President Obama received a late endorsement from now self-proclaimed Independent and current New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg this afternoon, which normally mightn’t be much of an issue (it’s not like New York’s electoral votes are exactly up for grabs or anything) — except that Bloomberg led his argument by extolling the ostensible virtues of Obama’s climate-change policies in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the Northeast — in lost lives, lost homes and lost business — brought the stakes of Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief. …
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.
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.
Again, it’s always difficult to say whether these types of endorsements have a calculable effect, and this one would only heighten Obama’s lead in New York — but what about in neighboring states like, oh, say… Pennsylvania?
The Obama campaign has generally avoided the topic of climate change for some very good political reasons. Obama was much more vocal about championing climate change earlier in his presidency, but the issue tends to bring out some of the divisions between well-monied Democratic sub-factions, i.e., hardcore greenies who don’t think the president has done nearly enough to combat global warming versus unions who are less-than-pleased about the incoming inability to build a coal plant without being bankrupted. Team O has scrupulously skirted around the Obama administration’s war on coal, preferring to tout his green-energy ventures and fuel efficiency standards as the routes to a brave renewable world.
Team Obama put out a statement that the president is “honored” to have Bloomberg’s support, but Mayor Bloomberg is known for being staunchly anti-coal. If the climate-heavy endorsement ends up bringing any extra attention to President Obama’s own coal-crushing and climate-change policies, I’m not sure it will be a welcome development for them — the situation in Pennsylvania is far too fragile to invite any ire from coal country.