An article in today’s New York Times discusses how the issue of climate change has been conspicuously absent from the recent US presidential debates and the candidates’ stump speeches.

ImageSpeaking of the president’s position, the article indicates that “after a bill died in the Senate in 2010, Mr. Obama abandoned his support for cap and trade, a market-based method to limit greenhouse gas emissions.”

It is clear that Obama supported cap-and-trade during his 2008 campaign and pushed for Congress to pass such legislation early in his term.  But it is also true that the issue also took back seat to other policy initiatives like health care and that key advisers like former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel actively discouraged elevating climate policy to the top of the president’s agenda.

But has he really “abandoned support” for cap and trade?

The idea is not mentioned on the White House energy website and does not appear in the 2011 “Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future.”  A search for “cap and trade” on his campaign website reveals “No Results.”

However, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is still touting cap and trade as a goal of the administration and earlier this year Obama acknowledged “cap and trade” as a position he supported.  Even without cap and trade the administration has still moved forward with increased fuel economy standards for cars and regulations on coal power plants and carbon emissions have, indeed, decreased during the course of his first term.

Nevertheless, the issue of climate change isn’t going away and how the candidates propose to address it need to be more clearly articulated.