Hurricane Sandy’s devastation of the east coast has put climate change back in the ranks as a crucial issue for the presidential election, with President Obama having the clear advantage. There is an enormous distinction between Obama and his challenger, Mitt Romney, on the issue.
Romney disavows the issue of climate change and humans’ role in the issue. His take on energy policy is simple, to gain energy independence. But, independence is a loosely used word by the candidate. Energy independence, in Romney’s view, is to use the same resources that aren’t renewable or sustainable, but just get those resources (or as much as possible) from the United States. Romney didn’t always have this view.
At a town-hall style meeting in New Hampshire in June of 2011, the Republican presidential candidate said he thinks climate change is an issue, humans caused it and it should be focused on.
However, since then, Romney has said that he’s not sure if climate change is real or if humans have anything to do with it (if it is real). He even mocked the president’s focus on the issue in his speech at the Republican National Convention in August.
At this point in the election, no one thought the discussion would be on climate change. But with Sandy flooding New York City, climate change is here to be discussed.
Obama has the advantage in this discussion. The president has always accepted the scientific consensus of climate change, and he has promised to combat the issue. He says that we can and should become more independent with resources like oil in our country, but we should also invest in renewable and sustainable energies of the future.
In his powerful speech at September’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, the president reminded our nation of his stance on the issue.
“Climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They are a threat to our children’s future, and this election you can do something about it,” Obama said.
As our nation’s most densely populated region recovers from Sandy’s destruction, we have a decision to make between two candidates: One that mocks the idea of rising waters and questions the thought of climate change, and one that accepts climate change as an issue and will act on it.