By Chris Riotta
In tonight's presidential debate, republican candidate Mitt Romney has room to attack and to fail on the issue of climate change against President Barack Obama.
So far, both candidates have kept their positions on the climate and our nation's effect on global warming rather silent during the election season. However, as the first national debate kicks off tonight, republican strategists are predicting Romney may take the stance that the Earth is warming due to human activity and deny his links to anti-climate conservatives.
President Obama has remained quiet on the subject as well, discussing global warming in only four sentences of his entire speech at the Democratic National Convention.
Inside the ESSIC offices today, employees were looking forward to seeing Romney and Obama debate the polarizing issue of global warming.
"I think it is important for the candidates to debate climate change," said ESSIC's Deputy Director Phil Arkin. "This is a critical public issue, and it's one of the more important issues facing us as a nation."
Environmental groups are pushing journalist Jim Lehrer, the moderator of tonight's debate, to press candidates on global warming. About 160,000 people signed requests for the moderator to ask climate-related questions.
"It should definitely be a topic of discussion tonight," said research assistant Patrick Meyers. "It could give the U.S a chance to be one of the leaders in climate change.
"Whoever becomes the president will also become a world leader. This is a big issue facing the entire world, so it is important for the two [Obama and Romney] to discuss." Said research assistant Jun Park.
Climate change debate reached the national threshold about a year ago when former candidate Jon huntsman differed sharply from his republican opponents and shared his belief that the earth is warming at a fast rate due to humans. Tonight will be the first opportunity for President Obama and republican candidate Mitt Romney to debate their standpoints on the matter.
Follow Up: Climate change was not a topic presented by moderator Jim Lehrer at the first presidential national debate of the 2012 election. However, environment groups like Climatescience.org have already began pushing to make sure it is brought up in the second debate, which focuses on international policy.
President Barack Obama did, however, mention multiple times the need to fund green energy. Republican candidate Mitt Romney agreed that clean energy resources are needed in today's changing environment. Neither candidate has explicitly taken a stance this election season as to what they will do to limit the United States' effect on global warming.
Photo courtesy of the Associated Press