The earlier debates devoted more time to energy than Monday’s installment. Many greens thought last week’s debate featured the greatest chance to incorporate climate change, as Obama and Romney competed over who would be friendlier to coal, gas and oil production in the United States.
Romney has said humans contribute to climate change, but is not sure of the extent. He said taking “unilateral” action to curb climate change could undercut U.S. economic competitiveness.
But environmental groups have criticized Romney’s fossil fuel-heavy energy plan and his pledges to roll back air pollution regulations.
Some activists lamented the lost opportunity to hear the candidates’ views on climate change.
"For the first time since 1984, the presidential and vice presidential debates have ignored the threat of climate change. President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaFor Trump, foreign policy should begin and end with China Harvard spat between Clinton, Trump camps proves Dems can't accept Trump's improving Wrestling mogul McMahon could slam her way into Trump administration MORE, Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenObama promotes bipartisan cures bill Democrats miss warning signs, even in blue Maryland Biden to sit down with Colbert next week MORE, Governor Mitt Romney, and Representative Paul RyanPaul RyanJuan Williams: McConnell won big by blocking Obama Republicans want to grease tracks for Trump This week: Government funding deadline looms MORE have failed to debate the greatest challenge of our time. Climate change threatens us all: the candidates' silence threatens to seal our fate,” Brad Johnson, campaign manager of Forecast the Facts, said in a statement.
But others said Obama’s record shows he is more committed to tackling climate change than Romney, pointing to air pollution and vehicle fuel efficiency standards initiated under Obama’s watch.
“Climate change deserved a proper airing during the debates. At the end of the day, though, actions speak louder than words. And there’s no doubt which candidate will take strong, decisive actions to combat this urgent, global problem. He already has. And that’s President Obama,” Frances Beinecke, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund, said in a statement.