainable on the tiny planet God has blessed us to inhabit….. and not to overwhelm, I suppose.

    Third, even our top rank scientists have not found adequate ways of communicating to the family of humanity what people somehow need to hear, see and understand: the reckless dissipation of Earth’s limited resources, the relentless degradation of the planet’s frangible environment, and the approaching destruction of the Earth as a fit place for human habitation by the human species, when taken together, appear to be proceeding at a breakneck pace toward the precipitation of a catastrophic ecological wreckage of some sort unless, of course, the world’s colossal, ever expanding, artificially designed, manmade global economy continues to speed headlong toward the monolithic ‘wall’ called “unsustainability” at which point the runaway economy crashes before Earth’s ecology is collapsed.



    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 03:19  

  • Perhaps change is in the offing as a “forced-choice”.

    Endless economic growth is the shibboleth of the rich and powerful in our time. But the days of reckless domination of the Earth and its environs may be numbered, it would appear, because the idolatry, the magical thinking, the wishes and the selfish intentions that have driven endlessly expanding large-scale corporate activity and insatiable wealth accumulation could be about to run their course. The plans of the economic powerbrokers and their bought-and-paid-for politicians for ‘manufacturing’ “bubbles” and big-business boom times could lead the family of humanity to be threatened by the inadvertent loss of life as we know it and the unintentional destruction of the Earth as a fit place for human habitation by our children and coming generations.

    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
    established 2001

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 07:45  

  • There is no climate change accept in computer simulations and the wild minds of green doofuses including that blabbering nit-wit AL GORE and those idiots from GREENPEACE the real one way for AL GORE to halt this so called GLOBAL WARMING is to duct tape his big fat lying hypotcritical piehole shut

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:30  

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  • By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13:06  

  • The candidates do not care what we think they care what their think. People should recycle more should the plastic does not kill our plant!!!

    By Blogger Ogre5099, at 11:32  

  • I think it is disappointed thing. They should know what they are doing now and what they should do for our environment and for stop climate change.

    By Anonymous color fix, at 04:38  

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