Quantcast

Bernie Sanders: The Environment Deserves a Debate

Climate

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is speaking out against the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) decision to hold only four general primary debates before the nomination, saying there needs to be room for specific topics, such as the environment.

In an interview with CNN's State of the Union (H/T ThinkProgress) on Sunday, Sanders explained, “I think environmentalists deserve a debate so we could talk about how we move aggressively to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel.”

The Vermont senator, who is catching up to Hillary Clinton in Iowa a new Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register poll shows, also went against his party's leadership and called for as many debates as possible.

“I think that that is dead wrong and I have let the leadership of the Democrats know that,” Sanders told CNN's Jake Tapper (as noted by The Nation). “I think this country benefits, all people benefit, democracy benefits when we have debates and I want to see more of them. I think that debates are a good thing.”

Sanders' words come after fellow Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley called the DNC's decision to limit the number of primary debates "undemocratic" and "rigged" to aid Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, since the low number of debates makes it more difficult for him and other candidates to win the nomination.

“Four debates and only four debates—we are told, not asked—before voters in our earliest states make their decision,” the former Maryland governor said at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Summer Meeting last week. “This sort of rigged process has never been attempted before. One debate in Iowa. That’s it. One debate in New Hampshire. That’s all we can afford.”

Sanders reportedly said he agreed with O’Malley on this position, but clarified on CNN, "I think 'rigged' is a strong word," and added, "I would like to see more debates."

Sheril Kirshenbaum, executive director of ScienceDebate, told ThinkProgress that she thinks voters should know where presidential candidates stand on a variety of science-related issues such as climate change, health and energy.

“People talk about these issues as if they’re just science issues and they’re really just human challenges,” she said. “No matter if you’re a Republican or a Democrat, they’re going to affect you and your family.”

As Evan McMurry wrote for AlterNet, Sanders is recognized for his glowing record on climate change, and even if he does not win the nomination, he can influence the debate, in part by framing climate change as a primary issue.

Also during his interview with CNN, Sanders further expressed the urgency to address the planet's climate crisis and the necessity to shift away from dirty energy.

“I believe, along with Pope Francis and almost all scientists, that climate change is threatening this planet in horrendous ways, and that we have to be aggressive in transforming our energy system away from fossil fuel and defeat the Keystone pipeline," he said. For emphasis, Sanders (once again) called out the former Secretary of State's noted silence on the controversial Keystone XL.

At a press conference in July, the Vermont senator said, “I have helped lead the opposition against the Keystone pipeline. I don’t believe we should be excavating or transporting some of the dirtiest fuel on this planet. I think Secretary Clinton has not been clear on her views on that issue.”

Watch Sanders' entire State of the Union interview here.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

White House Fires Back at Charles Koch

Another Poll Shows Bernie Beating Hillary

Charles Koch Blasts President Obama for Comments Made at Climate Speech

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Rio San Antonio, in the headwaters basin of the Rio Grande in New Mexico, will lose federal protections under a new rule. Bob Wick / BLM California

By Tara Lohan

The Santa Fe River starts high in the forests of New Mexico's Sangre de Cristo mountains and flows 46 miles to the Rio Grande. Along the way it plays important roles for wildlife, irrigation, recreation and other cultural uses, and provides 40 percent of the water supply for the city of Santa Fe's 85,000 residents.

Read More
Climate activists protest Chase Bank's continued funding of the fossil fuel industry on May 16, 2019 by setting up a tripod-blockade in midtown Manhattan, clogging traffic for over an hour. Michael Nigro / Pacific Press / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

Climate campaigners on Friday expressed hope that policymakers who are stalling on taking decisive climate action would reconsider their stance in light of new warnings from an unlikely source: two economists at J.P. Morgan Chase.

Read More
Sponsored
Protesters holding signs in solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en Nation outside the Canadian Consulate in NYC. The Indigenous Peoples Day NYC Committee (IPDNYC), a coalition of 13 Indigenous Peoples and indigenous-led organizations gathered outside the Canadian Consulate and Permanent Mission to the UN to support the Wet'suwet'en Nation in their opposition to a Coastal GasLink pipeline scheduled to enter their traditional territory in British Columbia, Canada. Erik McGregor / LightRocket / Getty Images

Tensions are continuing to rise in Canada over a controversial pipeline project as protesters enter their 12th day blockading railways, demonstrating on streets and highways, and paralyzing the nation's rail system

Read More
padnpen / iStock / Getty Images

Yet another reason to avoid the typical western diet: eating high-fat, highly processed junk food filled with added sugars can impair brain function and lead to overeating in just one week.

Read More
Horseshoe Bend (seen above) is a horseshoe-shaped meander of the Colorado River in Page, Arizona. didier.camus / Flickr / public domain

Millions of people rely on the Colorado River, but the climate crisis is causing the river to dry up, putting many at risk of "severe water shortages," according to new research, as The Guardian reported.

Read More