Team Obama Labels Romney’s Mockery Of Climate Action ‘Terrifying’

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"Team Obama Labels Romney’s Mockery Of Climate Action ‘Terrifying’"

For those who care about the health and well-being of our children, the low-point of the Republican convention was surely this line by Romney — and the response it got from the audience:

President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans — [bites lip and pauses for audience laughter(!)] — and to heal the planet. MY promise is to help you and your family.

This is both a shameful and shameless attack. It’s shameful because global warming is the gravest preventable threat to our children’s health and well-being — and because Romney said it in Tampa, which is among the U.S. cities most threatened by global warming and sea level rise.

If the country fails to act quickly, South Florida alone will have to spend “hundreds of billions of dollars” dealing with rising seas, according to the author of a recent study on the subject. Chris Hayes on MSNBC rightly said the audience laughter at the whole notion of fighting sea level rise will some day “be in documentaries as a moment of just ‘what-were-they-thinking’ madness.”

I suppose Romney believes that rising seas lifts all yachts.

The quip was shameless because just minutes earlier, Romney said “when the world needs someone to do the really big stuff, you need an American.” Setting aside this sweeping insult of all the great national leaders a President Romney would have to deal with, how precisely can he mock Obama for wanting to do really big stuff after he has just praised Americans for that very quality!

To its credit, team Obama — which has been treating climate change like the Voldemort of national issues (“The Threat-That-Must-Not-Be-Named”) — put out an email Saturday:

It is nothing short of terrifying to imagine a party that openly mocks climate change taking back the White House.

Those who were hoping that a President Romney might Etch-A-Sketch his way back to climate sanity should note that not only did Romney revel in this mockery on Thursday in Tampa —  he repeated the line on Saturday in Ohio (at 12:00 in this C-SPAN video)!

Yes, the man who might be the next president of the United States thinks mocking climate action is a winning slogan.

Again, one can certainly criticize Obama for not doing enough to keep this important promise, but not for making it in the first place.

Two more points. The latest Democratic national platform, being approved today in Charlotte, also calls Republicans out for their denial of this grave, grave threat:

We know that global climate change is one of the biggest threats of this generation – an economic, environmental, and national security catastrophe in the making. We affirm the science of climate change, commit to significantly reducing the pollution that causes climate change, and know we have to meet this challenge by driving smart policies that lead to greater growth in clean energy generation and result in a range of economic and social benefits.

President Obama has been a leader on this issue. We have developed historic fuel efficiency standards that will limit greenhouse gas emissions from our vehicles for the first time in history, made unprecedented investments in clean energy, and proposed the first-ever carbon pollution limits for newfossil-fuel-fired power plants. As we move towards lower carbon emissions, we will continue to support smart, energy efficient manufacturing. Democrats pledge to continue showing international leadership on climate change, working toward an agreement to set emission limits in unison with other emerging powers. Democrats will continue pursuing efforts to combat climate change at home as well, because reducing our emissions domestically – through regulation and market solutions – is necessary to continue being an international leader on this issue. We understand that global climate change may disproportionately affect the poor, and we are committed to environmental justice….

Our opponents have moved so far to the right as to doubt the science of climate change, advocate theselling of our federal lands, and threaten to roll back environmental protections that safeguard public health

Finally, team Romney has raised the whole notion of taking one’s opponent’s words out of context to a new level, as we’ve seen with their utter misuse of Obama’s phrase “You didn’t build that” which was about the government-funded infrastructure (like the Internet) that has helped all businesses thrive.

But the Obama quote about rising seas and healing the planet is also out of context. Obama wasn’t offering that lofty goal as some alternative to restoring the economy in his June 2008 speech after cinching up the Democratic nomination. Quite the reverse:

The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment — this was the time — when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals.

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32 Responses to Team Obama Labels Romney’s Mockery Of Climate Action ‘Terrifying’

  1. Lionel A says:

    Perhaps ‘Team Obama’ has been playing to the idea that if we give them (GOP) enough rope they will hang themselves. Looks like that is working.

  2. Here’s a related item. The NYT has an article listing the differences between the Republican and Democratic platforms, and they didn’t see fit to list the start difference on climate change. I guess the reporter didn’t think it was important enough to include!
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/05/us/politics/how-the-party-platforms-differ.html?hp

    • David Lewis says:

      I went over the 2012 GOP Platform looking for climate policy. The way the document treats climate mirrors the way Romney handled it in his speech.

      The only place the issue is specifically addressed is in the supposedly full version of the 2012 platform which is online, ii.e. in the “A Failed National Security” section, page 40. There, the Obama Administration is attacked for saying in its most recent National Security Strategy document that it is taking climate change as seriously as national security. The GOP Platform blames the fact this happened on “extreme elements in its liberal domestic coalition”.

      Curiously, if you access what the GOP says is their 2012 platform another way, by going to the Platform Homepage and clicking on the America’s Natural Resources link you’ll find, under the Our Republican Party’s Commitment to Conservation heading, one line that isn’t in the online 62 page .pdf file. This line is a thinly veiled threat to prosecute climate scientists for fraud. “We must restore scientific integrity to our public research institutions and remove political incentives from publicly funded research”.

      Otherwise, two policy pronouncements are in the document. The EPA is to be “prohibited” from doing anything about greenhouse gases. Congress is ordered not to adopt “any and all cap and trade legislation”. That’s it.

      Grist reported that the climate section of Romney’s RNC speech was one of the very few that was circulated to reporters prior to delivery.

      The Republicans are proud of their climate position. The Romney campaign wanted this set up and punch line from the Romney RNC speech to hit the national consciousness as deeply as possible.

      I don’t know what is more disturbing: the fact that this is the GOP position, or the fact that the media generally showed little interest.

      I have a post with a bit more commentary up here.

  3. Mike Roddy says:

    Here’s the explanation for Romney’s climate policy:

    http://www.democracynow.org/2012/8/31/handlers_of_billionaire_david_koch_block

    There are two things going on here: Romney stopped to schmooze with David Koch in the audience on the way to give his acceptance speech. The other problem is that the TV networks edited it out of the video showing Romney walking to the podium. This was obviously no accident.

    Democracy Now caught it, but the moment wasn’t captured on any of the TV news stations.

    Banks and oil companies have minders inside the media companies, especially TV stations, which barely cover climate change. Until we have a free and independent press, we might as well call the United States Democracy Was.

  4. Paul Klinkman says:

    It’s not the ocean rising in 100 years, it’s the ocean rising last week that was the problem. The threat of ocean rise canceled the first day of the Republican National Convention, because salt water on the convention floor wouldn’t look right. Storms have gotten many times more damaging in the last couple of decades. Already insurance companies are cutting and running, with no flood damage riders. If this trend continues for another couple of decades we will lose half of our cities one way or another. Either the insurance companies will double our rates once or twice, they will go bankrupt in a really big storm, or they will really cut and run so that “insurance” is just a fraud to get a bank loan on a velocity zone house.

  5. Buzz B says:

    I’ll feel a lot better if I hear a speaker at the DNC linger on the threat of climate change and take on the GOP denialist machine. Obama must have some polls which show that it isn’t popular to talk about it, but every poll I’ve seen the last several months shows that the public believes action is necessary by large margins. Why the Dems aren’t making this more of a campaign issue is beyond me.

    • Lore says:

      When the Walmart produce department only consists of a few wilted heads of lettuce and a suspect tomato or two, maybe the general public will then step up their demands for climate action. Although they may yet be pacified with servings of extra large bags of fake cheese doodles and cases of 64 calorie beer.

    • Sasparilla says:

      This one is sad, but easy Buzz, the Dems also get money from the same folks that pay the GOP (just not as overtly and don’t have as much control) – its the reason nothing serious happened on climate change when the Dems had a veto proof majority in 2009. The Dems are there for green energy, but they are also there for Coal and Oil as well and climate change is mostly a good talking point for college kids for them to get votes (as a lot of money and power do not want anything done to fix climate change).

  6. Zimzone says:

    The Koch brothers bought the Tea Party.

    Now they’re trying to buy the Presidency.

    A rising sea lifts all yachts?

    • David Lewis says:

      Jane Meyer reports in her New Yorker article Schmooze or Lose:

      “A consortium of conservatives led by the Koch brothers has reportedly pledged to raise and spend four hundred billion dollars before November.”

      The concluding sentence in the article: “Once big business realizes it can purchase the White House, you have to wonder what the limit is”.

  7. Lionel A says:

    A rising sea lifts all yachts?

    Indeed, but then all navigation charts will become out of date. Only those with update-able chart technology and GPS (and the knowledge to use such) stand a chance of avoiding all those new ‘uncharted rocks’. But by then we will have much more to worry about.

    When will these clowns realise that one cannot eat or drink money.

    The behaviour of the Kochs, the GOP ‘Tea Party’ element and all their cheerleaders is obscene.

  8. quentinp says:

    This is the tobacco industry all over again.

    Companies using the same ‘scientists’ in the same front groups with the same tactics to achieve the same result : letting them continue to kill people so they can make more money.

  9. Byron Smith says:

    Depressing that the Dems haven’t come out more strongly behind a specific climate policy plan.

    • PeterW says:

      Byron, I think Mike Roddy’s comment earlier explains exactly why Obama is scared of this issue. The mainstream media in America is totally corrupt and they have no interest in covering this story honestly.

  10. Robert says:

    Team Romney openly mocks climate change, while Team Obama openly ignores it. Same difference at this point…

    • David Lewis says:

      When FDR was convinced the US would have to enter WWII and level Germany and Japan, there was a time when the general population of the US was still isolationist. He couldn’t do what he knew the US would have to do very soon.

      People who actually believe there is no difference between the Republicans, who openly ridicule anyone who takes climate change seriously as fools, and the Democratic Party are thinking exactly how the Kochs want them to think.

  11. Robert says:

    Team Obama is still building pipelines, still “auctioning” coal fields, still drilling like it’s 1999 for oil and gas, in the gulf, in the arctic, and everywhere inbetween; still fracking; still burning; still mining; still burning burning burning.

    Yes, I know, we’re to be grateful for the fig leaves of higher vehicle fuel efficiency standards and an organic garden on the front lawn…

  12. BillD says:

    I see a difference between

    A- trying to regulate CO2 emissions using the EPA and turning up the “heat” on coal power on one hand and,

    B saying “we have enough fossil in this country to make us prosperus and energy independent for centuries. We don’t need to even think about renewable energy and energy conservation.” All that we need to do is to open up the whole country and our coastal and coninental waters to unlimited drilling, mining and fracking. This is the Romney GOP energy platform and policy and I believe that it is supported by a very small minority of Americans.

  13. Ozonator says:

    When I heard the major mocking, the old white people in the crowd at the RNC hurricane magnet sounded just like a penguin rookery.

  14. Jack Burton says:

    It’s hard to credit the Republican convention attendees with any basic intelligence. I see them as irrational and in the grips of a religious like belief in their agenda.
    It is hard to see the Republican agenda as anything short of fascism in it’s own peculiar America strain.
    Climate Change to them harkens back to the hated environmental movement that went along with the great social changes of the 60’s.
    Let them laugh, let them mock the science. They are demonstrably wrong in their denial as the data and science are now pretty much beyond serious doubt. Doubt in some details perhaps, but in the broad truth of global warning it science is in.
    Should Americans want to be led by Romney and the Republicans, then the coming climate disasters will be on their heads. We can’t force them to accept reality, their minds function on a religious level, belief is everything, data and science aren’t what drive their thinking.
    If the melting arctic hasn’t gotten their attention, or the recent few years extreme weather outbreaks, and in the face of this they laugh at climate change, then they are hopelessly deluded fools. Only problem is this fools will take us all down with them.

  15. nyc-tornado-10 says:

    We have lost 50% of the arctic ice cap this summer, this was not supposed to happen until around 2050. A total meltdown by 2020 is much more likely now, with catastrophic feedbacks and shifts in weather patterns. Romney is a threat to our national security, and our environment.

    • Dennis Tomlinson says:

      “Romney is a threat to our national security, and our environment.”
      I’d go beyond “national” to say R-Money is a threat to worldwide security, the environment, and, indeed, the livability of our one and only, known-to-be-livable planet. And yet, the election will be determined by a little over 50% of the little over 50% of eligible voters, representing about 75% of the population, in a country that holds a little under 5% or the world’s population will make this “Democratic” decision. That’s roughly 1% of humanity making this all important decision. Perhaps that what the GOPers mean when they talk about “American exceptionalism”. Choice of candidate versus climate policy being yet another matter….

  16. Despite all the blather-plather in the MSM, it is highly unlikely that Team Romney will win the election — and it’s not especially close.

    Check out 538.org on the NY Times. Nate Silver, the blog’s author, gets elections statistics right. And he has Obama with a big lead in the electoral votes. To stand a chance of winning, Romney would have to carry both Ohio and Florida, and he is behind in both.

    It’s sad that the Republicans are…Republicans. But it’s up to us to pressure the Dems to get on climate change — for real.

  17. fj says:

    The Voldemort of climate solutions is net zero mobility including transit.

  18. Jan says:

    Didn’t Obama have a Democratic Congress the first two years of his term? Why didn’t they do something then? If they are committed to the science of climate change why did Obama just approve a permit for Shell to drill the Arctic? Why did he approve the Southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline? Why is he supporting fracking and this “All Of The Above” sham of an energy policy? Why does his environmental advisor throw a monkey wrench into every global climate talk? I truly deplore the Republicans for their anti science pro corporate stance on this, but at least I know where we stand with them. It’s those who state they care only because they use the words to get votes while doing the opposite right in our faces that angers me. Look at the Arctic and tell me this crisis shouldn’t be on every news cast across this country. Politicians have done nothing but assure that the world our children live in will be less sustainable than it could have been because they were all too busy propping up their egos.

  19. Artful Dodger says:

    Hi Joe,

    The “C-SPAN video” link above is broken.