Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Mitt Romney and the rising seas

By Jillian Correira

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If you follow politics at all, you’ve probably noticed the in-depth discussion about the urgency of climate change and its impacts on earth and those who inhabit it – at least from President Barack Obama and the Democrats.

Climate change is a serious issue. It’s been a topic on the agendas of presidential hopefuls since Richard Nixon introduced the topic in 1969. If you’ve ever seen a picture of a lone polar bear floating on a tiny ice cap in the middle of a sea, then you already know the dangers of global warming. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it has become increasingly clear that climate change is taking place, evidenced by warmer global air and ocean temperatures, melting snow and ice caps, and rising sea levels. It’s also extremely important to note that most of earths recent climate change has been caused by human activity. This rate of climate change is dangerous to earth’s ecosystems, and the heat waves experienced by the northeastern United States (hey, that’s us!) could have an impact on our health in the form of increased air pollution and more frequent precipitation that would cause sewage overflows, resulting in waterborne illnesses.

So if sewage overflows and waterborne illnesses are enough to gross you out, you’re probably concerned about climate change. Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, is concerned, too. In fact, he’s so concerned, he decided to discuss it in his Republican National Convention speech. And by discuss it, I mean make a joke out of it resulting in thunderous laughter and applause from the crowd.

“President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans (pause for laughter) and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.” (Thunderous applause).

In just two sentences, Romney managed to insult Obama and dismiss the idea of rising sea levels as a mere joke. If Bill Nye was watching, I’m sure he shed a tear or two.

To be clear, Romney has recently expressed a moderate view on the subject of climate change. In a recent online debate between Obama and Romney conducted by, Obama took a strong approach saying that “climate change is the one of the biggest issues of this generation.” Romney, on the other hand, stated that while he’s “not a scientist”, he does believe that the earth is getting warmer, and that human activity contributes to that warming. This comes off as odd, being that just last year he denied climate change, saying “we don’t know what’s causing it.”

He then continues to insult Obama’s efforts in getting Americans to decrease their carbon dioxide emissions by saying that it’s detrimental to the U.S. economy. “The reality is that the problem is called global warming, not America warming,” Romney quipped. As far as I can tell, it seems like Romney’s favorite thing to do is joke about climate change.

But the sad thing is, it’s not a joke. It’s important, it’s real and it’s happening as we speak. What would this country be like if we were led by a president with no real passion for fighting a dangerous issue that’s been scientifically proven over and over?

If we assume Romney is not proactive in reversing climate change, greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere would continue to increase, causing rising sea levels, rising global temperatures and increased ocean acidity. If climate change is left unattended, we are leaving future generations with potentially irreversible damage to our planet.

In the interview, Romney also said that there is a “lack of scientific consensus” on the subject of climate change. While this might be true, it is only slightly true, because over 95 percent of publishing climate scientists agree that the earth is warming and human activity is the cause. But hey, Romney’s no scientist! And I’m sure Neil deGrasse Tyson would gladly attest to this assertion.

I take Romney’s decision to ease off the climate change subject as a figurative punch in the face to climate scientists everywhere, who are trying to provide us with information on a subject that they believe should not be taken lightly. How can you argue with science? I can’t, but Romney’s figured out a way.

I find it upsetting that Romney doesn’t take the fate of our planet seriously, doesn’t take science seriously and is probably not the type of guy who would “share” a picture on Facebook of a lonely polar bear standing on a tiny floating ice cap in the middle of the sea. If the decision was solely up to me, I would choose a man with faith in science to lead our country.

Jillian Correira is a Collegian columnist. She can be reached at [email protected].



7 Responses to “Mitt Romney and the rising seas”

  1. Lemon on September 28th, 2012 8:51 am

    This article shoots itself in the foot and loses its credibility in the first para with the polar bear picture story:
    1. It was used by Al Gore without respect to attribution and the copyright.
    2. The bear was only a couple of hundred yards off shore, not at risk. They commonly swim a hundred miles between ice flows and are known to have swum several hundreds.
    3. The polar bears are not at risk – the population is the highest its ever been in almost all areas of population.
    If the failure of research on this item is indicative of that done overall, then the story should be reviewed, corrected or withdrawn.


  2. Caitlin on September 28th, 2012 12:32 pm

    The author used the polar bear commercial imagery to emphasize the fact that global warming is a highly publicized and well known issue. Whether or not the polar bear was in real danger, if the image was used without copy right, or if the polar bear population isn’t at risk (which is false by the way. The polar bear population is classified as threatended under the endangered species act) that isn’t the point. It was merely used as imagery to convey a point. The point being that almost everybody who has seen that image knows about climate change and about it’s potentially devastating effects. If you throw an entire editorial piece out over onetime stylistic point, you have failed to comprehend the article that you are reading.


  3. Dr. Ed Cutting on September 28th, 2012 1:44 pm

    Rocks are actually elastic when your timespan considers centuries to be mere minutes, and with the weight of the glaciers now removed from where they were last (upstate NY), that bedrock is starting to come back up a little bit which is causing the coastline to go down a bit. So how exactly do you measure sea level? From what benchmark?

    And you know what causes earthquakes, right? You do know that almost all of Africa is over 1000 feet above sea level and why, right? All the land masses are moving and shifting and that includes going up & down — so again, what benchmark do you measure sea level from?

    Or do you really care? I am old enough to remember when it was “global cooling” that we were terrified of, and how all human life on this planet would cease to exist by 1990 (and that was 22 years ago and were still here…). Admit it — this is all about trying to control other people’s lives, nothing more or less, you just want to tell me what I can and can’t do….


  4. Dr. Ed Cutting on September 28th, 2012 1:48 pm

    0h, and as Lemon points out, Polar Bears can swim.

    They also like to eat, and if you are looking for a tasty seal or fish swimming IN THE WATER, would you or would you not want to be looking where you might find one, i.e. IN THE WATER and hence NEAR THE WATER and hence wouldn’t this be the ideal place to go fishing if you were looking to catch something swimming in the water?


  5. Fred on September 28th, 2012 3:44 pm

    Romney is 100% right on not giving it the attention that the author apparently craves. This planet is not in any danger, is in better shape than at any time during the past 500 years and will survive mankind by many billions of years.
    All that alarmism is based on shaky “budy-budy” science, fraudulent graphs, exaggerated emphasis on life giving trace gas CO2 and fables and nonsense spread by rent seekers.
    Humans are part of the environment as well. They need education, a roof over their head, jobs and what not, and so: Do your job and research the issue seriously, rather than lazily parroting the party line.


  6. Caitlin on September 28th, 2012 6:27 pm

    Dr. Cutting,
    While your comments about the reliability of ocean level measurements were certainly enlightening, your polar bear comments do confuse me. Yes, polar bears swim. Very astute, sir. However, they are not capable of swimming constantly, like fish or marine mammals. When the polar ice caps shrink, which they are and we do not measure this by looking at ocean levels but rather at the rapidly shrinking area of the ice caps themselves, polar bears lose vital chunks of their habitat. This habitat must include both land and water. If polar bears were to survive this situation with the diminishing ice caps, they would have to evolve rapidly, which is impossible.


  7. Jodustine on September 29th, 2012 12:33 am

    @Fred this Earth will not be around for billions of years. It will be destroyed within the next century or so. Pick up a Bible!


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