New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has endorsed President Barack Obama for a second term, arguing in his op-ed that we need a president who will lead on climate change. With snowfall in West Virginia and the Jersey shore ravaged by the flooding, Hurricane Sandy has focused political attention on climate change, and placed the issue back on the campaign forefront. As we’ve seen, the candidates chose different approaches in addessing the communities left devastated from this natural disaster - Obama put on his presidential hat and toured the wreckage with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday, while Mitt Romney’s campaign hosted a “disaster relief rally” in Ohio. Romney collected donated goods as his biography video played on the big screen in a high school gymnasium.
Earlier today, Bloomberg Businessweek unveiled their cover story, “It’s Global Warming, Stupid,” hoping to put climate change back on the agenda. Businessweek’s editor Josh Tyrangiel tweeted today, ”Our cover story this week may generate controversy, but only among the stupid.” Bloomberg argues:
“We need leadership from the White House - and 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. His administration also has adopted tighter controls on mercury emissions, which will help to close the dirtiest coal power plants (an effort I have supported through my philanthropy), which are estimated to kill 13,000 Americans a year.”
In his endorsement, Mayor Bloomberg graciously called Romney a “good and decent man” and said, “If the 1994 or 2003 version of Mitt Romney were running for president, I may well have voted for him.” However it’s no secret that Romney’s stance on climate change has flip-flopped throughout his political career. As a candidate for governor of Massachusetts and later as governor, Romney championed energy conservation policies and a clean environment. Most recently, Romney’s position on the environment has been deduced from his mockery of President Obama’s platform on climate change, indicating that the environment would not be a priority in a Romney administration:
“President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans. (Laughter) And to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.”
Romney echoed the same line from his convention speech during an interview with NBC’s David Gregory on Meet the Press: “The reason I’m in this race is to help people. I’m not in this race to slow the rise of the oceans or to heal the planet. I’m in this race to help the American people.”
Mayor Bloomberg’s op-ed demonstrates his thought process for his endorsement as a bystander in this election cycle, recognizing both candidates’ shortcomings. A longtime advocate of women’s rights and LGBT equality, Bloomberg touched on the candidates’ stark differences in those areas before addressing climate change. He wrote, “The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the Northeast…brought the stakes of Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief.”
“When I step into the voting booth, I think about the world I want to leave my two daughters, and the values that are required to guide us there. The two parties’ nominees for president offer different visions of where they want to lead America.
One believes a woman’s right to choose should be protected for future generations; one does not. That difference, given the likelihood of Supreme Court vacancies, weighs heavily on my decision.
One recognizes marriage equality as consistent with America’s march of freedom; one does not. I want our president to be on the right side of history.
One sees climate change as an urgent problem that threatens our planet; one does not. I want our president to place scientific evidence and risk management above electoral politics.”
The Obama campaign has released a statement saying the president was “honored” to have Mayor Bloomberg’s endorsement:
“While we may not agree on every issue, Mayor Bloomberg and I agree on the most important issues of our time - that the key to a strong economy is investing in the skills and education of our people, that immigration reform is essential to an open and dynamic democracy, and that climate change is a threat to our children’s future, and we owe it to them to do something about it. Just as importantly, we agree that whether we are Democrats, Republicans, or independents, there is only one way to solve these challenges and move forward as a nation - together. I look forward to thanking him in person - but for now, he has my continued commitment that this country will stand by New York in its time of need. And New Yorkers have my word that we will recover, we will rebuild, and we will come back stronger.”