Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Climate Crisis Gets 15 Minutes Total in First Two Nights of Dem Debates

Politics
Climate Crisis Gets 15 Minutes Total in First Two Nights of Dem Debates
The second half of Democratic primary candidates debate in Miami Thursday. PBS NewsHour / YouTube screenshot

The Green New Deal — the ambitious plan to transition the U.S. away from fossil fuels while providing green jobs and reducing inequality — got its first mention during the second night of the Democratic primary debates Thursday.


While 14 candidates have thrown their support behind the idea, according to 350 Action's 2020 Climate Test, California Senator Kamala Harris was the first to endorse it on the debate stage, The Atlantic reported.

When asked about her climate change plans, Harris corrected moderator Chuck Todd, saying the proper term was "climate crisis" because "it's an existential threat to us as a species."

"That's why I support a Green New Deal," she said. "It's why on day one as president, I will reenter us into the Paris agreement."

However, Atlantic writer Robinson Meyer noted that she offered no details on what a Green New Deal would look like before switching to a discussion of President Donald Trump's handling of North Korea.

"There's a marked difference in the fluidity of the way moderators and candidates talk about climate change versus how they talk about other issues," Time writer Justin Worland responded in a Tweet.

Overall, the second half of the Democratic debate was another disappointment for climate action advocates, who have called on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to hold a climate-focused debate. So far more than 200,000 people have signed a petition demanding such a debate, as HuffPost reported, but DNC Chair Tom Perez has refused.

The first debate on Wednesday, which saw half of the crowded primary field face off, only dedicated around seven minutes to the issue. The second half of candidates discussed it for around eight minutes Thursday, according to climate-focused candidate and Washington Governor Jay Inslee.

"Fifteen minutes in four hours. The DNC will not address the climate crisis with the urgency it requires. We must hold a climate debate. Now," he tweeted.

The climate-focused part of Thursday's debate also saw South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Vice President Joe Biden and former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper offer ideas.

Buttigieg promised a carbon price and emphasized the role that rural America could play by instituting carbon-trapping farming practices, HuffPost reported.

"This is not just happening in the Arctic ice caps. This is happening in the middle of our country," he said, according to The Washington Post.

Biden said that even if Congress would not back him, he would add 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations across the U.S. and earmark billions towards scientific research. He also emphasized his international experience as vice president, saying he would return the U.S. to the Paris agreement and encourage other countries to increase their commitments.

"We have to have someone who knows how to corral the rest of the world," Biden said, according to The Washington Post.

Hickenlooper was actually the first candidate to mention the Green New Deal, according to The Atlantic, but he dismissed the idea as socialism, HuffPost reported. He said he would work with the oil and gas industry to reduce emissions as quickly as possible.

Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders took the opposite approach to the fossil fuel industry.

"Scientists tells us we have 12 years before irreversible damage. We have to come together against this common enemy, and transition the world off fossil fuels," he said, according to the Sunrise Movement.

Candidates also had a chance to show how much they prioritized climate when Todd asked them what they would seek to accomplish if they could do only one thing, The Guardian reported.

Colorado Senator Michael Bennet and Hickenlooper both said climate change, while author Marianne Williamson said she would call the prime minister of New Zealand to get her advice on dealing with the climate crisis. Businessman Andrew Yang said he would institute a universal basic income, which would help address climate change.

A seagull flies in front of the Rampion offshore wind farm in the United Kingdom. Neil / CC BY 2.0

By Tara Lohan

A key part of the United States' clean energy transition has started to take shape, but you may need to squint to see it. About 2,000 wind turbines could be built far offshore, in federal waters off the Atlantic Coast, in the next 10 years. And more are expected.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Frank La Sorte and Kyle Horton

Millions of birds travel between their breeding and wintering grounds during spring and autumn migration, creating one of the greatest spectacles of the natural world. These journeys often span incredible distances. For example, the Blackpoll warbler, which weighs less than half an ounce, may travel up to 1,500 miles between its nesting grounds in Canada and its wintering grounds in the Caribbean and South America.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Kevin Maillefer / Unsplash

By Lynne Peeples

Editor's note: This story is part of a nine-month investigation of drinking water contamination across the U.S. The series is supported by funding from the Park Foundation and Water Foundation. Read the launch story, "Thirsting for Solutions," here.

In late September 2020, officials in Wrangell, Alaska, warned residents who were elderly, pregnant or had health problems to avoid drinking the city's tap water — unless they could filter it on their own.

Read More Show Less
Eat Just's cell-based chicken nugget is now served at Singapore restaurant 1880. Eat Just, Inc.

At a time of impending global food scarcity, cell-based meats and seafood have been heralded as the future of food.

Read More Show Less
New Zealand sea lions are an endangered species and one of the rarest species of sea lions in the world. Art Wolfe / Photodisc / Getty Images

One city in New Zealand knows what its priorities are.

Dunedin, the second largest city on New Zealand's South Island, has closed a popular road to protect a mother sea lion and her pup, The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less