Later today, we will be treated (if that’s the word) to the first presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, on the topic of domestic policy. What can climate hawks expect?

In a word, little.

I feel pretty confident that moderator Jim Lehrer will not ask a question directly and specifically about climate change, despite environmentalists’ petitions. In fact I’d wager on it. (I hope to be pleasantly surprised!)

If climate is mentioned at all, I expect it will be muddled in with a policy question about energy. Remember, neither candidate particularly wants to talk about climate, so even if climate isn’t muddled with energy in the question, they’ll muddle it themselves. Romney will mumble something about how he’s not a scientist and then attack cap-and-trade. Obama will briefly acknowledge that climate change is real and then talk about fuel-economy standards.