Climate Change: Debating Point Missing in White House Debates

Photograph by NASA/GSFC/MODIS/Terra

Sea ice swirls in ocean currents off the east coast of Greenland on Aug. 17, 2012, as seen by the MODIS instrument on board the Terra satellite. Greenland's ice sheet and outlet glaciers can also be seen at left.

Three debates down (two presidential, one vice presidential), one to go, and one huge issue hasn’t been broached to any significant degree (and degree is a key word here): Climate change and global warming.

The National Journal’s Jim Tankersley, in a recent piece focused on eviscerating the Baby Boom generation, offered this data-filled summary that should send chills up the spine, even during an East Coast summer:

“Earth’s atmosphere is currently 391 parts per million carbon dioxide, up from about 325 ppm 40 years ago. The concentration is on pace to hit 450 ppm by 2035, which would translate into an increase in global average temperatures of 2 degrees Celsius, the tipping point at which scientists say we would no longer be able to block or reverse a future of the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. More high-temperature records were set across the U.S. last year than in any previous one. Arctic ice melted to an all-time recorded low.”

President Barack Obama, after having climate-change legislation stymied during his first year in office, hasn’t stressed the matter since then. Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s record and his current stand on the issue appear muddled.

It would seem a subject deserving of at least a nod in their final faceoff on Oct. 22, a forum that is to spotlight foreign policy. A matter affecting the entire world just might fit under that rubric.



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