Let's make this simple: six months into a Romney presidency, the responsible governments of the world will have turned their attention from preventing global warming to mitigating the damage.
That's because a Romney administration is likely to prevent any attempts at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as the world barrels past the point of no return.
"We need to make real changes by 2020 to stave off the worst of the consequences," Alt says. That would be the last year of a two-term Romney presidency.
Not only would serious legislation or international agreements be impossible, Romney would likely undo what Obama has begun. Newly finalized clean-car regulations, "the single biggest step we've taken," according to Alt, could be reversed by the next administration. New carbon-pollution standards could never be finalized.
Beyond the big threat of climate change, Romney has made clear that natural resources exist to be used up as quickly as possible.
He wants to let developers loose on public lands — or cede federal lands to states, many of which will sell their exploitation to the highest bidders.
And he will undoubtedly slash the effectiveness of the Environmental Protection Agency and other oversight offices.
"If there isn't an environmental cop on the beat, our air isn't as clean, our water isn't as clean, and our lives aren't as healthy," Alt says.