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Is it just me or do others hear an ominous silence in the candidate camps about Global Warming?

It’s not that they don’t have positions. Some of them are sincere, and likely helpful.

John Edwards has, according to the League of Conservation Voters, “the most comprehensive global warming plan of any presidential candidate to date.”. There is good stuff in it.

* Capping greenhouse gas pollution starting in 2010 with a cap-and-trade system,
* Leading the world to a new climate treaty
* Creating a New Energy Economy Fund
* Meeting the demand for more electricity through efficiency

This and more is posted on his campaign site.

Barack Obama says climate change is “one of the greatest moral challenges of our generation.” and lists some bullet points:

* Reduce Carbon Emissions 80 Percent by 2050
* Invest in a Clean Energy Future
* Support Next Generation Biofuels
* Set America on Path to Oil Independence
* Improve Energy Efficiency 50 Percent by 2030
* Restore U.S. Leadership on Climate Change

Hillary Clinton, too.

* A new cap-and-trade program…
* An aggressive comprehensive energy efficiency agenda…
* A $50 billion Strategic Energy Fund …

And much more. More than her competitors.

So what’s got me worrying in the silence, about the silence? It is that all the policy papers and well thought out positions won’t do a bit of good stacked in boxes, posted on web-sites, carried in portfolios, tacked on to some available moment in a speech. What is ominous is that this “great moral issue” isn’t the first or at least second item in every speech. In fact it is barely mentioned. The newsies seldom ask and the candidates, with a million other things to talk about, don’t much talk about it.

No one talks about the effect climate, dressed up as weather, is going to have on millions and millions of us with the same passion as John Edwards talks about the economy and the middle class and the poor. Not even close.

Now I don’t want to deny the poor their moment or Edwards his passion. But that passion comes from experience, reflection and life lived. Is there no one who finds in his or her gut the passion to cry out about what is coming our way? Even the super-wealthy are going to be affected. The middle class and below have seen it –if they’re looking– in the mirror of New Orleans. And yet, nothing!

Perhaps it is that climate doesn’t have an interest group. There is a citizen silence even more ominous than the political silence. No sit ins to stop the green house gasses. No methane protest attacks on the Harris mega beef ranch in California, the pig factories in Utah, the chicken acres in Arkansas. No blimps floating over big cities with pro-solar messages. Not a single march of any size demanding life as we know it to continue.

Climate is a hard thing to get hold of. We don’t have body counts from weather damage like we do for wars. It’s hard to lock onto a single act of hubris and stupidity, like invading another country, to mobilize around. We are all contributing to climate change by participating in the most ordinary of daily life events.

But we better get onto it soon.

Bill McKibben, one of our favorite environmental writers, put the issue starkly in a recent NY Times opinion piece. Citing a speech by James Hansen, that drifted off into the caverns of inattention, McKibben says that 350 parts per million (ppm) of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere is the bottom line. It’s what is needed to live as our forbears have lived for tens of thousands of years. We are already at 383 ppm. The goal set to now has been 550 ppm! Seeing what has been happening in the last few years some have suggested 450 ppm was a safer target.

But the data just keep getting worse. The news this fall that Arctic sea ice was melting at an off-the-charts pace and data from Greenland suggesting that its giant ice sheet was starting to slide into the ocean make even 450 look too high. Consider: We’re already at 383 parts per million, and it’s knocking the planet off kilter in substantial ways.

Over at ClimateProgress, an arm of Center for American Progress, an unsigned a piece by Joseph Romm takes issue with McKibben and “possibly” Hansen, saying 450 ppm would be hard but doable, 350 ppm inconceivable (and, so KYAG –kiss your ass goodbye…)

So even if the possibly-not-enough will be possibly impossible to reach why aren’t citizen and their future oriented leaders screaming just a little louder, on a continuous basis?

How much has your own carbon footprint diminished in the last year? Does it disturb you that climate change isn’t a much greater part of the campaigns? Where do you sense action is happening?