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Should you freak out at the lack of air time for climate change in Denver — or Minneapolis?

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"Should you freak out at the lack of air time for climate change in Denver — or Minneapolis?"

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Andrew Jones — former Rocky Mountain Institute colleague and systems-dynamic modeler extraordinaire at the Sustainability Institute — asks if I could write something “from a DC insider perspective about why we shouldn’t be freaking out that climate change is getting so little air time at the Democratic National Convention?

Actually, Drew, getting people to freak out is the whole point of this blog, no? But seriously, the media wouldn’t cover climate change even if the speakers did talk about (see “No Questions On Global Warming Asked At CNN’s Coal Industry-Sponsored Presidential Debates“). Or they would just screw up the story, just as they did with drilling (see “Note to media: Are you going to allow McCain to just make up stuff on oil drilling?“).

Heck, when even National Public Radio (!) blows the climate story, you know the country is in trouble:

All Things Considered, August 13, 2008: If you are trying to figure out whom to vote for in the upcoming presidential race, the issue of climate change may not be much help. This is one area where both leading candidates for president do not have a lot to disagree about. In fact, when the two rivals paint a picture of a warmer world, it seems like they might have the same speechwriter.

[Cue Obi-Wan Kenobi intoning, "I feel a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced."]

While I very much hope we hear on Thursday night about the urgent need to move toward clean energy, the DNC simply not the place to waste time trying to educate the public and the media on a subject as complicated as climate change.

And while I have no doubt that 99% of the Democratic delegates share their nominee’s views on global warming, the same is certainly not true of the RNC. As the AP reported today on the draft Republican Party platform:

It would put the party on record as accepting that economic activity contributes to global warming, in line with McCain’s views.

But the platform is loaded with caveats about the uncertainty of science and the need to “resist no-growth radicalism” in taking on climate change.

It warns that empowering Washington on the matter would have painful consequences, a less-than-rousing endorsement of McCain’s ambitious plan for mandatory federal emission cuts in a cap and trade program.

Stop the Presses! ThinkProgress has now posted this update from National Review Online:

As promised, the Republican platform subcommittee on energy took up the global-warming section of the 2008 draft about an hour ago. Long story short: It’s now a very different document. I’ll have more after I’ve had a chance to talk to some of the participants in the debate. To give you an idea of how drastically the document changed, consider the first amendment the subcommittee took up, which passed:

The section was titled, “Global Warming and Environmental Protection.” Now it’s just, “Environmental Protection.”

Bad news for GOP optometrists — myopia has turned into outright blindness.

So, Drew, if you want to freak out about global warming — or the nation’s future in general — it’s the Minneapolis convention, not the Denver one, you should be worrying about.

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19 Responses to Should you freak out at the lack of air time for climate change in Denver — or Minneapolis?

  1. Paul K says:

    Rationalize the Convention ignoring climate issues if you must. The Democrats haven’t talked much about energy at all. You can bet the Republicans will highlight McCain’s change over to 21st Century energy plan.

  2. kenlevenson says:

    Paul K,
    Is that the 21st Century energy plan of drill, drill, drill, nuclear, nuclear, nuclear?

  3. Earl Killian says:

    Paul K, a 21st century plan? Do you mean McCain is going to throw out all the nonsense he’s been spouting and adopt efficiency and renewables? I doubt it. The typical Republican method is frame the problem so solution is impossible, and thereby perpetuate the “government is useless” meme. If they actually allowed a solution to get passed, people might wake up to the fact that government can make a difference. So they fight every solution to the death.

  4. kenlevenson says:

    Hold on Paul K,
    Are you watching? Gov Granholm (sp?) is holding a forum on the stage right now about energy. (on CSpan of course…) Ah! ;)

  5. kenlevenson says:

    Let’s state the obvious – THE MEDIA IS THE PROBLEM. Here the Dems are having a really high-level discussion on energy, in prime time no less, and CNN, MSNBC and Fox are not broadcasting it! Shame!

  6. Ed Bachta says:

    kenlevenson, this is why I’m opting to watch the live feed from the DNC website. Energy and alternative solutions are being mentioned quite a lot, actually (the current speaker has mentioned climate change twice). I’m hoping this will all be available for others to view in the Videos on Demand section.

  7. kenlevenson says:

    Ed,
    Agreed. For the record Paul K, Federico Pena is now speaking about energy – the fourth speaker in a row to feature energy….looks like tonight is energy night!

    Of course all the networks can due is babble on about “what’re the Clinton’s going to say/do?”….mindless….

  8. Paul K says:

    Do you mean McCain is going to throw out all the nonsense he’s been spouting and adopt efficiency and renewables? Yes because it is a winning message for him. Contrary to partisan spin about his proposals, McCain will say the replacement of fossil fuel is indeed possible and necessary.

    Totally agree about network and cable coverage and have switched to C-span where I heard Pena also speak on energy.

  9. Jay Alt says:

    Pena touched on the threat of global warming but most of his applause lines came from
    themes like: clean energy / green jobs / can’t outsource that.

    Pena pointed out the success Colorado has had using green policies and held those successes up as a template for the country. That’s the approach that will attract independent votes and get us off the starting line.

  10. kenlevenson says:

    While Gov. Schweitzer’s speech is a delight, the best line could be: “Barack Obama understands that the most important barrel of oil is the one you don’t use.”

  11. Steve h says:

    Why, oh why does the best speaker we’ve had so far (regarding energy) have to mention CTL? But I still can’t bring it upon myself to hold it against Gov. Schweitzer, because that was just one helluva speach on energy. Possibly the most uplifiting speach one could make given what could easily be a dull topic.

  12. Paul K says:

    Gov. Schweitzer, embracing the let’s do it all approach, gave the second best speech of the night (Hilary’s was excellent) even if some are disappointed that he said Sen. Obama supports CTL and hydrogen, too.

  13. Joan says:

    I must say that it is no shock to me that the Repulicans are doing a good imitation of ostriches at this point. It seems to be there way of dealing….
    As far as the media go – No doubt they play a bigger role than they should. To bad they don’t take responsibility…

  14. Larry Coleman says:

    For insights into the problem with the media…and a devastating critique…read James Fallows’ book, “Breaking the news.” Bottom line? The media is lazy.

  15. john says:

    Paul K: You’ve officially jumped the shark. It will be nigh impossible to give credence to anything you say after you said, “You can bet the Republicans will highlight McCain’s change over to 21st Century energy plan.”

    Huh? You mean nukes and drill here, drill now? that 21st Century plan? The one rooted in the 1950′s?

    Actually, I’m hearing climate and green energy come up a lot at the convention — Pelosi highlighted it; Hillary did, Sweitzer did …

    It’s getting more attention than I thought it would, given the fact that McCain and the Repugs have successfully demagogued the issue of drilling.

    Watch C-span, and you’ll get to see what the Party is saying, not what pundits are saying the Party is saying.

  16. charlie says:

    “Climate” will always be a third or fourth tier issue. “Energy” will be a first tier issue as long as it is expensive.

    “Climate” has been a useful bat to hit at the Bush Administration politically because they seem out of tune with the times. But that will change with a new administration (D or R).

    [JR: Climate will be a first-tier issue within 10 years. It will be the only first-tier issue within 20 years.]

  17. Bill Reiswig says:

    I PRAY that Al Gore will hit the republican party straight between the eyes with dropping climate change from their platform tonight. Its indicative that despite some sympathy for addressing the issue from McCain, that the bulk of the party consists of “Drill Here, Drill Now” Denialistas with no idea what challenges the 21st century will hold. How can McCain reform our energy mix if his own party not at his back? He can’t. It’s reason #1 among many to support Obama.

  18. erotik says:

    Let’s state the obvious – THE MEDIA IS THE PROBLEM. Here the Dems are having a really high-level discussion on energy, in prime time no less, and CNN, MSNBC and Fox are not broadcasting it! Shame!

  19. sikiş says:

    And while I have no doubt that 99% of the Democratic delegates share their nominee’s views on global warming, the same is certainly not true of the RNC. As the AP reported today on the draft Republican Party platform