Opinion

Candidates should focus on climate change

It’s October. The polar ice caps are at the lowest levels that have ever been recorded and the sea ice has not only lost about half of its volume since 2000, but also about 72 percent of its density.

According to Peter Wadhams of the Polar Ocean Physics Group, this constitutes “an imminent and unavoidable global disaster.”

Global warming is real, folks. It isn’t a bunch of hype or some crazy conspiracy theory dreamed up by scientists. It’s as real as the rising oceans, the melting ice caps and the rapidly evaporating ozone layer. There’s a reason why Sir David King, the chief scientific advisor to the British government, called global warming the “biggest problem society has ever confronted.” And the scariest part for us concerned citizens is that when it comes to this year’s election, neither candidate could care less.

It seems environmentally conscious voters currently find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place, faced with the daunting prospect of having to vote for one candidate who lies through his teeth and promises reform while actively ignoring it, and another who laughs in the face of even attempting to reform the environment.

President Barack Obama has promised to wean our nation’s dependence on oil, but has done the exact opposite. He has called for more offshore drilling, refused to enact tougher federal ­standards for fracking and has denied enforcing tighter standards on ozone pollution. Domestic drilling has quadrupled under Obama and, despite promising to end dangerous deep water drilling in the wake of the BP spill, Obama has continued to issue permits to companies like BP and Shell to drill in even deeper and more dangerous waters in the Arctic Ocean.

In fact, Obama is the first president since Lyndon B. Johnson to see an increase in domestic oil production for four straight years. Obama was absent from a recent July meeting between world leaders in Rio aimed at reprising environmental reforms enacted through the monumental 1992 Copenhagen accord.

He is feeding the American populace lies and false hope, masking a record-breaking oil dependency behind the veil of false progress.

Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has a much more blunt and straightforward approach to ending the world. His response to the global warming crises has been to, more or less, make a joke of it. In his speech to the Republican National Committee, Romney said, “President Obama has promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.” Referencing his plan to drill even more within the country and thus create more jobs for Americans.

I’ll allow you a moment to take in how mind-numbingly stupid that is. A politician is vying to become the leader of the free world and essentially laughing off the fact that the world is on the brink of destruction. And the glaring issue with his theory? Investing in more oil production won’t produce the inflated 3 million jobs that Romney preaches. It won’t produce anywhere close to that.

According to a report by the Center for American Progress and the University of Massachusetts, $150 billion invested in renewable energy would generate 1.7 million more jobs than the same amount invested in fossil fuels. But hey, oil has always been so good to us, so why stop now?

In the end, what does it all mean? Young Miami voters, it means when you go to the polls this November you shouldn’t expect anything to change. Just don’t be surprised when twenty years from now the chants of “drill baby drill” turn into, “swim baby swim.”

Robert Pursell is a senior majoring in journalism.

October 16, 2012

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Robert Pursell


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