Not a word has been said in the presidential debates about what may be the most urgent and consequential issue in the world: climate change.
President Obama understands and accepts the scientific consensus that the burning of fossil fuels is trapping heat in the atmosphere, with potentially catastrophic long-term effects. Mitt Romney’s view, as on many issues, is pure quicksilver — impossible to pin down — but when he was governor of Massachusetts, climate-change activists considered him enlightened and effective.
Yet neither has mentioned the subject in the debates. Instead, they have argued over who is more eager to extract ever-larger quantities of oil, natural gas and coal from beneath our purple mountains’ majesties and fruited plains.
“We have increased oil production to the highest levels in 16 years,” Obama said in Tuesday’s debate. “Natural gas production is the highest it’s been in decades. We have seen increases in coal production and coal employment.”