The thunderstorm and tornado swarms of early 2011, including the monstrous Joplin, Mo., disaster. Hurricane Irene, which inundated much of the Northeast. The worst heat wave in Russia in 1,000 years. Record-shattering heat and drought in much of the United States this year. The lowest level of Arctic sea ice ever measured. The melting of virtually the entire ice sheet of Greenland, something not seen in 30 years of satellite measurements.
And yet climate change is barely a blip on the political radar in this year’s campaign. The topic appears in the Republican convention platform only in one passage berating the Obama administration for elevating climate change to a “‘severe threat’ equivalent to foreign aggression.”
Brad Plumer shows how extreme the party has become by comparing this year’s platform to 2008’s:
The 2008 GOP platform certainly didn’t agree with liberals and environmentalists on everything. Far from it.
The document put a heavy emphasis on nuclear power, which tends to cause some green groups to bristle (although many Democrats softened their opposition to atomic energy in the years that followed, in a failed effort to woo conservatives on climate policy). The platform also had harsh words for “doomsday climate change scenarios” and “no-growth radicalism.” Yet the 2008 GOP platform was, essentially, taking part in a debate over how best to tackle greenhouse gases—not about whether the climate was changing at all.
Skip ahead to 2012, and the GOP platform takes a markedly different tone. That section devoted to climate change? Gone. Instead, the platform flatly opposes “any and all cap and trade legislation” to curtail greenhouse gases.
Phillip Bump has more on Romney’s rising oceans joke:
This election will be close and fiercely fought. Romney’s comment wasn’t about an issue of substance. … It was about making an earnest claim from a political candidate into a cynical joke — about diminishing a critical problem in order to add another two points to the scoreboard. That’s a terrible precedent for a candidate who might someday need to defend his office. Even more, it’s a horrendous idea for a man who would need, if elected, to lead a nation that must prepare for the most disruptive transition in its history.