Will 2020 Dems Debate Climate Change?

The Democratic field continues to grow, making it hard for any of the candidates to distinguish him/herself.  One — Governor Jay Inslee — has based his entire campaign on dealing with the climate crisis.  Last week, he began to argue that the issue is so important that the Democratic candidates should dedicate an entire primary debate to the topic, and he launched a petition to pressure the Democratic National Committee to organize one.  Yesterday he made a full-throated argument in favor of it, and so far Senator Kristen Gillibrand and Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro said that they agree.

  • Inslee said in a statement, “This can’t be a one-off question where candidates get to give a soundbite and move on….Climate change is at the heart of every issue that matters to voters, and voters deserve to hear what 2020 presidential candidates plan to do about it.”
  • The Democratic National Committee, through a spokeswoman, said, “Democrats are eager to put forward their solutions to combat climate change, and we will absolutely have these discussions during the 2020 primary process.”
  • Huffington Post (citing a story that appeared in Grist in 2016) noted that the candidates discussed the topics of the environment AND climate change for just five minutes and 27 seconds during all the presidential debates in 2016.
  • And that was a relatively good amount of time.  In 2012, climate change and environment issues were never discussed in any of the Presidential debates.  On the other hand, in 2000, Vice President Al Gore and George W. Bush spent discussed climate and environment for more than 14 minutes over the course of three debates.

Inslee’s basic premise is “Climate change is at the heart of every issue that matters to voters, and voters deserve to hear what 2020 presidential candidates plan to do about it.”   And while the candidates have different views on the issue, all of them have outlined their views on climate change and it is a topic that comes up frequently on the campaign trail.

Why This Matters: It seems hard to imagine that climate change won’t get some air time in the 2020 primary debates of the Democratic candidates, particularly since this is an issue on which Democratic candidates and the President have a huge disagreement. But since the Democrats are in agreement, it may be that this issue will not get much time, particularly since it is hard to get the mainstream media to cover climate change and environmental issues and the journalists who moderate get to choose the questions.  So a dedicated debate might be the best way to be sure an issue of this much importance is fully discussed.  And as was pointed out yesterday in an op/ed in The Hill, the President’s favorite issue — immigration from Central America and the crisis at our southern border — is inextricably linked to climate change and the Democratic hopefuls should all begin to hammer this point home in preparation for the eventual general election.

What You Can Do:  No matter which candidate you support, you can ensure that climate change issues get a full hearing in the debates if you sign the Inslee petition.  You can do that here.

ICYMI: Here is the President’s Earth Day Message, which makes no mention of climate change (not surprising) and but does “reaffirm our responsibility to protect God’s wondrous creation for future generations.”

Up Next

Advocates Urge Texas Land Commissioner to Reroute Hurricane Harvey Relief

Advocates Urge Texas Land Commissioner to Reroute Hurricane Harvey Relief

by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer More than three years after Hurricane Harvey, officials are still clashing over how to disperse aid. In the first $1 billion round of support, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush made some questionable calculations, leaving the hardest-hit communities in its most populous city without a penny in federal aid according to the […]

Continue Reading 601 words

Climate Protesters Held Marches All Over France on Sunday

It’s spring in Paris, they are still struggling with COVID, and yet thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Paris and numerous other French cities to protest climate change.  The French legislature is considering a law to impose tougher measures to combat climate change, but many believe the proposals are not sufficient and so they staged marches in Nancy, Toulouse, Rennes, Lyon, Grenoble, as seen in social media posts.

Why This Matters:  Because of the Paris Agreement, France is associated with climate change progress.

Continue Reading 424 words
California to Nestlé: Stop Draining Our Water

California to Nestlé: Stop Draining Our Water

As California’s drought conditions are worsening, Nestle is pumping millions of gallons of water from the San Bernardino forest. State water officials have drafted a cease-and-desist order to force the company to stop overpumping from Strawberry Creek, which provides drinking water for about 750,000 people. 

Why This Matters: It’s not the first time other states have also tried to reign in Nestle for its water grabs.

Continue Reading 377 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.