Hugh Macpherson

How the politics of climate change could change the climate of politics

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Hugh Macpherson
5th November, 2012, 12:58 pm

Michael Bloomberg has backed Obama in the race for the presidency. This one-time Democrat turned Republican turned Independent New York mayor has said that his reason for supporting Obama is his climate change policy. And soooo…

…with all talk so far in the electoral race about jobs,  the economy, health care now and again, now we have climate change on the agenda?

I would be daft to suggest that Bloomberg’s backing of Obama is enough to swing the race in his favour. But it is another nod towards what has been perceived as a pretty decent reaction by Obama to hurricane Sandy, pics snapped of him laughing with Republican governor of New Jersey Chris Christie spring to mind also.

What a difference four years make.

Then it was John McCain that Obama was up against in the race to the White House.  McCain famously angered many of his staunchest allies by saying “I do agree with the majority of scientific opinion, that climate change is taking place and it’s a result of human activity, which generates greenhouse gases.” He even tried to get a cap-and-trade scheme through congress in the Liebermann-McCain bill in 2003 while senator for Arizona, a state with one of the largest coal deposits in America! Who would Bloomberg have leant his support to then I wonder?

In contrast Mitt Romney has decided not to engage with the climate change debate at all in the wake of hurricane Sandy, instead choosing to return to the economic agenda

“President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.”

But here are some more of his sound bites:

“I think the global warming debate is now pretty much over and people recognize the need associated with providing sources which do not generate the heat that is currently provided by fossil fuels,”

-          March 2003, announcing his position on Massachusetts’s energy policy

“…I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer… And so I think it’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases…”

-          June 2011, speech in New Hampshire

“My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.”

-          August 2011, speech in New Hampshire

So where do we stand then Governor Romney?

If Michael Bloomberg has put climate change back on the agenda in the context of hurricane Sandy where does that put your energy policy which fails to mention it once? With much of the US in drought conditions and extreme weather events like Katrina and Sandy taking place more frequently people will want to know. 4 years ago he chose to back neither McCain nor Obama with both candidates standing firm on this matter. If you want people to support you (whether through endorsements or votes), they need to know what they’re standing behind.

You can probably gather where I stand on the US election candidates!

Can’t wait though.

I love election night!


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