November 2, 2012

It's Global Warming, Stupid!

Having spent some days blogging about the effects of Hurricane Sandy, I had intended posting today about some of Sandy's causes. That will have to wait for a while now though, since a post about the politics of climate change has suddenly risen to the top of my to do list. My headline today comes to you courtesy of Bill Clinton, via Michael Bloomberg.

Just in case one or two of my European readers haven't heard of Mr. Bloomberg, perhaps I should explain that he became "10th-richest person in the United States" selling the eponymous Bloomberg Terminals and the financial data and news they display to the likes of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.  He became Mayor of New York City in 2002, and then in 2009 his company bought BusinessWeek magazine.  Here is the cover of the latest edition of the retitled Bloomberg Businessweek:

It's Global Warming, Stupid

That headline is modelled on the de facto slogan for Bill Clinton's successful 1992 presidential election campaign:

The economy, stupid!

We'll come back to that cover story a bit later on as well, but yesterday Mr. Bloomberg wrote an article for the online version of his news service. Here are some of the things he had to say:

The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the Northeast – in lost lives, lost homes and lost business – brought the stakes of Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief.

The floods and fires that swept through our city left a path of destruction that will require years of recovery and rebuilding work. And in the short term, our subway system remains partially shut down, and many city residents and businesses still have no power. In just 14 months, two hurricanes have forced us to evacuate neighborhoods – something our city government had never done before. If this is a trend, it is simply not sustainable.

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.

That final paragraph sums up my thoughts on the matter quite nicely! Mr. Bloomberg then went on to say that:

President Barack Obama has taken major steps to reduce our carbon consumption, including setting higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks.

Mitt Romney, too, has a history of tackling climate change. As governor of Massachusetts, he signed on to a regional cap- and-trade plan designed to reduce carbon emissions 10 percent below 1990 levels. He couldn’t have been more right. But since then, he has reversed course, abandoning the very cap-and-trade program he once supported. This issue is too important. We need determined leadership at the national level to move the nation and the world forward.

Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan both found success while their parties were out of power in Congress – and President Obama can, too. If he listens to people on both sides of the aisle, and builds the trust of moderates, he can fulfill the hope he inspired four years ago and lead our country toward a better future for my children and yours. And that’s why I will be voting for him.

So there you have it. Michael Bloomberg didn't endorse either presidential candidate last time around. Next week he recommends voting for Barack Obama. Should Mr. Obama be voted another term next week, do you suppose he will be able to "respond big, and respond fast" to Michael Bloomberg's message? I hope so, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that I'm particularly confident. As Michael Bloomberg puts it:

Like so many other independents, I have found the past four years to be, in a word, disappointing.

As the BBC puts it, whilst:

The issue of climate change suddenly finds itself in the eye of the US election storm


The harsh reality is that neither candidate may achieve very much on the climate issue, despite Michael Bloomberg's hopes.

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