Tell the Democratic National Committee: Hold a climate debate
The next president of the United States must be prepared to take bolder, faster climate action than any leader has before. After four years of Trump, there will be no more time to waste.
But the media is still ignoring the issue, giving cover to politicians – corrupt Republicans and cowardly Democrats alike – who refuse to take action. In 2018, climate coverage on broadcast networks plunged 45% from 2017, despite a year of extreme weather and record climate disasters around the world.1
We need Democrats to step up and put climate change on the national political stage. One powerful way to do that is to host a presidential primary debate dedicated to the issue. Holding a climate-centered debate would highlight the climate crisis at a time when more people than ever are tuned in to national politics – and force candidates to be explicit about their commitments to meet the scale of the crisis.
Tell the DNC: Make climate change a priority in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. Hold a climate-focused debate.
Every region of the United States is already experiencing the destructive effects of climate change. From record flooding to unprecedented wildfires to extreme weather, climate change is here today. Scientists tell us we have little more than a decade to prevent the most catastrophic climate scenarios.2
The DNC has an opportunity to help make sure we effectively respond. A climate-focused debate would ensure that climate change is a major part of the 2020 presidential conversation. It would highlight the Republican Party's consistent refusal to even acknowledge the crisis. And it would give voters a chance to deeply assess the Democratic candidates' vision and commitments in order to make informed choices in the primaries.
Voters deserve to know:
- Which candidates commit to acting on climate change as a "Day One" priority when in office.
- Whether presidential candidates support the Green New Deal or can offer their own climate plan that also meets the scale of the crisis.
- Candidates' plans for a managed phase-out of fossil fuel production and end to the expansion of fossil fuel extraction.
- How candidates would protect frontline communities and ensure a transition for workers that leaves no one behind.
- How candidates would help communities adapt to the climate impacts already happening.
- Whether candidates believe that fossil fuel companies should pay their fair share of climate costs and how they will make sure it happens.
The first two Democratic debates are happening this summer in two cities with deep ties to the crisis. Miami, Florida is one of the world's most vulnerable cities with respect to sea level rise and Detroit, Michigan, the former center of the global automotive industry, has long struggled with the challenges of deindustrializiation. Either would provide a powerful backdrop for a rigorous debate on this complex crisis.
Sixty-two percent of voters believe that the federal government should do more to address climate change.3 Yet the media and political parties are not keeping up. Unless the DNC prioritizes the issue, we know that news networks and other debate host organizations won't ask more than one or two token debate questions on climate change. We have to demand they lead now.
Tell the DNC: Hold a climate-focused debate.
- Lisa Hymas, "The Green New Deal is pushing climate change into the mainstream media," Grist, April 3, 2019.
- Jonathan Watts, "We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN," The Guardian, Oct. 8, 2018.
- Jennifer Marlon et al., "Yale Climate Opinion Maps 2018," Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, Aug. 7, 2018.