The forlorn climate campaign has become the New York Yankees of the Power Line Green Weenie Award—winning the big prize over and over again on account of a bloated payroll of big egos, yet winning little affection from the people at large. Way back at the beginning of this month—seems like a long time now to go back to before the first Romney-Obama debate doesn’t it—the UN’s top climate change official, Christiana Figueres (don’t worry: I’d never heard of her either), told a Washington audience that climate skepticism was on the wane in the United States, and that the next president, whoever he is, will be forced to confront global warming.
Then came the four debates between the two tickets, when the Most Important Issue of Our Time/Greatest Crisis Facing Humanity, etc, was mentioned . . . not once. Don’t think the Green Weenies didn’t notice. And they are . . . dismayed! “Totally freaking out” is probably a more accurate description. The Center for American Progress huffs that both candidates try to outdo each other on who will drill more aggressively for hydrocarbons. Our friends at the Guardian ran a puff piece on the Green Party candidate Jill Stein accusing President Obama of being a “climate denier.”
On the eve of the third and final presidential debate, the Green party’s Jill Stein said Obama’s failure to speak out about environmental concerns made him virtually identical to Republicans who deny the human causes of global warming.
The absence of climate change from the elections, after a year of record temperatures, wildfires and drought, has hugely frustrated environmental campaigners. . .
Stein . . . said Obama was “another climate denier who basically sold out with just a little bit of window dressing.”
But the climate campaigners are most disappointed with the media, who have Let Them Down. And really, who can blame the climateers? What good is a lapdog mainstream media if they won’t carry water for you any more? But that’s what’s happened: the media have grown bored with climate apocalypticism, as they eventually do with most forms of Green Doom Flavor of the Month. (Isn’t “Green Doom” a Ben and Jerry’s blend?) Newspaper endorsements are ignoring climate change, the frantic folks at Grist.org have found, noting that in 2008 climate got a lot of love from editorial writers. The biggest wound of all came from CNN’s otherwise egregious Candy Crowley, who explained after the debate:
I had that question for all of you climate change people. We just, you know, again, we knew that the economy was still the main thing so you knew you kind of wanted to go with the economy.
“All of you climate change people.” She might just as well have said it right out loud: “You annoying losers.” Philip Bump of Grist provides the best comedy styling about this remark: “It’s impossible to not read into Crowley’s comment some dismissiveness.” Ya think??
Shikha Dahmia at Reason.com has the best summary headline of the matter: “Last Night’s Presidential Debate Proves That Al Gore’s Life Has Been In Vain.” She notes the subject of climate change has been part of every presidential debate going back to 1988; even Dan Quayle (insert obligatory shudder here if you are from Manhattan) said “the greenhouse effect is an important environmental issue.” She cites Evan Lehman of Environment and Energy (subscription required unfortunately):
This is the first time since 1988 that climate hasn’t been mentioned in the presidential debate cycle, Johnson of Climate Silence said in a post that provides partial transcripts to the contests. Back then, Republican vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle said, “the greenhouse effect is an important environmental issue.”
In 2008, Obama and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) discussed efforts to reduce emissions in three debates, including in one presided over by last night’s moderator, Bob Schieffer. Their running mates also talked about it, with Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) touching on the dangers faced by her home state.