Voters in 50 years, when the effects of rising sea levels and hotter global temperatures are more acutely felt, will likely find it downright bizarre that the two candidates for the presidency in 2012 managed to debate for a total of 4 ½ hours without ever saying the words "climate change" or "global warming." It was the first time the topic had not been discussed in the last 24 years of presidential debates. (Candy Crowley, moderator of the second debate, later told "all you climate people" that she had wanted to include a question on the topic but ran out of time; Bob Schieffer, who moderated the third and final debate, said, "I had questions about climate change to talk about," but let the candidates ramble on about teachers and auto bailouts instead.)
Romney, who supported a cap-and-trade plan as governor of Massachusetts, has lately been hesitant even to admit that humans cause climate change. Obama, whose 2008 pledge to "slow the rise of the oceans" has become a Republican laugh line, has frustrated environmentalists with the administration's lack of action on the issue.
Yes, there was some talk of investments in clean energy in the debates, but paeans to the coal industry were a lot more prevalent. Blogger David Roberts probably spoke for many environmentalists when he tweeted during the second debate, "from a clean-energy/climate perspective, that debate was a f'ing horror show. We are all doomed."
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