The Danger of Making Climate Change A Youth Issue

The Pentagon has identified climate change as a significant global threat and the evidence of an overall planetary warming trend is denied by only the most radical in the conservative movement, yet the topic has barely registered this presidential election.

Now, with the election just a week away the issue of climate change finally made an appearance. During a recent campaign stop at the MTV studios, President Obama told the audience that there was a significant difference between himself and Mitt Romney on climate change. As reported by Talking Points Memo, Obama said Romney”says he believes in climate change….but he says he’s not sure that man-made causes are the reason” As for his own views, “I believe scientists who say we’re putting too much carbon emissions into the atmosphere and it’s heating the planet and its going to have a severe effect.”

The President went on to explain why he believed the issue was a significant one. “We’re not moving as fast as we need to,” Obama said. “This is an issue that future generations, MTV viewers, are going to have to be dealing with even more than the older generation is. So this is a critical issue — and there’s a huge contrast in this campaign between myself and Governor Romney. I’m surprised it didn’t come up in the debates.”

Maybe the reason the issue hasn’t come up during the campaign, let alone the debate, is because climate change has for some reason, become framed as principally a “youth vote” issue. Even the president defaults to this framing of climate change as an issue that will dramatically impact “future generations.” The truth is every issue facing our nation will dramatically impact “future generations,” but by relegating the issue of climate change to the MTV audience we don’t talk about it as foreign policy when we should. Nor did we talk about it during the town hall debate because, presumably, the “youth vote” question went to a young man asking about student debt. And in the first debate neither candidate felt compelled to raise the issue of climate change because that debate was supposed to focus on the economy and we all know climate change doesn’t have an economic impact. Just ask the folks still trying to recover from Hurricane Katrina.


Related Stories:

10 Important Issues The Debates Are Ignoring

Can Climate Change Action and Evangelicals Co-Exist?

When Did Protecting The Environment Become A Partisan Issue?



Hope Foley
Hope Foley4 years ago

Anyone whinging about the "maybes" and "coulds" should go to wikipedia and read up on "chaos theory". Jus' sayin'...
Also, risk management plans are generally advised to be based on accounting for the "maybes" and "coulds".

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Dina B.
Dina B4 years ago

Can we please stop arguing? Susan A. I totally agree...

Meme Mine
Paul Merrifield4 years ago

You don't HAVE to believe in this misery because the scientists can't both say it "could" be too late now and it JUST "could" be a crisis at the same time. Never has the IPCC said it "WILL" happen, only might and could. Like what could be worse, a come hit?

Kevin W.
Kevin W4 years ago

Meme M. The reason climate scientists don't say that x,y and z WILL happen and exactly when is that climate is a measure of trends. The result of a warming climate won't be something specific like the world ending on a specific date. The result will be increased drought and crop failure and more extreme weather events such as hurricanes, tornados and derecho wind storms. In my area we recently had a thunderstorm that lasted 15 hours. I'm 52 and had never seen anything like it before. 15 solid hours of unceasing heavy rain, wind ( 13 inches ), thunder and lightning. These types of weather events cost a fortune to recover from, it looks like Sandy may cost $20-$50 billion. Funny that those opposed to taking action to slow/stop climate change always complain about the cost. The resaon climate change hasn't been mentioned on the campaign trail is that major donors on both sides are wealthy folks heavily invested in dirty industries that contribute to climate change. They don't want it mentioned.

Cletus W.
Cletus W.4 years ago

What I fear the most, Meme M., is the thought that you actually have children. Yours is the most ferally stupid post I've read today. I pity your children for the malignant intellectual environment that you inflict on them.

You are entitled to you OPINIONS, and you can even have the inflated OPINION of yourself that you know more about climate change than the professional earth and atmospheric scientists who have spent their careers in the most CONSERVATIVE of endeavors: i.e. using the scientific method to analyse and model data gathered from the most sophisticated instrumentation the world has ever seen. Yes, you can do that. But then you must consider equally my opinion that you are an empty, uber-partisan troll with the mental age of a 3rd grader. I suspect your own children have out-paced you by now.

No more wasting my time. Wipe your little bottom, and out in the school yard with you!

Meme Mine
Paul Merrifield4 years ago

Romney thanks us for fear mongering votes his way.
Meanwhile, the entire world of SCIENCE, lazy copy and paste news editors and obedient journalists, had condemned our kids to the greenhouse gas ovens of an exaggerated "crisis" and had allowed bank-funded and corporate-run “CARBON TRADING STOCK MARKETS” to trump 3rd world fresh water relief, starvation rescue and 3rd world education for just over 26 years of insane attempts at climate CONTROL.
If there were real legal consequences for issuing these CO2 death threats to billions of the world’s helpless children, you remaining fear mongers wouldn't still be shooting your mouth off with this needless CO2 panic.
The weather Gods are angry? WE can control a changing climate?

Meme Mine
Paul Merrifield4 years ago

Finde me one single IPCC warning of crisis that isn't peppered with "maybes" and "could bes" etc. Just one. And this despite the saintly scientists saying we "could" be at the point of no return?
How close to the edge will science take us before they say it "WILL" happen?
*In all of the debates Obama hadn’t planned to mention climate change once.
*Obama has not mentioned the crisis in the last two State of the Unions addresses.
*Occupywallstreet does not even mention CO2 in its list of demands because of the bank-funded carbon trading stock markets run by corporations.
*Julian Assange is of course a climate change denier.
*Canada killed Y2Kyoto with a freely elected climate change denying prime minister and nobody cared, especially the millions of scientists warning us of unstoppable warming (a comet hit).
Romney thanks us for fear mongering votes his way.
Deny that or did you WANT this misery for my kids?

Liliana G.
Liliana Garcia4 years ago

Thanks for this well thought out article. The issue of climate change has been under the radar even though so many weather disasters have been seen throughout the USA and the rest of the world in recent years. It doesn't boil down to just Katrina and Sandy. The issue of Big Money is already well known and there are many people aware of it. Passing the bucket to the next generation is a more subtle and dangerous trend. Good work!

Meme Mine
Paul Merrifield4 years ago

Climate Blame was the new Reefer Madness and a wet dream come true for fear mongering liberals, lazy copy and paste news editors and exaggerating lab coat consultants of “science” who also gave us the pesticides that made stewardship necessary in the first place.