At decisive moment, Obama refutes Romney’s climate change attacks

In his speech before the Republican National Convention in Tampa, presidential candidate Mitt Romney made several jibes at President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign rhetoric about healing the planet and curbing rising sea levels. To the dismay of Obama’s supporters, many of whom are concerned about climate change, Romney’s remarks were greeted with thunderous applause.

Obama provided a sharp retort during his Thursday night speech before the Democratic National Convention. “And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet — because climate change is not a hoax,” he said. “More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They are a threat to our children’s future.”

These remarks came at an all-too-opportune time, as Obama has disregarded climate change and renewable energy as centerpieces of his 2012 campaign, especially in comparison to the 2008 election. Notably, it was his 2008 remarks, and not his 2012 ones, that garnered Romney’s attention.

Several University students at Obama’s rally in Charlottesville last month expressed disappointment at his notable lack of focus on climate change.

But the president could just be concerned with more pressing issues, other students said.

“It’s not one of our main issues: he is constantly attacked on the economy more than on climate change, so his rally seemed to be mostly a defense against those attacks,” second-year College student Jen Adesegun said.

Although these comments are indicative of the current nature of campaign politics, they woefully under appreciate the dangers of climate change. A recent article published by Bill McKibben in Rolling Stone, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math,” lays out a few reasons saving the planet requires legitimate climate change policies from the government.

His most gripping numbers?

“June broke or tied 3,215 high-temperature records across the United States. That followed the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere — the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average, the odds of which occurring by simple chance were 3.7 × 10-99, a number considerably larger than the number of stars in the universe,” McKibben said in the article.

With the presidential election steadily approaching, it remains unclear whether Obama still considers the issue as important as he did four years ago.

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