Hurricane Sandy brings climate change to the forefront of US Presidential Election

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Barack Obama at Red Cross

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Hurricane Sandy has left millions of Americans living in the North East without power and gasoline and has also brought climate change to the front row seat of the election. The repeated destruction courtesy of natural disasters places an emphasis on which leader will not only accept the severity of the climate change and find ways to decrease rising temperatures, but also help the people adapt to the changing weather patterns. Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City, points out via The Guardian that both presidents have a history of taking a firm stand on climate issues.

Mayor Bloomberg emphasizes that President Obama has “taken major steps to reduce our carbon consumption, including setting higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks” and  “his administration also has adopted tighter controls on mercury emissions, which will help to close the dirtiest coal power plants (an effort I have supported through my philanthropy), which are estimated to kill 13,000 Americans a year.”  But he also warns:

 In 2008, Obama ran as a pragmatic problem-solver and consensus-builder. But as president, he devoted little time and effort to developing and sustaining a coalition of centrists, which doomed hope for any real progress on illegal guns, immigration, tax reform, job creation and deficit reduction. And rather than uniting the country around a message of shared sacrifice, he engaged in partisan attacks and has embraced a divisive populist agenda focused more on redistributing income than creating it.

Mitt Romney, while the governor of Massachusetts, “signed on to a regional cap- and-trade plan designed to reduce carbon emissions 10 percent below 1990 levels.” At the time, Romney wrote of the plan: “The benefits (of that plan) will be long-lasting and enormous – benefits to our health, our economy, our quality of life, our very landscape. These are actions we can and must take now, if we are to have ‘no regrets’ when we transfer our temporary stewardship of this Earth to the next generation.” Romney; however, has since left the program he once supported.

With Americans still powerless and homeless by the impact of Hurricane Sandy, they have to ask which president will be better for the environment as they head to the polls on Election Day.

  • Susmita Baral

    Susmita is a writer and editor in the Greater New York City area. In her spare time, Susmita enjoys cooking, traveling, dappling in photography, art history and interior design, and moonlighting as a therapist for her loved ones.

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