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Obama and McCain: Silent on Climate Change

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Barack Obama and John McCain are ignoring the biggest news event in human history. They aren't alone. Very few media outlets are reporting the news either.

On August 31, NASA released photos showing the North Pole has become an island for the first time in the past 125,000 years. (Please read that line again, look at the NASA image, and let it penetrate.) The summer ice cap at the Arctic is melting so fast that Dr. Mark Serreze, a sea ice specialist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado, said the Arctic may have entered a "death spiral" caused by global warming. For the first time in human history, the ice cap no longer touches neighboring continents. But the presidential campaigns are nearly silent on the unprecedented threat of global warming.

North Pole
Image by NASA

Where is the maverick McCain, co-sponsor of the first serious piece of climate legislation in the Senate? Where is Obama, famous for speaking the truth even when it isn't popular? Is this the moment to cave under the influence of the "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less" lies of the oil and gas industry?

This week I sat in more than one meeting where environmental groups and Hill staffers wondered if we should stop talking about climate change and instead only talk about clean energy, gas prices and green jobs. These things are vital but they don't communicate what is really going on. Will we ever transcend the defensive habits of the Left and work to set the agenda? If McCain and Obama don't address the scale and urgency of global warming, on what basis will we insist that they live up to their campaign commitments and to take bold action next year? We are about to go down, people.

This week, the nation's top intelligence analyst joined Al Gore, Lester Brown, and James Hansen in predicting that climate change will cause havoc, not in fifty years but in the next 10-20. Thomas Fingar, Chairman of the National Intelligence Council and chief author of the United State's intelligence forecast said on Tuesday, September 9, that intelligence agencies accepted the consensual scientific view of global warming, including the conclusion that it is too late to avert significant disruption over the next two decades. The soon-to-be released report predicts that by 2025, droughts, food shortages and scarcity of fresh water will plague large swaths of the globe from northern China to the Horn of Africa. Don't buy real estate in Tucson because Fingar predicts that the U.S. Southwest will face "Dust Bowl" conditions.

We have less than 60 days left before the election. We must demand that the presidential contenders tell us just what they will do to address this crisis if elected and we must push for transformational leadership. Join Energy Action's Power Vote and help get one million young people to pledge to make climate a major consideration when they vote this year. Join 1Sky's Climate Precinct Captains project and help us put a volunteer organizer in every single precinct in the country.

Whatever you do, don't act normal. These are not normal times. Too bad that Obama and McCain are acting like normal politicians.

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