Environmentalists Looking for Climate to Be a Priority in Democratic Debate

Environmentalists are urging debate moderators and candidates to make climate and energy issues a priority in tonight’s debate. While climate and energy related issues have made headlines over the past few months, with record breaking extreme weather events and disasters like the Porter Ranch methane leak making headlines, debate moderators have all but ignored the issue. According to a report from Media Matters, moderators have asked more than ten times as many non-substantive questions, many about the trivial horserace of the election, than they have about climate change. Even when debate moderators did ask about climate change, the framing was often inaccurate or dismissive. A serious debate about climate and energy issues could reveal important distinctions between the three Democratic candidates for President. On Friday, President Obama announced a new moratorium on all new coal leases on public lands, spelling the end of the coal mining in the United States. Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley have already called for a full ban on fossil fuel extraction on public lands. Clinton has yet to take a firm public position, and some activists worry that the candidate’s positions may be influenced by her connections to the fossil fuel industry. ….


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