I wasn’t going to post a presidential election plea this week. And then Hurricane Sandy happened and in the midst of the devastation people started thinking about Climate Change. Maybe the oceans rising isn’t such a funny punchline, Romney?
I think it’s already pretty clear to anyone who knows me or reads my blog how staunchly I support our current president and just how crucial I feel this election is. I could talk for hours about how this election holds at stake everything that I hold dear – as a woman, as a mother, as a small business owner, as an environmental advocate, as a person who believes love breaks the boundaries of gender, as a person of Jewish heritage, as a person who believes everyone deserves healthcare, and as a person who believes the inequality in this country and the power of big corporations (and the 1%) is utterly deplorable.
But no matter how I felt about every other issue at stake in this election, there is one overriding issue that trumps all else: one candidate does not believe in climate change and has openly mocked efforts to slow it. One candidate holds no regard for the devastation brought on by oil drilling and coal mining. One candidate does not believe we should put government regulations on businesses, allowing them to sell toxic products to our families. One candidate is literally owned by big industry lobbyists and can’t wait to build an oil pipeline clear through America, poisoning our crop fields and our rivers. The current president may not be perfect, but at least he sees the big picture.
There are some people who will not vote in this election because they simply do not like either candidate. They don’t believe that Obama has done enough to move the country forward economically or environmentally. But as my friend Diane MacEachern of Big Green Purse reminds me, “Do not let perfect be the enemy of good.”
I agree with Obama’s decisions about 85% of the time – that is more than I agree with my husband. I agree with Mitt Romney on exactly no issues. But no matter your beliefs, if you feel that climate change and the health and welfare of our people and planet are the most important issues in the world we live in, I implore you to go out and vote.
An endorsement from New York mayor and Independent Michael Bloomberg reads. “Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be — given this week’s devastation — should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action. We need leadership from the White House — and over the past four years, President Barack Obama has taken major steps to reduce our carbon consumption, including setting higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks. His administration also has adopted tighter controls on mercury emissions, which will help to close the dirtiest coal power plants, which are estimated to kill 13,000 Americans a year.”
Please take the short time you have left to decide to learn more about where the candidates stand on these issues. Because what do the other issues matter if we are allowing people to become sick, displaced, and literally washed out?
1. Oil/gas drilling
Obama: Rejected the initial northern half of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would run from Canada to Texas, but deferred a final decision. Proposed opening more offshore areas to oil and gas drilling but maintains moratorium off the Pacific and most of the Atlantic coasts. Seeks federal safety standards for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a process by which natural gas is extracted. Opposes $4 billion in annual tax breaks for oil and gas companies.
Romney: Approves of Keystone XL pipeline. Favors giving states the ability to regulate drilling and issue leases (even on federal land). Supports opening all federal land for oil and gas drilling, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Pacific, Atlantic and Alaskan coasts. Backs tax credits for manufacturers, including oil and gas companies.
2. Renewable energy
Obama: Favors renewal of the tax credit for utility-scale wind producers, slated to expire Dec. 31. Supports loan guarantees and grants for green-energy companies.
Romney: Opposes the renewal of the wind tax credit. Criticizes Obama’s stimulus bill funding for solar, wind and electric vehicle companies.
3. Vehicle fuel efficiency
Obama: Finalized plans, with support of major automakers, to double fuel economy for light trucks and cars, to 54.5 miles per gallon, by 2025.
Romney: Opposes Obama’s efficiency mandate, saying consumers will have to spend more on cars than they’ll save by using less gas.
4. Clean air
Obama: Supports the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency, upheld by the Supreme Court, to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Backs tougher rules for limiting emissions from old coal-fired power plants.
Romney: Seeks to eliminate EPA’s power to regulate carbon dioxide and remove its rules limiting emissions from coal plants. “I exhale carbon dioxide,” he said in November in New Hampshire. ” I don’t want those guys (EPA) following me around with a meter to see if I’m breathing too hard.”
5. Climate change:
Obama: Believes it’s serious, exacerbated by fossil fuel use and linked to extreme weather. “Climate change is not a hoax,” he told the Democratic National Convention last month in Charlotte, N.C. “More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They are a threat to our children’s future.”
Romney: Argues there’s a lack of scientific consensus on the issue. “We don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet,” he told the Consol Energy Center last October.