McKibben To Romney: ‘Please Explain Again Why Slowing The Rise Of The Oceans Is Such A Silly Plan?’

During his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, Mitt Romney mocked Obama’s pledge to address climate change, turning it into a punch line.

“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.”

The line came at an odd time, considering that Hurricane Isaac had just hit Tampa and delayed the Republican convention — the second time in a row that a hurricane had disrupted the GOP’s premier political event. Now, with Hurricane Sandy barreling down on the East Coast, potentially creating storm surges more than 10 feet high, those comments seem particularly ironic. Here’s a tweet from’s Bill McKibben:

Watch the video of Romney’s punch line here:

After Romney’s convention speech, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes said the footage would some day “be in documentaries as a moment of just ‘what-were-they-thinking’ madness.”

34 Responses to McKibben To Romney: ‘Please Explain Again Why Slowing The Rise Of The Oceans Is Such A Silly Plan?’

  1. Paul Magnus says:

    So my question about why there has not been any public debate about what we are going to do with nuke plantes on the coast at sea level as GW evolves is coming to head much sooner than even I envisaged!

  2. Paul Magnus says:

    How much is it going to cost and are the logistics reasonable to:
    a) protect them initially…
    b) to abandon them and move the radioactivity to safer sites as we realize they cant be defended ?

  3. Paul Magnus says:

    And we are going to have to do this or else …..

    Fukushima fish ‘may be inedible for a decade’
    Marine scientist finds levels of radioactivity in fish near stricken Fukushima nuclear plant are higher than expected

  4. Laurie james says:

    Wake up call. Hey you non-believers of GW – this is just a taste of what is to come if we don’t turn the ship around on an oil-based economy. Mitt may laugh all he wants, but this October surprize might just turn his ship around and it may go down. What is so sad is that none of this was spoken about during this whole campaign cycle … and now the proof is in the pudding folks. With the ocean 5 degrees higher than normal and the perfect line-up of full moon high tide, a high to the north a low to the east and a jet stream trough never seen before … hmmmm …. if you are still a nay-sayer you need your head examined. This will be more expensive to our economy than anything the bankers might do. They can’t even get to work today or tomorrow. Talk about stopping the world in its tracks.

  5. BillD says:

    What is the back up plan for when the subway system of NYC is flooded and destroyed. Maybe it won’t happen this week, but the combination of sea level rise and more and bigger storms makes such an event very likely sometime in century or even in the next few decades.

    After having worked at the Netherlands institute of ecology, I suggest that we get some Dutch expertise to protect our cities and that we have a plan for how much sea level rise before we abandon coastal cities. Maybe we should allow the Dutch to migrate to the US when their country is flooded.

  6. Sif says:

    I wouldn’t worry about solving global warming because it’s to late for that now. We’ve passed the tipping point that removes the Arctic sea ice meaning it will now be impossible to arrest climate change as climate forcing shifts from CO2 to methane.

  7. Mike Roddy says:

    We should welcome the Dutch, who are a fairminded and resourceful people. Unfortunately, they will not want to come here, and will go to more crowded countries like Sweden and Latvia. Our politics and ignorance in general are just too much for them.

  8. Mike Roddy says:

    Romney’s main concerns are his friends and relatives’ bankrolls and place settings in Heaven. He doesn’t care what happens to the rest of us, especially off in the future.

    The Republicans’ propaganda operatives are so sophisticated that the public doesn’t catch on, or he would have 20% of the vote instead of the current 50% or so.

  9. TKPGH says:


    Thanks for you great comments. Paul, architect Ed Mazria lays in out in one othe videos available on Youtube: the American economy CANNOT withstand the effects of two feet of sea-level rise.
    Laurie, a recent argument with a denier got me nowhere. No matter what I presented him with in the way of evidence, from whatever reputable source, he wouldn;t budge from his boilerplate talking points. How you get this into the heads of our so-called leaders is beyond me.
    Time to to surround the White House again, and this time, don’t tell them we are coming.

  10. Brooks Bridges says:

    Another contributor to Romney’s success is Obama’s lack of support from ideologically pure progressives who persist in seeing the Obama glass as half empty while totally ignoring the 99% empty Romney glass.

  11. prokaryotes says:

    I forgotten to post this in last week’s Open Thread…

    An interesting perspective on personal bias. Especially in light of what psychologist call the social dissonance.

    Critical Thinking – Must Watch #climate #debate #psychology #social #dissonace

  12. prokaryotes says:

    @Bill McKibben twitter.

    Study: ‘Katrina-magnitude events twice as likely in warm years.’ and this is America’s warmest ever

    Link to the study

  13. Paul Magnus says:

    Your right about tipped. But your wrong about arresting the severity of the impact.

    If we reduce our GHGs we will have a more survivable future.

    But I have a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach that we are not going to do this to any extent…

    New oil supplies development

    Coal make a comeback

  14. prokaryotes says:

    Is Global Warming Happening Faster Than Expected?
    Loss of ice, melting of permafrost and other climate effects are occurring at an alarming pace

  15. Paul Magnus says:

    The reason big FF corporations are trying to rush projects like the Tar Sands development etc through and ram things like pipelines down our coast is because….

    the big ones with the big investments know the time is critical.

    I can tell you right now that anyone who has anything of value which is threatened by something is very aware of the threat and details of the phenomena.

    Harper knows GW is real and a big threat. All the big Oil Sands investors know that GW is real and a big threat.

    They just want to get the most out of there investments before everyone else realizes what is happening and the projects start to collapse.

    More and more people are realizing that GW/OA is real and impacting us even now big time.

    The tide is changing…..

  16. Paul Magnus says:

    Is Global Warming Happening Faster Than Expected?: Scientific American
    Loss of ice, melting of permafrost and other climate effects are occurring at an alarming pace

    Climate Portals shared a link.

  17. Paul Magnus says:

    good read….

    Rising Sea Levels: An Introduction….

    Scientist Scott Mandia (blog) and writer Hunt Janin have teamed to produce for the general reader an explanation of what it will mean for the world in coming decades and beyond.

    Their book Rising Sea Levels: An Introduction to Cause and Impact is patient and restrained in its survey, but no less sobering for that.

    Their coverage leaves no doubt as to the magnitude and extent of the measures that will have to be taken to try to cope with the effects of sea level rise as it gathers momentum and extent.

  18. prokaryotes says:

    Ha ha, i beat you to it :)

  19. Ken Barrows says:


    Depends how you look at the problem of GW/CC. Obama glass may be 98% empty.

  20. Artful Dodger says:

    Hi Bill. It’s ironic that New York’s was founded as New Amsterdam in 1625. Perhaps the Dutch can help reclaim it from the sea. But denial runs deep on the Hudson…

  21. Wes says:

    The Obama apologists claim that AGW was a loser during the campaign and that’s why BHO never brought it up. They may be right, and, if so, I would expect it to be central to his State of the Union speech to kick off his second term, since the campaign will be over. We shall see, and I hope the apologists are correct.

  22. Chris Winter says:

    The Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn has a good, brief column on probable Right-wing reactions to Obama’s handling of Sandy.
    Eric Zorn — Monday, October 29, 2012
    Obama’s handing of the Hurricane Sandy crisis shall have been a disgrace!

    Time is short in the campaign season and the frothing right-wing pundits need your help (actually, they probably don’t) preparing their “Obama failed!” screeds second-guessing whatever the president does or doesn’t do during Hurricane Sandy.

    His commenters get into the spirit of things. I have to include this comment:

    “Next, a Fox News Special Investigation: Has the Michelle Obama anti-obesity campaign stripped America’s children of their protective buoyancy?”

    “But first, we examine the forecast for Nairobi: partly cloudy and 81 degrees. Another ‘Obama coincidence’? We’ll ask our experts Dick Morris and John Bolton…”

  23. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Just a single decade? It is to laugh!

  24. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Latvia? The country is moribund, thanks to the magic of ‘Free Market Capitalism’.

  25. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    As I’ve asserted to the point of annoying even myself-the Masters want the catastrophe to happen. No other explanation any longer makes any sense.

  26. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Well 98% empty is better than 99%. However, if Romney prevails, the infighting amongst the other side will be intense and the recriminations dreadful to contemplate, giving the Republicans a free run for two years at least. If the Democrats then repudiate their slavish loyalty to the money power, and run on a populist policy emphasising the existential threat of climate destabilisation, they would rout the Republicans in 2014. But, really, who sees that happening in real life?

  27. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    A ‘Modest Proposal’- fat children could come in handy when food shortages really kick in.

  28. Obama has time and time again tried to champion Clean Energy Sources. Public access to real facts is being whitewashed by this rhetoric while conservative hands paint the Blackface on our President. Watch them mix and apply the paints to his face in a portrait of Obama being Bamboozed by the Far Right at

  29. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    I believe Peter Stuyvesant gave the natives $24 worth of baubles, bangles and beads for Manhattan Island. For centuries we’ve been told that the natives were robbed. Well… perhaps not.

  30. Brooks Bridges says:

    Thank you. A perfect example of my point.

  31. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    What!? Can’t they get Dick ‘Hardhearted’ Cheney?

  32. Sif says:

    The problem is, with the Arctic gone the massive reserves of methane under the arctic will begin to warm. Methane is a much much worse green house gas than carbon dioxide and at the moment isn’t to much of a problem but as the arctic heats more and more the methane in the area will be released as the permafrost which has kept it trapped begins to breakup.

    Once we shift from CO2 forcing the local climate to Methane there will effectively be nothing we can do to stop climate change shooting off in a runaway reaction.

    In theory with massive geoengineering efforts we could scrub methane and CO2 from the atmosphere but there is no chance in hell of that happening considering the much cheaper alternative of using renewable energy and Nuclear for base load has been ignored.