Obama in convention hall
Obama calls on Americans to be citizens. (Photo by NewsHour.)

I was only half-surprised that Obama mentioned climate change in his convention speech — Romney teed him up for it — but I was pleasantly surprised at how sharp and unequivocal he was. He did something he rarely does: called out and shamed Republicans for their unconcern. It was a banner night for us climatespotters. Do I think it signals any big shift in administration climate strategy or policy? Not really. But I hope it’s at least the beginning of a more frank, mature public conversation.

As for the energy portions of the speech, they were not surprising at all. He’s said it all before, many times, on the trail: all of the above, blah blah. If there was anything that struck me about his tone it’s that he rushed past the “we’ve drilled tons of oil!” part and leaned on the next bit: “I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.” As with the rest of his speech, he seemed to be drawing the sharpest possible contrast with Romney (“two fundamentally different visions for the future”). That can really work on energy, which is a wedge issue that breaks his way, so I wish he’d do it more often.