Obama and the Climate

You will not be surprised to learn that I think that Barack Obama is the clear choice for President in this election.  I have lauded the President and his actions all along the way during the past four years.  He has brought some fabulous actors on energy and the environment into his administration and they have produced some truly useful outcomes.  I certainly question some aspects of the program, like giving aid and comfort to nuclear power and “clean coal,” but by and large he has pushed as hard as politically and physically possible during his first term.  His second term will undoubtedly build on the successes of the first, and may even culminate in a comprehensive greenhouse gas regime for this country and an international agreement with teeth.  It depends on how a number of the political stars align.

It is perfectly clear that Mitt Romney and his party are unwilling to move us anywhere close to the mark.  I tell my students that the Republican Party is the only major political party on the planet in 2012 that denies the urgency of the problem.  I have not seen it said more accurately and eloquently than in a recent analysis of the election season by David Bromwich at the NY Review of Books.  Of Mitt Romney and the GOP he says:  “It is also true that the party he represents has ceased to be a collective rational agent for working on the problems of the modern world.”  Ouch!

It is worth noting that Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of our largest city, recently subjected to a nightmare of a storm, today endorsed Barack Obama and attributed his support largely to his recognition that Obama is the most qualified to lead on climate change.  Bloomberg has been a global leader on this issue, chairing the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), making a major contribution to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, and as the progenitor of PlaNYC 2030.

For another perspective, see this full-throated endorsement from the venerable and very well respected League of Conservation Voters.

If any of my brothers and sisters in the environmental movement have any qualms about voting for Barack Obama, get over them.  We need this man in the White House for four more years, along with his team at the agencies.  If you are on the fence, with any political philosophy, but you care about the health of the planet and our future here, vote for Barack Obama.


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