Has the world turned upside down? First, the Bruins win the Stanley Cup for the first time in 39 years. Then, Whitey Bulger – Boston’s most notorious crime boss, and the nation’s #1 Most Wanted man since Osama Bin Laden’s death – is arrested after 16 years on the lam. And now this:
In the issue of Rolling Stone that hits newsstands today, Al Gore takes President Obama to task for not doing enough to combat climate change.
But in spite of these and other achievements, President Obama has thus far failed to use the bully pulpit to make the case for bold action on climate change. After successfully passing his green stimulus package, he did nothing to defend it when Congress decimated its funding. After the House passed cap and trade, he did little to make passage in the Senate a priority. Senate advocates — including one Republican — felt abandoned when the president made concessions to oil and coal companies without asking for anything in return. He has also called for a massive expansion of oil drilling in the United States, apparently in an effort to defuse criticism from those who argue speciously that “drill, baby, drill” is the answer to our growing dependence on foreign oil.
Of course, Gore’s comments on President Obama weren’t all negative. And he did a lot more with his seven on-line pages than just bash President Obama (it’s a must-read, for sure).
But Gore’s comments have prompted a public examination of Obama’s record on the environment, as this PBS News Hour segment demonstrates:
But even more surprising than who Gore’s criticizing is who he’s praising: former Massachusetts Governor and GOP presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney. Romney has taken a sharp turn to the right since his 2002 gubernatorial campaign here in Massachusetts (his conversion to a pro-life stance is one prominent example), but his views on climate change seem to have some immunity from the conservative pull. Romney has stated publicly that he’s convinced human-caused climate change is a reality:
“I believe the world is getting warmer, and I believe that humans have contributed to that,” he told a town hall meeting in New Hampshire earlier this month. He called for an expansion of wind, solar, nuclear and clean coal.
“It’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may be significant contributors.”
Those remarks prompted Al Gore to post a note on his blog entitled “Good for Mitt Romney.” His praise is tempered by saying “we’ve long passed the point where weak lip-service is enough on the Climate Crisis,” but he commends Romney for “sticking to his guns in the face of the anti-science wing of the Republican Party.” Some say Gore’s kind words could be a kiss of death for the presidential hopeful.
Meanwhile, Romney’s acceptance of climate science has apparently so enraged Texas Governor Rick Perry as to prompt him to announce his own candidacy for seek the GOP presidential nomination. Grist’s Chris Mims says Perry appears to be setting himself up to run as the anti-climate-science candidate.
Perry said that climate change is “all one contrived phony mess that is falling apart under its own weight.” He is suing the EPA to block it from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. His response to the record droughts and wildfires that have ravaged his state — consistent with climate scientists’ predictions that the American Southwest will become warmer and drier as climate change accelerates — was to pray for rain.
Now Perry has announced he’s running for the GOP presidential nomination. Candidates this late to the game generally don’t fare well, but if he gets the nomination, look for his climate denialism to play a big role in his campaign and policy prescriptions.
Of course, it’s Romney – not Perry – whose views on climate change are likely to stand out in the field of Republican presidential hopefuls.