12/01/2011 05:17 pm ET | Updated Jan 31, 2012

The Race That Matters

If you've been following the cable news cycle, you've seen the latest sensational headlines about the Republican presidential contest: Newt's surge, Romney's stagnant poll numbers, Cain's reassessment of his campaign. Amidst the news of the ups and downs of the horse race, you may be missing some of the most consequential news of our lifetimes.

Two sobering headlines truly deserve to drown out the political back and forth:

  • The World Meteorological Organization is predicting that this will be the 10th warmest year on record.
  • Our planet is on track to warm by 6 degrees Celsius (10.8 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, according to the International Energy Agency.
  • The first tells us the problem of global warming is undeniably real. The second tells us the problem is worse than we thought.

    The world's scientists are practically shouting from the rooftops. And yet, the candidates continue to play games, pretending that the science is iffy or that a handful of hacked emails somehow undermine the case for global warming. The science is clear. The thermometers don't lie. And we are running out of time.

    We are facing a serious problem. We need serious candidates. They can start by acknowledging that temperatures are surging, that weak-kneed politicians have caused U.S. efforts to stagnate, and that it is time for candidates to reassess their positions. We need a race to ramp up clean energy and ratchet down pollution. This -- not the political ups and downs -- is the race that really matters.