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Forum Post: Frontline: Climate of Doubt -------------------- Yet Another Reason to Vote

Posted 2 years ago on Oct. 24, 2012, 10:15 a.m. EST by WSmith (1851) from Cornelius, OR
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

FRONTLINE explores the massive shift in public opinion on climate change.

How Does Climate Change Factor into Decision 2012?

October 23, 2012, 9:33 pm ET by Azmat Khan

Last election season, presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and John McCain agreed that climate change was a critical issue demanding urgent attention. Four years later, both candidates Obama and Mitt Romney barely discuss climate change. In fact, the words were never uttered during any of the three presidential debates.

Coral Davenport has been investigating what’s behind the change as the energy and environment correspondent for The National Journal. FRONTLINE spoke with her about the dramatic reversal she’s seen in Congress, and what political options are still on the table for those pushing for action on climate change.

In 2008, Obama campaigned pretty actively around the issue of climate change, proposing a cap-and-trade system that would put a ceiling on carbon dioxide emissions. What’s behind his quieter stance this election?

… In this campaign, the public perception has shifted so much. The Republican Party has shifted so far to the right that it has denied the science at all.

Another reason is the biggest issue in this campaign: the economy and jobs. Republicans have sold climate regulation as something that will hurt jobs, that it will probably increase the price of fossil fuels. So within the Obama campaign there’s a sense that [this is a losing battle].

[Obama] campaigned on this aggressive, detailed [cap-and-trade] plan, and they torpedoed it. It passed the House, just barely, and died in the Senate. And in the midterm elections, Republicans campaigned on cap-and-trade to the point where it became politically toxic. …

Part of Obama’s campaign promise was to pass cap-and-trade and use that money for the government to invest heavily in clean energy research; $150 billion was his campaign pledge.

What ended up happening was that in 2009, soon after Obama was elected, Congress passed the stimulus, with $50 billion … to invest in clean energy. The first big solar company to get funds was Solyndra, which later went bankrupt. And so this campaign promise of clean energy spending became politically toxic, it became something [used] to attack the idea of clean energy spending.

Democrats who had supported cap-and-trade retreated. It became fodder for campaign ads. It was portrayed as an energy tax that would hurt the economy. And then a lot of Democrats who supported cap-and-trade ending up losing their jobs [in the 2010 midterm elections]. [When millions of pouting newbies didn't Vote.]

So if cap-and-trade is no longer an option, what options does Obama have to address climate change if he’s re-elected?

He doesn’t have a lot of options. He cannot go back to cap-and-trade; that has no chance of passing.

One thing he could and probably will do is use the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] to roll out new rules limiting coal-fired power plants that would require coal plants to rein in their pollution of C02 emissions.

It’s very unpopular. He’d probably not want to talk about this on the campaign trail because it could lead to the closure of coal plants in Ohio, Virginia, Colorado and Pennsylvania — all swing states. …

What are the chances Congress would take up the issue, and in what way?

Cap-and-trade is dead, but there is one policy that does have some bipartisan support. It’s kind of a long shot, but it’s a carbon tax. Economists say the most effective way to address the issue is to put a tax on greenhouse emissions. Republicans like the idea in exchange for an end to other taxes they don’t like.

In the next year, Congress is expected to take up a sweeping tax code reform to clean up the tax code and help the federal deficit. So a lot of old tax policies will be on the table.

So if they frame this as not an environmental issue, but as a good tax policy, as part of the mix, as good fiscal policy, that could be one opening in the next year or so that would be tremendous environmental policy that economists say would be the most effective.

What’s Mitt Romney’s campaign stance on climate change?

… Mitt Romney has had several positions on this issue. As a governor, he pushed climate change policies, pushed his government on the issue, promised to close coal plants. In his book, he said he supports this idea of this carbon tax, like McCain.

But when he started running in the Republican primary this year, where he was attacked by those on the right, like Perry, who denied climate change, [Romney] also went to the right and walked back his former views. He’s indicated he’s not sure what causes climate change. In this speech at Republican National Convention, he mocked the issue, telling the crowd: ”President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans. And to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.” That was a laugh line.

In Congress, who’s leading on climate change issues? Who isn’t doing anything?

In the Republican-majority House, the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Fred Upton, is now supposed to undercut climate change, undercut EPA regulations, which is an awkward position for him because for most of his career, he was a real moderate on this issue. He used to say it was a problem. He sponsored legislation to mandate energy-efficient light bulbs with lower emissions.

Within the House, the other big leaders are Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, charged with leading investigations into the executive branch. He’s made this a big issue. [Congressman] Joe Barton, a Republican from Texas, is known as one of the biggest skeptics. And in the Senate, Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.). They used to be out in the cold. …

As for leaders on the left pushing for change, there’s Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and he was the leading sponsor of House cap-and-trade bill that passed, and which led to a lot of his Democratic colleagues losing their jobs [in the 2010 midterm elections]. He’s the stalwart environmentalist not backing down.

Among Republicans, is there anyone pushing to address climate change?

Outside of Congress, there are a lot of Republicans who are very concerned in the way their party talks about climate change. They’re afraid the Republicans will end up on the wrong side of history, and this view will come back and hurt them badly. So they’re outside the political process having conversations on how to push the issue.

The Energy and Enterprise Initiative is made up of Bob Inglis of South Carolina, who lost his job in part for support of climate change and is working with conservative economist Art Laffer, with the support of Romney adviser Greg Mankiw to push for this idea of the carbon tax.

There is also the Young Conservatives for Energy Reform, a Christian Coalition linked up with [Young Republicans], that fears that the party is morally on the wrong side of the issue.

So there’s a growing conversation of Republicans who aren’t in public office, who are worried, who want to tell Republicans that if they go back to a moderate place on this issue, we will still support them.

But a much more powerful voice is fossil fuel groups and SuperPACs. They haven’t had nearly as much of a voice as the SuperPACs, like Americans for Prosperity, or the coal groups, like the American Coalition for Clean Coal and Electricity, which are spending very heavily to influence the campaign and make sure Republican candidates don’t move on the issue.

Are there economic costs to not addressing the issue? What are the costs for American taxpayers?

The economic costs are adding up. One thing scientists say is that we’re already starting to see increased floods, and so there are increased insurance rates in areas where there are more floods, stronger hurricanes or increased drought.

We had record drought this year, which sent up food prices. So climate change is already starting to have an impact on bottom lines. Former Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, who lost his Republican primary, said that even if Republicans aren’t going to come to the table [on the issue of climate change], they better be prepared to pay for the results of it, the taxpayer damage. This is going to keep coming and driving up costs. …

How much do voters care about the issue?

It’s interesting because a couple of years ago we saw polls showing that fewer and fewer people were convinced by climate science or believed in climate change.

Now we have extreme droughts, record weather damage, on the taxpayer’s dime, and we’re starting see voters change. [A Pew study released last week] showed that in the last year, an increasing number of Americans say the earth has been getting warmer over the last few decades and that the rise in the earth’s temperature is mostly because of human activity.

This is an issue for independent voters who say that where a candidate stands on climate change change can influence their vote, and they want to see a candidate will do something on climate change. So that’s a new dynamic that we’re starting in the hump stretch of this election season. Part of it has to do with the extreme weather of this summer, when we saw food prices go up. Extreme drought is something that can be directly tied to climate change. Voters tend to respond to dynamics that are most directly affecting them. It’s fresh in voters’ minds.

Whole Story: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/climate-of-doubt/

Video: http: //video.pbs.org/video/2283833076/

60 Comments

60 Comments


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[-] 0 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 1 year ago

politicians of a doubt have done nothing to solve this issue

we need real GREEN candidates.

Just about everyone else was just "green washing" as James Hansen calls it.

[-] -1 points by WSmith (1851) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

They will need real green money to fight the Big $ interests who are keeping current Dem politicians from making progress. Plus an infrastructure, votes, etc. Hey, how about we petition for Instant Runoff Voting so a third party (Green) can be viable, and Cons can't cheat??

[-] -1 points by WSmith (1851) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

Thanx, I'm on their mailing list, too.

I've been doing just that.

[-] -1 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

Ain't seen you in awhile.

Welcome back.

(hope you don't mind the periodic comment out of the blue, just wanna bump up a good thread when I find new info.)

[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

Look superhero. You do it for the points.

I've never met such a fixated fuck in my fifteen years on the WWW.

You are needing a padded cell.

[-] -2 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

STOP harassing me.

My efforts are only to inform, and discuss the issues that affect the 99%, and encourage activism for the same issues.

My comments speak for themselves.

The points are meaningless except that they annoy all the right people.

Shallow, ignorant, small minded people discuss points. NOT me!

[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

Padded cell. Inclusionman.

Get yourself sorted.

[-] -1 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

PLEASE stop harassing me

[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

PLEASE stop flooding this board with your dissociative identity disorder .

[-] -1 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

PLEASE stop harassing me!!!!!!

[-] 3 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

Get one user name, and get rid of all your alter egos, phreak.

Then, and only then, will you be able to rest. Got it?

[-] -1 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

Please stop harassing me

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

No. Get some psyche help.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1851) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

No prob. Thanx for it.

Some weird shit going down since I was gone!

[-] -1 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

Always somethin. I avoid the bullshit as much as possible.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1851) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

You know it's unavoidable!

Any minute these insipid little ankle-biters will be coming after our freshly washed socks with their arrested development jagged little teeth!

[-] -2 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

Already dealt with one of the nattering nabobs of negativity. Meaningless, vapid, little flea, who spends time tearing down rather than being a 'builder' like us. (and others here)

LOL

[-] 3 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

We've got your order, VQ.

Your modus operandi is noted.

[-] -2 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

Please stop harassing me

[-] 3 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

Please stop flooding this forum with your shit, kag.

There are others here who like to post rationally, without a multiple personality disorder sufferer like yourself clouding every thread. Get it?

[-] -2 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

PLEASE stop harassing me!!

[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

Get one user name, and get rid of all your alter egos, phreak.

Then, and only then, will you be able to rest. Got it?

[-] -2 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

Please STOP harassing me!!

[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

No. Get some psyche help.

[-] -1 points by WSmith (1851) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

Wish I could tell who/what people were commenting to. We might have to resort to (cut-paste) to reply.

I don't think you can trust a person who listens to "easy listening" muzic, do you? In a moment of candor, I got some insights on some fellow posters.

[-] -1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 1 year ago

[-] 1 points by WSmith (2821) 23 minutes ago Wish I could tell who/what people were commenting to. We might have to resort to (cut-paste) to reply. I don't think you can trust a person who listens to "easy listening" muzic, do you? In a moment of candor, I got some insights on some fellow posters. ↥twinkle ↧stinkle reply permalink

[-] 0 points by inclusionman (1695) 19 minutes ago Really? do tell. (in PM if you must) ↥twinkle ↧stinkle reply permalink


Like that?

Wish I could tell who/what people were commenting to

Did you get what you motherfucking came for? Isn't that what you wanted? Didn't you achieve success? Pat yourself on the back.

[-] -1 points by WSmith (1851) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

Exactly what I was referring to, Ms. Nugent!

[-] -1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 1 year ago

[-] 1 points by WSmith (2833) 13 minutes ago Exactly what I was referring to, Ms. Nugent! ↥twinkle ↧stinkle reply permalink

Isn't that what you came for? Did you get what you wanted? Mission accomplished?

[-] -1 points by WSmith (1851) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

Not even close. The 30+ year Class War (which most newbies and unicorn chasers are oblivious to) that I've been fighting has yet to be fought back from our 99% side in any serious, organized or effectual fashion. Too much short-sighted infighting. If by "Mission accomplished" you mean the last election, all we did was dodge a very dirty bullet. The 1% and their Cons are still going about their dirty sabotaging and usurping deeds, fooling many in the process that it is both parties and government in general that is really to blame. Try as I might, there is always some damn fool who inadvertently (or deliberately) opens the door and lets the zombies in again.

And there are always Ted Nugents, rallying a mass of angry dimwits, unlocking the doors and sounding out our whereabouts.

I've been here a long time, and I'll remain here long past the coolness of 2011 political/nonpolitical schizoid OWS activism/nonactivism fades into history; OR finally purges it's ne'er-do-wells', unites to win, and creates some real progressive change!

But what about you? What do you want? Mission??

[-] -1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 1 year ago

Nope, you know precisely what I am talking about.

[-] -1 points by WSmith (1851) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

No, I don't. I have no idea. You give me too much... credit?

Oh well.

But what about you?

Why not just embrace your inner Randi (laugh, learn and... chill?): http://www.randirhodes.com/pages/homework.html?feed=364336&article=11002130

[-] -1 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

Really? do tell. (in PM if you must)

[-] 0 points by bensdad (8977) 2 years ago

It is really amazing - EVERYTHING goes back to one place - even this

this corrupting influence of crapitalist money on our democracy.

fix polution - but not with our money!
grow more food - use our chemicals!
frack frack frack!
ALL of these forces would be castrated without the ability to BRIBE their way to power


overturn citizens united & end corporate personhood

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1851) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

By returning sanity to our SCOTUS, reelecting our POTUS and fracking Cons out of Congress, otherwise we'll just be spanking our crocus!

[-] 0 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

When both candidates are braggging about permits and drilling, and helping the coal industry, can you blame the people.

I dont think climate change was mentioned once in the debates.

[-] 2 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

Did you watch the Frontline documentary?

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1851) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

It's clear that Big$/Fossil and RepubliCons are the reasons for the silence on pollution related climate effects. Read and watch and, ahem... learn.

[-] 0 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

Stop. Obama could have mentioned it whenever he felt like. Instead he got into a bidding war with Mittens.

If you are relying on that type of leadership to get us there, you are going to end up dissapointed as usual. Its time to change the game.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

I am disappointed at the silence regarding, climate change.

I have heard Pres Obama pushing Alternative Energy, I've watched him fight for more investments. And he has increased auto gas mileage requirements. I know he will move us forward on those critical climate change efforts.

I also have seen many coal commercials squealing against Pres Obama EPA efforts to strengthen regulations of Coal plant emissions. So I know Pres Obama is doing the right thing on that climate change issue.

The silence on climate change during this campaign is simply a strategic recognition that the country (swing states especially) is still a little too right wing pro fossil fuel!

I gotta be smart enough to acknowledge the real progress Pres Obama has made and confident he will continue if re elected. Can't do anything if he ain't re elected, and Romney will undo every climate change progress we have made so the choice is clear.

[-] -3 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

Well, Romney wont be able to undo anything actually, because the Senate is still going to be controlled by the Dems. Who is better isnt my point, my point is that they are both pathetic on the issue.

One is a 3 outta 10. The other is a .5 outta 10.

[-] 0 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

'Better' usually matters. Of course it DOES matter here. And of course Romney can do great damage to the small progress Pres Obama has made.

EPA policy changes, auto mileage, spending prioritize, executive orders are all things a Pres can do without the Senate.

Sounds like your trying to assure people that Romney would be non threatening & ok.

Is that it?

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

No, I think Romney would be worse than Obama. But Obama gets a failing grade. They are two failing options. Neither one is doing the drastic things that are needed in terms of pollution and climate.

One will lead to destruction a little bit slower than the other, but destruction nevertheless. The technology is all there. The desire is all there. But the two parties cannot break the grip of Rockefellar. They're owned by them. What resource does Libya have again?

[-] 0 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

Nah. Pres Obama has made real progress. Only slow because of republican obstruction and the lack of real progressive protests/pressure.

The protests/pressure is improving with OWS, and the repubs must be voted out to blunt their power to obstruct.

Once these things occur we will get the more meaningful progress we need.

Simple. Get to work. In the streets

Replace pro fossil fuel conservatives w/ pro greentech progressive!

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1851) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

There ain't NO leadership if you don't win the election.

You have to choose your battles wisely, when you are out gunned and funded, if you have ANY interest in winning the war. Read, watch and, ahem... learn.

[-] -1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

Keep chasing your tail dude. Thats not what Occupy is about, as much as you would like it to mirror the thoughts of the last 40 years.

You keep propping up the establishment, we'll keep recruiting the disenfranchised to get more options going. Just make sure when the time comes, you get the hell out of the way.

[-] -1 points by WSmith (1851) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

Fighting the tyranny of the 1%!

U R saboteur!

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

Ya, decalring that I will not support corporate backed candidates is really destroying the message...ugh..

[-] -1 points by WSmith (1851) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

Don't show up late to the game and bitch about the score.

[-] 0 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

The game you are watching was rigged a long time ago.

[-] -1 points by WSmith (1851) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

Playing

[-] -1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

Even better, the game you are playing was rigged a long time ago. It was always going to be Romney winning the primary. And it was always going to be Obama beating Romney.

Can you imagine if Romney did some of the stuff that Obama did? You want to talk about civil unrest.

Its a popularity contest. And the establishment wants a good bullshitter. The right, the "christian" right nominates a Mormon? A freakin Mormon? You want to talk about a fake ass move?

All these campaign donations are nothing but bribes to the refs. Just like the Lakers vs Kings. No one realized it was rigged until they had a chance to look at it all afterwards, because they were too involved with the cheering during the game. Emotion took over, and it clouds the ability to think clearly.

[-] 1 points by WSmith (1851) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

You're like a preschooler explaining the Kennedy assassination, only not cute, stupid.

Go chase your Unicorns with someone else.

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

Hey, the main thing is that you still believe!!

I'm sure that you will get Obama re-elected and through all your hard work of filling out that ballot, things will make a dramatic u-turn and everything will work out great.

  • it's you're, not your.
[-] 0 points by WSmith (1851) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

Staving off 8 years of GOP hell!

I have no utopian illusions. I live in the REAL world.

Now go play Unicorns with someone else, please!

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

Ya, and your world is owned by the banks.

Another world is possible.

[-] -1 points by DKAtoday (25063) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Excellent food for thought program thx for posting it: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/climate-of-doubt/

BTW - I tweeted the program. People please share and circulate.

[-] -1 points by WSmith (1851) from Cornelius, OR 2 years ago

Fighting ignorance and misinformation with truth and facts.

Another one: http://thinkprogress.org/security/2012/10/23/1063651/conservatives-panic-election-monitors/