Perhaps it seems obvious that if you care about your family's future, you must also care about the planet your children will inhabit.
Yet critics argue that concept was lost on the audience at the Republican National Convention Thursday night, as they cheered GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney as he declared: "President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans," pausing for the audience to laugh at the absurdity, "and to heal the planet. My promise ... is to help you and your family."
Some defended Romney's statements as a simple jab at President Obama's exaggerated rhetoric, which Romney closely paraphrased.
Back in 2008, Obama remarked in his nomination acceptance speech that if willing to work for it, "We will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment ... when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal."
Yet many were infuriated Thursday night by Romney's seeming indifference to -- or mocking of -- efforts to combat climate change and alleviate growing pressure on the planet's resources.
Critics took to Twitter to voice their outrage, among them former State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley, who tweeted: "So I guess we won't worry about #climate change in a #Romney administration." Climate scientist Michael Mann tweeted, "Romney's cynical denial of climate change is the real threat to our families, to our children & grandchildren's future."
On air, MSNBC's Chris Matthews charged, "How narrow-minded, how small and insular and piggish can you be about this country, to say, 'We don't care about the planet we live on,' which is getting hotter, climate change has manifested all over the world ... and he's mocking it."
Some point to the ironic timing of Romney's remarks on the planet and rising waters, as he heads on Friday to Louisiana to survey damage from Hurricane Isaac.
According to some scientists, climate change may contribute to hurricanes, with “more destructive potential” for the storms in the future. A new analysis suggests sea levels may rise up to 29 feet above current levels in the next few centuries, due to climate change.
While Romney once said he understood the human actions that drive climate change, he has now shifted to the scientifically disproven stance that "we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet." He joins his running mate, Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman who notoriously once said it was tough to fight climate change when "much of the state is buried under snow."
While Obama has faced criticism for failing to address the pressing needs of the changing climate, he recently was praised for finalizing regulations to double the average fuel efficiency for new vehicles, and he declared at a recent campaign event, "Denying climate change won’t make it stop. These things won’t make for a brighter future."
Philip J. Crowley
Michael E. Mann
Charles M. Blow