Climate change absent from first debate

Global warming was frozen out of the first debate between President Obama and GOP rival Mitt Romney Wednesday night.

Green groups, including the League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club, had delivered what activists said was more than 160,000 signatures on a petition urging moderator Jim Lehrer to ask about the topic during the match-up in Denver.

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But he didn’t. And while Obama and Romney traded punches on energy policy, neither mentioned climate change or carbon emissions.

“Millions of Americans felt the impacts from climate change this year, so it's disappointing it wasn't discussed. Sadly, warming is a global issue too, so hopefully it will come up in the next debate focused on international policy,” said Jamie Henn, co-founder of the climate advocacy group 350.org.

Green energy did come up as Obama defended investments in renewable sources alongside voicing support for oil and natural-gas production.


“I also believe that we've got to look at the energy sources of the future, like wind and solar and biofuels, and make those investments,” Obama said.

Romney said he likes green energy, too.

But he cast the scope of White House financial support as excessive, and took aim at the failure of the solar company Solyndra and the woes of some other federally backed companies.

“I had a friend who said you don’t just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers,” Romney said.