With Sandy just behind us, leaving a trail of destruction and over $25-$55 billion in property loss, the issue of climate change is front and center: will climate change be the game-changer of this election? With the storm hitting so close to Election Day, and so many more people beginning to believe in climate change, there is reason to believe that it could be.
While climate change deniers and far-right wing preachers like John McTernan, have indicated homosexuality to be the prime cause of Sandy, this doesn’t seem to be flying with most people. Other crazy theories include: blaming it on bad policy towards Israel, blaming President Obama and his administration. Even though both candidates have remained silent about the issue of climate change, voters may now move towards a position, which could tilt this election in one direction.
In addition, as this article points out, the first eight months of this year have been the hottest since record-keeping began in the U.S.
Will voters see the evidence before them, in terms of the environmental impact of climate change and vote accordingly? Or will they continue to live in denial, relegating the issue of climate change to the background?
According to a poll conducted this summer, the number of people who believe in climate change has gone up to over 70%. While the biggest issue this year has been unemployment and the economy, the discourse on climate change has become salient, as well.
This may bode to be a blessing for President Obama, and the Democratic party, which has had a much more positive track-record on addressing the issue of climate change and global warming. Among the Republicans, it has been a record of ignoring it, or at best, denying the existence of climate change.
As this article points out, Governor Romney’s position on climate change has not been consistent. He supported cutting greenhouse gases as governor, but has since changed his position to one of denial. President Obama, even though he let the Cap and Trade Bill die in Congress in 2010, has done more to promote adaption to mitigate the effects of climate change.
These are difficult questions that have no easy answers. But my guess is that Sandy’s impact will not be ignored, and as we discuss and debate the other issues, very subtly, climate change has become key to this election. I believe it may change the outcome in favor of President Obama.