Obama campaign defends debate silence on climate change

Environmentalists have pushed both Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney to address climate change in the debates, saying the summer's drought, record temperatures, wildfires and storms make it a salient issue.

Many thought the president had that chance during an exchange on energy during Tuesday's debate at Hofstra University in New York state.

Some environmentalists expressed disappointment that Obama touted his record on drilling and coal while failing to mention the effect expanded fossil fuel production would have on climate change.

Others, however, said Obama’s record on climate change, as well as various stump speeches, show his commitment to tackling the issue. They cited air pollution rules and fuel efficiency standards rolled out during Obama’s term, along with the president’s consistent backing of clean energy.

Fetcher said the differences between Obama and Romney on energy should indicate which candidate is more devoted to mitigating the effects of climate change.

“While Mitt Romney questioned the science behind climate change and mocked it in his convention speech, President Obama will continue to make the case for cleaner American sources of energy that will create jobs and fight climate change,” Fetcher said.

Romney has said humans contribute to climate change but has called for more studies to determine the level of that impact. He has said “unilateral” U.S. actions to curb climate change could undercut the nation’s economic competitiveness.

CNN’s Candy Crowley, who moderated Tuesday’s debate, said she ran out of time before she could ask a prepared question on climate change.