Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton tells it. (Photo by Jason Reed / Reuters.)

In a barn burner of a speech Wednesday night, Bill Clinton became the first big-timer at the Democratic convention to make reference to climate change.

Here’s what he said on global warming and energy, at least according to a transcript distributed ahead of time. (Clinton did a whole lot of ad-libbing — his prepared remarks amounted to 3,136 words, while his delivered remarks added up to a whopping 5,895 — but he pretty much stuck to the book on this part.)

The agreement the [Obama] administration made with management, labor and environmental groups to double car mileage over the next few years is [a] good deal: it will cut your gas bill in half, make us more energy independent, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and add another 500,000 good jobs.

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President Obama’s “all of the above” energy plan is helping too — the boom in oil and gas production combined with greater energy efficiency has driven oil imports to a near-20-year low and natural-gas production to an all-time high.  Renewable energy production has also doubled.

Clinton also whacked the Romney/Ryan budget as bogus and unfair, warning that it would likely chop funding for environmental protection, among many other things. And he delivered some killer lines along the way:

People ask me all the time how we delivered four surplus budgets. What new ideas did we bring? I always give a one-word answer: arithmetic. If [Romney and Ryan] stay with a $5 trillion tax cut in a debt-reduction plan, the arithmetic tells us that one of three things will happen: 1) they’ll have to eliminate so many deductions like the ones for home mortgages and charitable giving that middle-class families will see their tax bill go up $2,000 a year while people making over $3 million a year get will still get a $250,000 tax cut; or 2) they’ll have to cut so much spending that they’ll obliterate the budget for our national parks, for ensuring clean air, clean water, safe food, safe air travel; or they’ll cut way back on Pell Grants, college loans, early childhood education and other programs that help middle-class families and poor children, not to mention cutting investments in roads, bridges, science, technology and medical research; or 3) they’ll do what they’ve been doing for 30-plus years now — cut taxes more than they cut spending, explode the debt, and weaken the economy. Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can’t afford to double-down on trickle-down.

Earlier in the day, convention organizers showed this video touting Obama’s “all-of-the-above” energy plan. It does indeed give a shout-out to just about every form of energy, from really clean to really dirty.

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Narrator: “What will it take for America to increase our energy independence? More domestic oil and natural-gas exploration. More solar and wind farms. More geothermal energy development. And helping coal burn cleaner than before.”

That video was followed by a brief speech from Tom Steyer, clean-energy entrepreneur and cofounder of Advanced Energy Economy, in which he echoed the party line on all-of-the-above and then made reference to the threat of climate change:

Even as we’ve tightened our belts elsewhere, America has made record investments in clean energy technologies from wind to solar to biofuels. We’re modernizing our electrical grid to harness more renewable power sources. We’re doubling fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks. And domestic production of natural gas is at an all-time high — natural gas, which, if developed safely and responsibly, could help bridge our energy present to our energy future.

[L]et’s embrace a vision of a clean, healthy planet — the one God gave us — and not a scorched earth that can’t sustain future generations.

But no acknowledgement from the Big Dog or the small that an all-of-the-above approach isn’t actually an effective way to stave off global warming. Americans love all-of-the-above, so this election year, politicians and their surrogates are favoring it over serious climate action.