The Sounds Of Climate Silence: Mitt Mocks Carbon-Fueled Drought, Obama Calls It A Distant Threat

by Brad Johnson, campaign manager of Forecast the Facts

Nearing the home stretch, the presidential campaign continues to fail to seriously address global warming, although there are glimmers of change in Barack Obama’s corner. The Republican candidate continues to tout climate denial, while the Democratic candidate is still only willing to admit that climate change is a threat to future generations.

In a campaign stop in Van Meter, IA, Mitt Romney joked about the carbon-fueled drought in the middle of a rant against environmental regulation, including action on climate:

The regulatory burden under this administration has just gone crazy. The President’s regulations as it relates to farming are kind of interesting. One is, the EPA tried to get into, er, the government tried to get into regulating rainwater in ditches on farms. It used to be that there was rainwater in Iowa, and people care about that – we hope it’s coming back soon! But in addition, they want to regulate dust, they want to impose duplicate rules on pesticides, there was an effort – you recall this – to prevent teenagers from being able to work certain functions on farms. And then there’s pushing cap and trade. I understand if they push cap and trade, it will not only massively affect income of farms, but it will take millions of acres out of farming. My own view on regulation is very different. You have to have regulation, you need regulation for markets to work effectively. But I’m going to cut back on regulation. I’m going to put a cap on regulation.

Watch it:

Romney’s mindless attacks on environmental regulation require a rejection of scientific knowledge — including the awareness that carbon pollution from fossil fuels is a driver of the terrible drought gripping this nation.

Speaking to college students at Ohio State University in Columbus, OH, President Barack Obama reiterated his convention line that “climate change is not a hoax,” telling the young audience that the deadly impacts of climate change are “a threat to your future“:

And my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet, because climate change is not a hoax. More drought and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to your future. And we’ve got to make sure that we meet the moment. That’s why I’m running.

In this campaign, Obama has been careful to describe climate change only as a distant threat, one that will only affect future generations or people overseas. On Monday in San Francisco, Obama told supporters that the climate impacts are “a threat to our kids’ future.”

A careful review of Obama’s statements on climate and energy finds that the last time the president clearly linked climate change to present impacts on U.S. soil was in his Earth Day speech in 2009, in which he described “shifting weather patterns that are already causing record-breaking droughts, unprecedented wildfires, more intense storms.” That speech was also one of the last times he made a detailed call for a hard, scientifically based cap on carbon pollution.

The president’s rhetorical shift from describing climate change as a present enemy in 2009 to a future threat in 2012 goes against the evidence of his first term — a litany of billion-dollar climate disasters, year after year after year.

With the selection of climate denier Paul Ryan as a running mate and carbon baron Harold Hamm as his energy adviser, Mitt Romney’s climate-destroying agenda is unambiguous (even if he dusts off the Etch-a-Sketch in the coming weeks). In contrast, it’s possible that President Obama’s campaign team is beginning to wake up to the political benefits of honesty about the dire climate threat. As Obama said recently, “If you want to be president, you owe the American people the truth.”

Brad is managing the Climate Silence campaign, which demands that the candidates provide climate leadership.

16 Responses to The Sounds Of Climate Silence: Mitt Mocks Carbon-Fueled Drought, Obama Calls It A Distant Threat

  1. Jack Burton says:

    They are clearly cowards who have been successfully bullied into silence by the big fossil fuel producers and the right wing scream machine. America is in the grip of these bullies.

  2. My daughter got married this past Friday evening. We still don’t have any grandchildren. With the way the politicians are playing the climate as if it were a political game, I am of a mixed mind. If our daughter wants children, then that is her right. But, I dread their facing the world we are creating. Once again you are showing u sthat the only good reason to vote for Obama is that he is not Romney.

  3. Now who is completely wrong on climate change? Google image search completely wrong to find out. Hint: it’s the guy tilting at windmills.

  4. SecularAnimist says:

    Look, I’m going to vote for the Green Party candidate Jill Stein — because I live in Maryland where Obama has a 22 point lead over Romney, and where the state has gone Republican in the Electoral College only three times since 1960. So I can afford to use my vote to “send a message”, as can voters in other states where either candidate has an overwhelming lead, and voting for the Green Party won’t affect the national outcome.

    But the fact of the matter is, Obama is the best we are going to get. At least the Obama administration is pushing policies that enable the renewable energy industries to grow, and that promote more efficient use of fossil fuels — as articles on this site document on a daily basis. It’s not nearly enough, but again, it is the best we are going to get, at least in this election.

    If Romney wins, and especially if Romney wins AND the Republicans have majorities in Congress, then they will act aggressively to DESTROY the renewable energy industries — whose rapid growth is our ONLY hope of phasing out fossil fuels quickly enough to avoid the worst outcomes of global warming.

  5. Lore says:

    So does it come down to a choice between tweedle dee or tweedle dum?

    Maybe SecularAnimist has a good point. It’s time to start from the grassroots up, not the status quo down which seems to be well entrenched.

  6. SecularAnimist says:

    Let me be very clear — this election is NOT a choice “between tweedle dee or tweedle dum”.

    There is a clear difference, and Obama is the clear choice.

    The Obama administration is supporting the development and deployment of renewable energy technologies — however meager that support may be — while a Romney administration would act aggressively to destroy them.

    The Obama administration at least acknowledges the reality of anthropogenic global warming and is taking some steps through EPA regulation to reduce emissions — however insufficient those steps may be — while a Romney administration would reinstate the Bush/Cheney policies of censoring and shutting down climate science, and would gut the EPA and roll back any and all attempts to regulate CO2 (or other pollutants for that matter).

    If you live in a state that has “winner takes all” for its electoral college votes, and is certain to go overwhelmingly to one or the other candidate — like Maryland — then you can use your vote to “send a message” by voting for the Green Party candidate. Perhaps a good showing by the Green Party in a few such states would in fact send a strong message to Obama and other Democrats.

    But if you live in one of the handful of “battleground” states — e.g. Virginia, Florida, Ohio — that are too close to call, you MUST vote for Obama. Anything else risks a Romney presidency, which would end any and all hope of dealing with global warming before it’s too late.

  7. Ozonator says:

    Mittwitt’s “regulate dust” is the pacifier given to us by the extremist Republican and Christian TV weather neuticles. Dust clouds come off of Africa – from Muslim rage – to make hurricanes that made Bush look bad. Dust clouds come off of China – from chinese currency manipulation, old nuke testing, and communism – to pollute the air over clean coal and Koch industries.

  8. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Not cowards but willing accomplices I would say.

  9. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    You may have to wait longer than just five days for those grandkids, and may Gaia bless ‘ém and protect ‘ém when they arrive.

  10. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Absolutely! The ruling elites are terminally morally insane and spiritually malignant. No good thing can come from them, any more, if it ever did.

  11. Tom King says:

    It’s difficult to admit I was wrong to think that Obama would have better chances by maintaining silence on Climate issues during this election. But… Romney’s recent improvement in the polls might indicate that Climate should have been a central issue of the campaign.
    The problem is that Obama’s campaign is dull. Every issue has become taboo, so nothing gets discussed. Clean air, clean water, clean foods (GM corn has now been shown to cause cancer), species extinction, etc. There is nothing we can talk about without being negative. And yet, the absence of an electrifying topic moves people toward the opposing candidate. Even if his positions change daily, at least his flip flops are interesting.
    I now understand that ‘playing it safe’ is not a working strategy for elections.

  12. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    I think there are several here with grandkids Wes, myself included. My oldest is pre-Algebra – my youngest still in diapers. They’re to young to approach; too young to destroy their idyllic perception of life, and their images of a wonderful future life. The parents, including my own offspring, are disbelievers for ideological reasons, disbelievers for religious reasons, or disbelievers for what I call blockage (it is simply not possible that something so horrible could be happening). Mi esposa falls into the last category. I’ve invited them all to watch Bill McKibben from Bill Maher’s show last Friday:

    No feedback as yet. I’m sure they think I’m losing my mental faculties.

  13. Jamie Ross says:

    Thanks for this series. It’s a very depressing thing.

  14. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Brad – these are not the sounds of silence from Tweedledee –
    these are the most scant possible lip-service carefully calculated to talk down the issue as far as possible.

    Avoiding voicing your opponent’s theme, as in you don’t say
    “It’s not a hoax”
    is a very very basic bit of campaign language discipline, as Obama’s staff have known for decades.

    Telling the people of Colorado Springs that the firestorm that burnt their homes was
    “a natural event”
    was just brazen.

    Telling a gathering late last year that
    “We know young people get passionate about issues like climate change”
    was not only downgrading the issue’s relevance, it was also directly discouraging popular demand for action by associating it with immaturity.

    You’ve no doubt got some other examples, given that he’s mentioned climate several times this year.

    So how about inquiring just why he’s doing this ?
    – Is there any plausible logic in the idea that his staff have been unaware of public support for climate action ? Or that enthusing his base with strong long term attention to the issue would have transformed his present prospects ?
    – Is he simply so corrupt and gives a damn for America’s future that he’s sold out in exchange for campaign funding for a second term ?
    – Or was he convinced of the need to adopt Cheyney’s policy of a ‘brinkmanship of inaction’ with China
    – that doesn’t allow him to do anything at all that would encourage public pressure for action –
    until that policy has achieved its objective of destabilizing China’s government by rising food price unrest, and thereby breaking China’s bid to end America’s global economic dominance ?

    If I’d been tasked with selling him that policy back in January 2009, I might have offered him a grossly incompetent GOP opponent in his re-election campaign, but I’d definitely have pointed out that almost all empires will, as a last resort, go to war to maintain their dominance – and that adopting Cheyney’s policy should not only maintains US corporations’ access to the world’s resources on profiteers terms, it should also avoid the slide to war with a superpower.

    Without identifying accurately just why he remains worse than silent on an issue that is now expected to take 100 million lives in the next 18 years – assuming there is no global crop failure – it is hard to see how he will be made to step up and lead on the issue.



  15. Carol says:
    Barack Obama’s Record On Addressing Climate Change In First Term Under Scrutiny By Activists:

  16. david says:

    If either side committed to support or go against global warming, it would be campaign suicide because they would lose the voters that did or did not believe in it. I agree with @secularanimist because if Romney were to win the republican side would aggressively destroy alternative powers such as solar power.