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Climate Change All But Ignored Again at Presidential Debate

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Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump met in St. Louis last night for the 2nd Presidential Debate moderated by Anderson Cooper of CNN and Martha Raddatz of ABC. It wasn't until the bitter end that the issue of energy and climate change came into the discussion when Town Hall participant Ken Bone asked:

"What steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly and minimizing job loss for fossil power plant workers?"

Trump responded:

"Absolutely. I think it's such a great question, because energy is under siege by the Obama administration. Under absolute siege. The EPA—the Environmental Protection Agency—is killing these energy companies. And foreign companies are now coming in, buying so many of our different plants and then rejiggering the plant so they can take care of their oil. We are killing, absolutely killing our energy business in this country."

Thanks to NPR's Scott Horsley, we find Trump's response skewed. Horsley noted, while fact checking Trump's response:

Domestic oil and gas production have increased steadily during President Obama's time in office. The U.S. has been the world's leading producer of natural gas since 2011 and the top producer of oil since 2013.

The Energy Information Administration says gasoline prices averaged $2.25 a gallon last week—about seven cents a gallon cheaper than a year ago, and about 20 cents a gallon less than Obama's first year in office.

Clinton's initial response to Bone's question, "We are, however, producing a lot of natural gas which serves as a bridge to more renewable fuels. And I think that's an important transition," took a hard hit on Twitter:

However, Clinton followed her bridge fuel remarks saying she has "a comprehensive energy policy but it really does include fighting climate change because I think that is a serious problem" and that she supports "moving to more clean and renewable energy as quickly as we can. Because I think we can be the 21st century clean energy superpower and create millions of new jobs and businesses."

Sierra Club's Executive Director Michael Brune praised Clinton for her plans. "With each answer tonight, Hillary Clinton showed that she has thought about the challenges facing our country, developed solutions to address them and—as even Donald Trump admitted—she'll never give up fighting for the American people," Brune said.

"By contrast, there is a reason people are fleeing from Donald Trump in droves. Neither his temperament nor his ideas are a match for what the country needs."

Greenpeace USA's Executive Director Annie Leonard showed disappointment at the lack of conversation on climate change during last night's debate.

"In addition to more targeted insults to women, communities of color and immigrants on a regular basis, Donald Trump also insults the entire human race on a daily basis with his aggressive denial and inaction regarding climate change," Leonard said.

"The candidates spent very little time talking about climate change during tonight's debate but it is on the minds of so many Americans, especially as Hurricane Matthew continues to take a heavy toll here and in Haiti," Leonard continued. "Climate change demands the attention of both candidates and their parties, and it is shameful that it was given so little."

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