The Week Ahead: Will Climate Change Influence the Presidential Election?


Hurricane Sandy's blow to New Jersey and New York has sparked renewed focus on climate change, raising questions about whether it will be a factor in the Nov. 6 presidential election.

In the wake of the storm, as covered in a Nov. 1 World Climate Change Reportarticle, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I) endorsed the re-election bid of President Obama on the basis of what the mayor called his leadership on climate change. Bloomberg's endorsement came on the heels of glowing reviews by New Jersey's Republican governor, Chris Christiea superstar in the eyes of many in the GOPof the Obama administration's response to the storm. 

Furthermore, according to survey results announced Oct. 9 by Yale University in a press release, 74 percent of Americans say "global warming is affecting weather in the United States," an increase of 5 percentage points since March. “Americans have just experienced two years of record-setting extreme weather events, and are increasingly connecting extreme weather in the United States to global warming,” Anthony Leiserowitz of Yale University said in the release. "Half of Americans (52 percent) recall unusual weather events that have occurred in their own local area over the past year, while 61 percent recall unusual weather events that have occurred elsewhere in the U.S."

However, Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have largely remained silent on climate change in the days leading up to the election. Instead, they have been focusing on energy issues, with Obama's top climate official saying the administration would hit the "reset" button with Congress on energy policy, and Romney's team touting an "energy independence plan" to be achieved by 2020. 

National Academies

From Nov. 5-6, the National Academies will hold a meeting in Washington, D.C., on "Understanding and Monitoring Abrupt Climate Change and Its Impact." As detailed in a blog published in June, a study by 22 scientists and researchers found that human-induced greenhouse gas emissions may be rapidly changing the Earth's biosphere, pushing it into a new geologic age.

U.S. Trade Commission

The U.S. International Trade Commission is expected to vote Nov. 7 on whether the U.S. solar industry has been materially injured by a flood of low-priced imports of solar cells and modules from China. The alleged solar cell dumping by China, which critics say has led to layoffs of U.S. workers, is covered in an Oct. 4 article.

Washington State

A report by the National Research Council that found sea levels in Oregon and Washington are rising will be the topic of a workshop Nov. 8 in Montesano, Wash., hosted by the Washington Department of Ecology. The report, Sea Level Rise for the Coasts of California, Washington and Oregon: Past, Present and Future, found that north coast sea levels are rising 1.5 to 3 millimeters annually. The workshop will explore how the NRC findings can be used to evaluate local risk and vulnerability and how to incorporate sea-level rise into policies and planning.

Association of Climate Change Officers

Nancy Gillis, director of federal supply chain emissions for the General Services Administration, will be the featured speaker Nov. 7 in Washington, D.C., at an event hosted by the Association of Climate Change Officers. Gillis will discuss the formation of "a sustainable supply chain community of practice" and GSA's involvement in 

Land Trust Alliance Webinar

On Nov. 5, the Land Trust Alliance will hold a webinar on "Climate Adaptation in Land Acquisition & Stewardship: Funding Opportunities & Examples from the Field." Speakers include Darren Long, program director for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Climate Adaptation Fund; Jennifer Hoffman, senior scientist and director of projects for EcoAdapt; Bruce Stein, director of the National Wildlife Foundation’s Climate Change Adaptation Program; and Abigail Weinberg, conservation research program manager for the Open Space Institute.

Bloomberg BNA Webinar

Bloomberg BNA will host a webinar Nov. 6 on "The 2012 Election: Win Or LoseHow the Election Will Impact Federal Environmental Policy in the Next Four Years." Panelists include Christopher Miller, senior policy adviser on energy and environment for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.); Michael Catanzaro, former senior policy adviser for energy, environment, and telecommunications for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and now managing director for FTI Consulting; and Roger Martella, partner with Sidley Austin LLP and former EPA general counsel. Catherine Karen, counsel with Sidley Austin LLP, will moderate.