One of the unfortunate consequences of Iowa and New Hampshire getting so much snow this December is that it has really muted the discussion of global warming. I’ve now been to enough campaign events to realize that the weather definitely affects political discourse. On a hot summer day, just about every presidential stump speech – and I’m referring here to the speeches of Clinton, Obama, Edwards and McCain – referred at least once to the prospect of global warming. However, when the outside world is coated in a thick slick of ice, I’ve found that presidential candidates tend to steer away from such direct references to hotter climes, and instead talk about rising gas prices and our dependence on foreign oil.
Obviously, a cold winter month, or even a cold winter season, is completely irrelevant to the larger scientific consensus on global warming. A climate is not weather. But I think it’s interesting, and perhaps a little sad, that this urgent discussion about the future of earth can only take place when it’s not snowing outside.