Dozens of House Democrats are calling for the climate crisis to be a central focus of the upcoming presidential and vice presidential debates.
In a letter Wednesday to the Commission on Presidential Debates, 70 lawmakers stressed that their constituents must hear from the candidates about how they plan to tackle “one of the most pressing and all-consuming issues currently facing our country.”
The demand comes on the heels of record-setting wildfires in California, an extremely active Atlantic hurricane season and brutal August heat throughout much of the West. And a new survey of NASA satellite data shows that climate change has increased the volume of glacial lakes worldwide by about 50 percent since 1990.
Even a single question on climate change at the upcoming debates would be an improvement over 2016, when presidential debate moderators did not once bring up the rapidly worsening global crisis.
“This cannot happen again,” reads the letter, spearheaded by Rep. Mike Levin of California. “Given the dire nature of the crisis, we ask that you break precedent and publicly call on the moderators to include climate in the topics that will be addressed during the debates.”
President Donald Trump has spent his first term dismissing and downplaying the climate threat. His administration has rolled back at least 100 environmental rules, including many that aimed at reining in planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, in its relentless quest for so-called “energy dominance.” But with the election around the corner, Trump has tried to greenwash his abysmal record.
The Commission on Presidential Debates on Wednesday announced its lineup of moderators for the upcoming presidential and vice presidential debates. Fox News’ Chris Wallace, one of the journalists who did not bring up climate change as moderator of the final 2016 presidential debate, will moderate the first 2020 presidential debate on Sept. 29.