We heard a lot about how the candidates feel about foreign policy in Monday night's debate. In fact, over three debates, we have seen the candidates debate any number of issues. But not climate change.
For whatever reason, President Obama and Mitt Romney never got around to tackling climate change in the debate forum. Neither, for that matter, did Vice President Joe Biden and GOP vice-presidential hopeful Paul Ryan.
This is the first debate cycle since 1984 that has not mentioned phrases such as "climate change," "global warming" or "environmental crisis." In 1988, the issue arose in the vice-presidential debate between Democratic candidate Lloyd Bentsen and Republican candidate Dan Quayle; both mentioned "the greenhouse effect."
Brad Johnson, campaign manager for the group Climate Silence, issued a statement circulating in the media highlighting this fact. The candidates "have failed to debate the greatest challenge of our time. Climate change threatens us all: The candidates' silence threatens to seal our fate," Johnson said in a statement, as quoted by Scientific American.
What do the candidates believe about climate change, then?
Politico summarizes that climate change almost never comes up for Romney, but he does criticize Obama's renewable energy policies. The president, on the other hand, does frequently mention energy and says he wants to support renewable energy and bring down pollution from power plants, but, Politico says, you'll rarely hear him say the words "climate change."
See for yourself what the candidates are planning officially: Here is Obama and Biden's plan for the "global climate crisis." And here is Romney and Ryan's agenda for energy.
In America generally, it seems that people just don't want to think about climate change, Bryan Walsh writes on Time.com. He adds, "But the job of a leader — or someone who is applying to become a leader — should involve telling the occasional difficult, even inconvenient truth. That’s been missing in this campaign."