Here’s what we know as of 8 a.m. Pacific time this morning:
# More than a million acres of the U.S. is ablaze; the country is burning at a record pace.
# More than half the country is in some form of drought emergency; grain prices are hitting new record highs today on international markets.
#Arctic ice is on the verge of setting a new melt record--and we’ve got weeks of melt season left.
#Parts of the Mississippi are effectively closed to barge traffic because there’s not enough water to float them.
And here’s what we don’t know:
If Mitt Romney has noticed any of this at all.
You can call the Republican nominee shifty and dishonest on some subjects (his insinuation that the Obama administration makes it easier for welfare recipients to avoid work has failed every fact check). You can call him self-interested on others (setting a tax rate that lowers your already low taxes just seems…selfish).
But on climate change—almost certainly the biggest issue the planet faces—you can’t call him much of anything. Because he has no position. If you look at his website, he has positions running the gamut from “Afghanistan” to “Values.” But there’s nothing on global warming.
He’s answered one question from reporters about the subject all year: “Scientists will figure that out ten, twenty, fifty years from now,” he said. But that’s wrong. Scientists figured it out ten and twenty years ago—which is why every national academy of science and every professional society call for action. Hell, George W. Bush seven years ago firmly linked climate change to human activity. The CEO of Exxon admitted in June that global warming was real (albeit an “engineering problem”).
I’m no apologist for Barack Obama—I led the largest civil disobedience action of his presidency (and the last 30 years) outside the WhIte House to protest tar sands oil. But Romney’s silence is simply unacceptable. We have to demand that he tell us what he thinks about an issue that will dominate everything from ag policy to foreign policy for decades to come.
So at the 350.org action fund we’ve set up a way to aggregate signatures from Americans asking for his opinion. We’ll deliver them to him as creatively as we can in a few days. Would you please sign on yourself, and then figure out how to share this with your friends?
And I’ll keep praying that Hurricane Isaac dies down in the Atlantic. If it hits Tampa during the GOP convention, I suppose it would help deliver the message—but an awful lot of other people would suffer along the way.