Read this column from Ben West in the Huffington Post on the lack of attention focused on climate and environmental issues in the recent US Presidential election and what that means for concerned Canadians. (Nov. 5, 2012)
“It’s global warming, stupid!” Believe it or not, that is what it says on the cover of Business Week right now. This is of course a reference to Bill Clinton’s internal campaign slogan from 1992 — “It’s the economy, stupid” — which was made famous by the documentary film The War Room. The slogan is a play on the old adage, “Keep it simple, stupid,” sometimes known as the “KISS” principle.
As Canadians, we are well aware that we are sleeping next to an elephant, and that the choices made by the American president have broad implications not only for Canada but for rest of the world.
Much to the chagrin of many conscientious Canadians, the implications of a changing climate were off the radar in the American election before Hurricane Sandy swept in. The topic was not raised even once during the 2012 U.S. presidential debates. You would think it would be a no brainer to talk about this issue, given that the United Nations has called climate change “the single biggest threat facing humanity today.”
This “climate silence” has perhaps been a reflection of the power of the fossil fuel industries in U.S. politics. In one of the debates, Obama and Romney actually fought over who was more supportive of the coal, oil and gas industries. Romney attacked Obama for stopping the Keystone XL pipeline and Obama responded by bragging that he had built enough pipeline during his presidency to “… wrap around the earth once.”
The fact checkers at Politifact checked it out and it’s true. Over 29,000 miles of oil and gas pipelines were built in the U.S. in the last four years; the circumference of the globe at the equator is a little less than 25,000 miles.
Even with that, Obama looks like a tree hugger compared to Romney, who is heavily backed by barons of the oil industry — like the infamous Koch brothers who are behind much of the junk science that still to this day is trying to undermine the international consensus that human activity is causing climate change.