Presidential Election 2012: Environmentalists Weigh In

The 2012 presidential election bring to a close a frustrating campaign season for environmentalists.

Green groups have been outspoken in their disappointment over the "climate silence" permeating the debates, and recently expressed concern over impending extreme weather challenges they feel politicians should address following Hurricane Sandy.

A recent Politico opinion piece written after the storm stated:

It’s time to stop asking when climate change will arrive. It’s here, and we need to move aggressively to curb carbon emissions while also preparing for a changed world. We are at nothing less than a critical juncture.

In addition to more extreme weather, failing to change our ways will mean extreme costs. Not acting on climate change could cost our nation more than 1 percent of GDP by 2025, or $218 billion a year, according to an analysis by Frank Ackerman, an economist at Tufts University.

Some politicians have spoken out on climate change following the hurricane. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed President Barack Obama with the declaration, "Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be – given this week's devastation – should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action... over the past four years, President Barack Obama has taken major steps to reduce our carbon consumption, including setting higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks."

Both Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney have been noticeably quiet on climate change during the campaign -- the issue was not mentioned in any debate for the first time in nearly a generation.

Romney evoked laughter at the Republican National Convention when he announced, "President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. My promise ... is to help you and your family."

Obama responded by declaring at his own convention, "Climate change is not a hoax."

The 2012 Republican platform mentions the term "climate change" once, while the 2012 Democratic platform uses the term 18 times, stating "Our opponents have moved so far to the right as to doubt the science of climate change."

The 2012 GOP platform promotes agricultural practices to reduce pollution but focuses on fossil fuel exploitation and shifting environmental efforts "from a job-killing punitive mentality." Meanwhile, the Democratic platform promotes the development of clean energy jobs, the conservation of public lands and the reduction of carbon pollution, but has been seen as weaker on domestic climate change legislation than the party's 2008 platform.

View the slideshow below to see where some environmental advocates stand on the candidates:



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