“This is not how you behave in an emergency,” Greenpeace USA Climate Campaign Director Janet Redman said in a statement. “Despite the candidates’ acknowledgement of the existential threat that climate change represents to humanity, we heard next to nothing over two days about how they would actually address this monumental challenge.” DNC Chair Tom Perez has declared that the party does not want to host an event centered on the issue and that candidates who create their own climate debates would be barred from other DNC debates. (A climate change “forum” or a “town hall” would be allowed.) His argument is that a climate change debate would show unnecessary prejudice toward the issue and end up favoring the candidates like Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who has built his entire campaign around climate. “If we change our guidelines at the request of one candidate who has made climate change their campaign’s signature issue, how do we say no to the numerous other requests we’ve had?” wrote Perez on Medium earlier this month.
The production and use of renewable fuels has grown more quickly in recent years as a result of higher
However, the debates ended up revealing several reasons why holding a separate climate debate makes sense:
1) Many candidates have thoughtful ideas about climate change and want to present themWith more than two dozen Democrats running for the White House, it’s hard to tell them apart. This is especially true on climate change, a complex problem that needs sophisticated, thoughtful solutions. We got a hint of what some of the candidates would do, and how they differ, during the debates. But despite having published several long, thorough policy proposals on fighting climate change , Inslee barely had more than a couple minutes to discuss his ideas.
On Thursday, we learned about how California Sen. Kamala Harris ’s visits to communities affected by wildfires exacerbated by climate change in her home state drove her to support the Green New Deal . It would have been nice to more from her on how she intends to both reduce emissions and mitigate the impacts of global warming. South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg said he wants to use the money raised from a carbon tax and distribute it back to people as a progressive dividend, an idea to address economic inequality and reduce emissions.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders frankly talked about how advancing an adequate climate agenda would require a political upheaval generated by millions of voters focused on averting dangerous levels of warming.
More than 150 years ago, wood supplied up to 90 percent of the nation’s energy needs.
This is an issue where many of the candidates have a wealth of interesting proposals that could be parsed in greater depth — and debated. Yet in a standard debate format, where upwards of six issues must be discussed, the candidates will never have an opportunity to do it.
2) The moderators’ climate questions were insufficient and, at times, muddled
The Democratic debates also revealed that the moderators had allotted only a narrow window to ask about climate. And some of those precious opportunities to ask questions were squandered.On Wednesday, moderator Rachel Maddow posed an awkward question of whether a candidate’s plan would “save Miami.” But it’s a question that almost impossible to answer given that the city that’s already regularly battered by extreme weather and faces frequent flooding from rising seas. Significant damage from climate change has already been done, much more is still to come, and most of it is irreversible. In Miami, it’s now a race to adapt or retreat.
Moderator Chuck Todd turned a question about climate change policy into one about winning over people opposed to big government. Todd also started to pose an interesting question about whether the government should continue to rebuild homes damaged in climate-related disasters, but it came out muddled, and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro barely had time to answer:
In 1921 Albert Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of the photoelectric effect – and hence, solar panels.
Thirty seconds, Secretary Castro, does -- who pays for the mitigation to -- to climate, whether it’s building sea walls, for people that are perhaps living in places that they shouldn’t be living? Is this a federal government issue that needs to do that? Do they have to move these people? What do you do about that, where maybe they’re building a place someplace that isn’t safe? Who pays to build that house? And how much should the government be bailing them out?
There was also at times a stark contract in how the moderators handled climate compared to other issues, like how they parsed all the fine distinctions among the candidates in Medicare-for-all and the role of private insurance.
There's a marked difference in the fluidity of the way moderators and candidates talk about climate change versus how they talk about other issues https://t.co/bjZdlYzybU— Justin Worland (@JustinWorland)
3) There’s a public appetite for a climate change debateSo far, 15 Democratic candidates have said that they support holding a climate change debate, including frontrunners like Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.
Outside the DNC headquarters in Washington, DC, activists from the Sunrise Movement have been calling for a climate change debate for nearly three days. Democratic primary voters routinely rank climate change among their top concerns. Clearly, huge parts of the Democratic base are energized and mobilized around the issue.
Tech Corporations Are Fighting To Be Leaders In Green Energy. From Apple and Facebook to Google and Microsoft, big technology firms are in a race to help build a green internet. This means a commitment to powering the company’s initiatives and business operations through green energy. In the latest 2017 report, global brands like Google, Apple and Facebook were graded A in the clean energy index.
On our 3rd day outside the @DNC in 90+ weather, folks are getting hot and tired. But what’s pulling us through is all your support!!If you agree that last night’s debate did NOT cover the climate crisis like we needed, chip in to keep up the pressure: https://t.co/yO3he3aSoK pic.twitter.com/dUWiwQhEn5— Sunrise Movement (@sunrisemvmt)
But climate change rarely receives a substantive prime-time policy discussion, so voters don’t often hear about it on television. A debate asking presidential hopefuls to walk through how they plan to cope with a warming world would be a public service and help educate voters who may not realize just how much a warming world will impact agriculture, the economy, health, and national security.