It took a deadly and debilitating natural disaster, but climate change activists are finally getting what they wanted in the last days of 2012: talk of earth’s changing climate out on the campaign trail.
Climate change non-deniers from New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg to the grassroots of the global warming movement are using Sandy to insert talk of the climate battle — which has taken a backseat thanks to Republican intransigence in Congress, skepticism from Mitt Romney and reticence from an Obama campaign trying to win in the Midwest — back on the front burner.
Bloomberg, who is still digging his city out of one of the worst natural disasters it has suffered, used climate change as the centerpiece of his public endorsement of Obama Thursday.
The grassroots progressive group ClimateSilence.org is bringing Sandy into the presidential campaign in two of its most important battlegrounds — Ohio and Virginia — in the final stretch toward Election Day.
The group is running a TV ad on cable in key markets in both states built around a Romney quip in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention that dismissed Obama’s talk of climate change. While Romney speaks — and the sound of laughter from his Republican audience can be heard — footage from Sandy plays.
Climate change has not been on the radar for much of the presidential cycle. It wasn’t even mentioned in the four debates, the first time that’s happened since 1984. But the activists behind the Sandy TV ad hope the storm may have finally given room for some climate change talk before all is said and done next Tuesday.
“Folks who are still reeling from yet another superstorm have no choice but to think twice about climate change,” Daniel Souweine of Forecast The Facts (one of the groups behind ClimateSilence.org) told TPM. Sandy, he said, will force voters to “think twice about a candidate who made climate change a punchline in his biggest speech of the campaign.”
This post has been updated.