Romney To Biosphere: Drop Dead

In the annals of idiotic remarks by Presidential candidates, Mitt Romney now has a strong claim for the top spot.

On Meet the Press, the GOP nominee actually told NBC’s David Gregory:

I’m not in this race to slow the rise of the oceans or to heal the planet.

You can watch it here.

This pledge to ignore the gravest preventable threat to the health and well-being of our children easily trumps other infamous remarks (or non-remarks, in the case of Gerald Ford). Indeed, if he wins, many conservatives will doubtless argue Romney has a mandate NOT to act.

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At the Tampa convention, Romney had previously mocked Obama’s 2008 pledge to fight climate change, to much laughter by the GOP delegates. Hypocritically, Romney had said just minutes earlier in that speech, “when the world needs someone to do the really big stuff, you need an American.” Avoiding catastrophic global warming — and preserving a livable climate capable of feeding 9 billion people by mid century — apparently isn’t big enough stuff to Mitt.

No, for Romney, “I’m not in this race to slow the rise of the oceans or to heal the planet. I’m in this race to help the American people.” Romney has apparently missed the warming-driven rise of extreme weather that is harming the American people right now. A future in which humanity doesn’t mitigate greenhouse gases would be an unmitigated disaster for all of humanity, indeed for almost all living things (other than invasive species) — see “How We Know Inaction Is the Gravest Threat Humanity Faces.”

And for the record, what Obama actually said back in 2008 was:

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….

Obama wasn’t making some narrow eco-pledge. He was saying he was in the race to help the American people in the short term and the long term. You can accuse Obama of failing to fight hard enough for the climate goal — and I often do — but not for making the pledge in the first place. Romney’s remark should be enshrined in the anti-science hall of shame.