“Climate Silence” at 2nd Presidential Debate

By Chris Riotta

Both candidates and even the moderator in the second debate of the 2012 Presidential Race steered clear of any climate change related discussions once again during this election season.

To date, neither President Barack Obama nor Governor Mitt Romney have provided a platform or statement on how the United States will handle rising temperatures and offset global warming.

"I had that question for all of you climate change people," said the moderator, CNN's Candy Crowley, in the post-debate coverage. "We just, you know, again, we knew that the economy was still the main thing so you knew you kind of wanted to go with the economy."

The closest discussion the candidates had to climate change and global warming was discussing the need for renewable energy. However, after both politicians raised their points, the two went into a heated battle over who could drill more fossil fuels.

What was said between the candidates follows:

OBAMA: The proof is our oil imports are down to the lowest levels in 20 years. Oil production is up, natural gas production is up, and, most importantly, we're also starting to build cars that are more efficient. And that's creating jobs. That means those cars can be exported, 'cause that's the demand around the world, and it also means that it'll save money in your pocketbook. That's the strategy you need, an all-of-the-above strategy, and that's what we're going to do in the next four years.

ROMNEY: But that's not what you've done in the last four years. That's the problem. In the last four years, you cut permits and licenses on federal land and federal waters in half.

OBAMA: Not true, Governor Romney.

ROMNEY: So how much did you cut (inaudible)?

OBAMA: Not true.

ROMNEY: How much did you cut them by, then?

OBAMA: Governor, we have actually produced more oil –

ROMNEY: No, no. How much did you cut licenses and permits on federal land and federal waters?

OBAMA: Governor Romney, here's what we did. There were a whole bunch of oil companies.


ROMNEY: No, no, I had a question and the question was how much did you cut them by?

OBAMA: You want me to answer a question –

ROMNEY: How much did you cut them by?

After the debate, some voters expressed their discontent with what people have dubbed "climate silence", a phrase that describes the lack of political discussion and involvement in climate change.

"Last night, we again saw two politicians rooted in the past, not even acknowledging that the world is changing. It was as if they were two dinosaurs fighting over the last scraps of food, as the sky was darkening above them from the asteroid," commented Mike Roddy on ThinkProgress.org

"Sounds like Candy's dancing around the issue. She's smart enough to know that the economy is at the mercy of climate change and ocean acidification, but just couldn't summon the courage to pull the trigger," wrote another commentator.

The next, and last, presidential debate is on Monday October 22. Climate activists are hoping a discussion on global warming will be brought up at this debate being that it is the last time for the candidates to discuss their opinions with each other on the climate.