WASHINGTON — The White House hopeful of the Green Party on Monday accused President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney of failing to address climate change as Hurricane Sandy battered the East Coast.
"The Republicans and Democrats each talk about the election of the other party as the end of the world; maybe they're right," the Green candidate, physician Jill Stein, said in a statement.
"Hurricane Sandy is not the first warning we've had; let's not let there be another such warning before we act decisively to move to a new green economy," she said.
The planet has registered a series of record temperatures over the past decade, with 2012 looking set to be the latest hottest year in recorded US history. Scientists have warned that climate change will cause an intensification of storms, along with droughts and floods.
Obama pledged ahead of the 2009 Copenhagen climate summit that the United States would curb carbon emissions blamed for rising temperatures by 17 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels. But a proposal he supported to mandate emission cuts failed in the US Senate amid staunch opposition from Republican lawmakers.
Romney has questioned whether human activity is causing climate change and vowed if elected to strip federal regulators of the right to limit emissions from coal plants, a leading source of carbon pollution.
Stein, who along with Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson is polling in single digits and was not included in the three debates between Romney and Obama, criticized the moderators for not raising climate change.
She accused Romney of "parroting industry lines" on climate change and also denounced Obama's "all-of-the-above" energy policy, which includes support for coal and increased domestic production of oil and gas.
Obama, in an interview Friday with youth-oriented network MTV, said he was surprised that climate change did not come up in the debates as there was a "huge contrast" between him and Romney.
Obama voiced confidence that efforts of his administration -- especially greater fuel efficiency standards for vehicles and higher production of clean energy -- would help the United States meet its goals on emission cuts.
But, the president said: "We're not moving as fast as we need to. And this is an issue that future generations -- MTV viewers -- are going to have to be dealing with even more than the older generation is."