Both men sought to claim a pro-oil and pro-coal mantle during the debate at Hofstra University in New York State.
Obama, facing attacks from Romney, repeatedly expressed support for fossil fuels, while arguing that the GOP nominee's proposals would short-change renewable energy and efficiency.
“Both candidates vied to restate their commitment to more dirty oil, gas and coal production while ignoring the contradiction between an ‘all of the above’ energy program and reducing emissions of climate disrupting gases,” said Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth Action, in a statement.
Candy Crowley of CNN, the debate moderator, indicated afterward that she had a climate change question ready but was unable to get to it. Much of the debate time was taken up by the candidates interrupting each other, as well as Crowley.
The liberal Chris Hayes of MSNBC, during the network’s post-debate analysis, likened the climate-free energy portion to discussing smoking without discussing cancer.