Anden runde uden klima

Diverse — Drokles on October 20, 2012 at 8:05 am

Romney og Obama tørnede endnu engang sammen i den anden debat før præsidentvalget om 3 uger. De fleste er enige om at Obama klarede sig bedst og i lyset af hans meget sløje indsats i den første debat var det i sig selv en stor sejr, en sejr demokraterne og journalisterne håber har stoppet Romneys momentum. Men mens de fleste analytikere har travlt med at bedømme udfaldet og dets konsekvenser så springer der noget andet i øjnene på denne klimamaniske blogger: Ingen nævnte klimaet!

Der var ellers god mulighed for det, da debatten drejede ind på energi. I den første debat havde Romney pludseligt udbrudt “And by the way, I like coal!” og havde fortsat med at revse Obama for både at spilde de chancer for energiuafhængighed, som fossile brændstoffer i den amerikanske undergrund lover og de økonomiske gevinster der ville følge. Obama sagde ingenting, men virkede bare træt af det hele den aften. Men i debatten forleden var det anderledes. Obama var tilbage i storform, gik til stålet og ville ikke lade Romney skose sig for noget som helst. Så hvad sagde han så da han fik chancen for at revanchere sig om fossil energi? Her i E&E Publishing’s referat

“Governor, when you were governor of Massachusetts, you stood in front of a coal plant and pointed at it and said, ‘This plant kills,’ and took great pride in shutting it down,” Obama said. “And now suddenly you’re a big champion of coal.”

Romney did work to reduce pollution at a Massachusetts coal plant about a decade ago, accusing it of killing people. But he also didn’t shut it down — the plant still operates today.

Romney, meanwhile, accused Obama of creating a hostile environment for coal plants, due to increased regulations from U.S. EPA.

“Coal production is not up. Coal jobs are not up,” Romney said, later adding, “I don’t think anyone really believes that you’re a person who’s going to be pushing for oil and gas and coal.”

Obama claimed the opposite, saying at one point last night that “we have seen increases in coal production and coal employment.”

While there have been layoffs in the coal industry recently, the broader picture is more complex. Analysts say that competition from natural gas and energy markets is to blame for many plants retiring or switching to natural gas, though they also agree that the administration’s regulations have made the business tougher (Greenwire, May 25).

That nuance meant Obama and Romney could essentially cherry-pick the facts that helped make their case.

Romney, for his part, brought up a recent Migratory Bird Treaty Act prosecution to make the point that the White House has not been friendly to oil and gas production. The case has provoked considerable anger within the industry, not least because no wind energy operators have been prosecuted under the statute (Greenwire, April 27).

“So where’d the [oil and gas production] increase come from? Well a lot of it came from the Bakken Range in North Dakota,” Romney said. “What was his participation there? The administration brought a criminal action against the people drilling up there for oil, this massive new resource we have. And what was the cost? Twenty or 25 birds were killed, and [it] brought out a Migratory Bird Act to go after them on a criminal basis.”

Last year, the U.S. attorney in North Dakota charged seven oil companies with misdemeanor violations of the act for the death of more than 25 endangered birds. But in a ruling on Jan. 17, Judge Daniel Hovland of the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota dismissed charges against three oil companies.

The decision suggested that companies operating in compliance with all relevant regulations should not be prosecuted, with Hovland writing that the act was not written to “criminalize lawful commercial activity conducted in the oil fields of North Dakota.”

According to USA Today, the three other defendants reached plea agreements, and the charges against the final company were dropped by the government.

Climate change ignored — again

While the candidates talked at length about coal and oil, they also addressed the need for renewables.

“We’ve got to control our own energy,” Obama said early in the debate. “Now, not only oil and natural gas, which we’ve been investing in; but also, we’ve got to make sure we’re building the energy source of the future, not just thinking about next year, but 10 years from now, 20 years from now. That’s why we’ve invested in solar and wind and biofuels, energy-efficient cars.”

Romney surprised some environmentalists by voicing his support for wind power, after Obama criticized the Republican for his opposition to the production tax credit, which expires for the wind industry at the end of this year.

“Look, I want to make sure we use our oil, our coal, our gas, our nuclear, our renewables,” Romney said. “I believe very much in our renewable capabilities; ethanol, wind, solar will be an important part of our energy mix.”

Intet, absolut intet om klimaet. Oceanerne kan stige støt igen. Uden ideen om en truende global opvarmning giver Obamas voldsomme satsning på irrationel energiudvinding ingen mening. Og hvis der er en truende global opvarmning giver Romneys energipolitik ingen mening. Så hvorfor ikke bringe klimaet på banen og mobilisere de demokratiske vælgere, der ellers ville hænge mismodigt fast i sofaen?

I stedet for at hvile i en præmis om en truende global opvarmning, som ville underbygge Obamas energipolitik og samtidig underminere Romneys havde team Obama valgt at basere sin argumentation på Romneys præmisser og således virke almindeligt utroværdig. Det var et bevist valg. Obama havde på forhånd opgivet at vinde slaget om energi- og klimapolitikken og blot stille sig tilfreds med at begrænse nederlaget så meget som ellers muligt ved at prøve at virke stærk gennem påståelighed.

Men kerer ingen i USA sig da om klimaet? Jo, men slet ikke nok til at at man gider spilde kostbar tid på at mundhugges om, hvem der kan bore flest arbejdspladser frem af undergrunden:

…the issue of climate change did not come up directly, though it formed a backdrop for the candidates’ sparring over regulation and support for “cleaner” energy sources.

Moderator Candy Crowley said in an interview after the debate with CNN colleagues that she opted not to ask a question on climate change proposed by one of the audience members.

“I had that question, all you climate change people,” she said.

But Crowley said she passed over the topic because “we knew that the economy was still the main thing,” even though other non-economic issues like gun control were given time.

Klimahysteriet er døende.

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