Christian Science Monitor: Obama, Romney ignore climate change, but so do voters (+video)
Energy and green energy were hot topics during the presidential debates, but climate change didn't come up once. The candidates may be avoiding the issue because voters don't want to hear a difficult message.
... "National elections should be a time when our nation considers the great challenges and opportunities the next President will face," opines the website ClimateSilence.org, a project of Forecast the Facts and Friends of the Earth Action aimed at pushing the issue into campaigns. "But the climate conversation of 2012 has been defined by a deafening silence."
The candidates talked about energy and green energy, but always with regard to jobs, never about the climate. Why?
The easy answer is that it's not good politics. What candidate wants to talk about emissions when voters are worried about jobs? Who wants to tackle carbon taxes when many Americans are struggling to pay the taxes they already owe?
The deeper question is: Do Americans want their candidates to talk about climate change? The answer seems to be: No.
It's probably not climate skepticism that's the main barrier here. Polls show that over time Americans are increasingly convinced by the science showing that the climate is warming, and they do see a link with human activity. The ranks of the "climate deniers" are thinning, albeit slowly.
The bigger challenge may be that to many voters the problem seems all too real and unsolvable – something to fear because we can't fix it. ...
Two other factors may also point to why, despite a growing number of people believing climate change is a problem, they are not motivated. First, recent reports that there has been no significant warming in the past sixteen years (The REALLY inconvenient truths about global warming) decreases a sense of urgency. A plateau doesn't necessarily invalidate climate change models (as models have never predicted a linear ascent) but it can dissipate a sense of urgency. Second, is this graph:
Source: Carpe Diem
This wasn’t anticipated. A purpose of the Kyoto Accords was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels. We are there with the biggest contributor to the problem. All that is to say, the dynamics have shifted. Finding the sweet spot between apathy and overwhelming citizens to the point of demoralization has been a challenge for those who champion the need for changes.
What do you think? Why was the topic not debated? Do you think CSM article is offering a good analysis?
(And, by the way, since this is a controversial topic, let me highlight my newly minted comment policy you now see linked at the top of the column to the right. Long-time commenters here do such a great job. I'm hoping we can preserve that tradition as new folks join in.)