Climate Crisis Gets 15 Minutes Total in First Two Nights of Dem Debates
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.
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 https://t.co/bjZdlYzybU— Justin Worland (@JustinWorland) June 28, 2019
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.
Eight minutes tonight. Seven minutes last night. Fifteen minutes in four hours. The @DNC will not address the climate crisis with the urgency it requires. We must hold a #ClimateDebate. Now. #DemDebate2— Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) June 28, 2019
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.
"Scientists tells us we have 12 years before irreversible damage. We have to comer together against this common enemy, and transition the world off fossil fuels." —@BernieSanders— Sunrise Movement 🌅 (@sunrisemvmt) June 28, 2019
yes boi #DemDebate2 #ClimateDebate pic.twitter.com/8yrONbmHYA
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.
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As protests are taking place across our nation in response to the killing of George Floyd, we want to acknowledge the importance of this protest and the Black Lives Matter movement. Over the years, we've aimed to be sensitive and prioritize stories that highlight the intersection between racial and environmental injustice. From our years of covering the environment, we know that too often marginalized communities around the world are disproportionately affected by environmental crises.
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With more than 1.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States and more than 100,000 deaths from the virus, physicians face unprecedented challenges in their efforts to keep Americans safe.
They also encounter what some call an "infodemic," an outbreak of misinformation that's making it more difficult to treat patients.
When Leaders and Doctors Spread Misinformation<p>When people in charge of towns, cities, states, and countries spread misinformation, the potential for belief in misinformation to result in policies can have harmful effects.</p><p><a href="https://www.northwell.edu/find-care/find-a-doctor?q=Bruce+E.+Hirsch%2C+MD&insurance=&location=&query_type=provider&physician_partners=false&default_view=list&gender=&language=&sort=relevancy" target="_blank">Dr. Bruce E. Hirsch</a>, attending physician and assistant professor in the infectious disease division of Northwell Health in Manhasset, New York, says an example of this is when President Trump informed the public he was taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure.</p><p>"To approach this enormous challenge, we need some intellectual honesty and clarity, and to disregard expertise and to make decisions and model decisions based on hunches is inviting us to handle challenges on the basis of rumor and uninformed opinion. The magnitude of that error is epic," Hirsch told Healthline.</p><p>Stukus agrees, noting that the harm of this proclamation is documented.</p><p>"Early on when the president touted the benefits of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, people started to hoard this medicine, and state boards had to shut it down because they were getting so many prescriptions for this unproven therapy that it was not available for those who truly needed it, such as those who have lupus and autoimmune conditions," Stukus said.</p><p>He adds that calls to poison control centers increased after the president suggested using disinfectant to prevent contracting the new coronavirus.</p>
Listen to Science, Even When it Changes<p>When recommendations change or evidence flip-flops, skepticism may arise. However, Stukus says change is the beauty of science.</p><p>"That shows us that we can evolve, and if the evidence shows that our prior thoughts were incorrect, we need to be able to change our recommendations and advice based upon the best quality of evidence at the time," he said.</p><p>Pierre agrees.</p><p>"Science is an iterative process, whereby we arrive at facts and truth through repeated and controlled observations. That means that it's inherently self-correcting as we revise conclusions based on ongoing research. Scientific facts aren't immutable dogma chiseled on a tablet. They change based on the best available evidence we have at a given point in time," he said.</p><p>Because research of COVID-19 has only been underway for 6 months, information is evolving rapidly, and new information may contradict old.</p><p>"There's still much we don't know about exactly how [COVID-19] spreads, what effects it has on the body, or how to best treat it. That means that the best available evidence is preliminary, but that doesn't mean that we should ignore it or turn to other sources of information or opinion as if they're just as valid," Pierre said.</p><p>He explains that conspiracy theories based on mistrust lead to vulnerability to misinformation.</p><p>If people mistrust science because it sometimes "changes its mind," Pierre said, "that shouldn't be used to embrace other opinions based on no evidence at all, which are typically selected based on confirmation bias: what we want to believe rather than what the objective evidence supports."</p>
Where to Find the Best Information<p>Stukus says to start with the <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html" target="_blank">CDC</a> and <a href="https://www.nih.gov/health-information/coronavirus" target="_blank">NIH</a>. Then check with your local health officials, because COVID-19 guidelines may vary depending on where you live.</p><p>If you can't find information you need or have questions specifically related to you, call your primary care doctor.</p><p>"Your personal doctor should always be a resource for individual specific questions because they know best how to apply all the nuances retaining to your health, and how to incorporate all the other general [COVID-19] recommendations," Stukus said.</p><p><a href="https://www.eehealth.org/find-a-doctor/b/boyd-laura-b/" target="_blank">Dr. Laura Boyd</a>, primary care physician at Edward-Elmhurst Health Center in Elmhurst, Illinois, says her clinic receives a lot of calls about COVID-19.</p><p>"Most doctors' offices are receiving calls and answering questions, and doing phone or video visits to help clarify and/or order testing over the phone based on patients' symptoms. It is always best to call your doctor's office first instead of worrying about symptoms and waiting too long to seek treatment," she told Healthline.</p><p>If your primary care doctor has limited testing, she suggests looking on your state's public health website for available testing sites.</p><p>With a lot of unknowns related to this virus and disease, Boyd says many patients are feeling overwhelmed and anxious for a treatment.</p><p>"Unfortunately, there is no specific medication recommended for COVID for outpatient. There are a lot of ongoing studies with various drugs going on within the hospital setting. Patients should always contact their doctors about their specific symptoms as they can treat the symptoms that go along with COVID, but there is no cure," Boyd said.</p><p>While we wait for treatment and a vaccine, Hirsch, who treats patients hospitalized for COVID-19 complications on a daily basis, says everyone can do their part by washing hands, wearing a mask, and staying 6 feet apart.</p><p>"As an infectious disease doctor working in the hospital, I see the damage of the pandemic and the worst cases of what's happening. We are trying to get the best possible outcome and confronting this overwhelming biologic reality of this terrible epidemic the best we can," Hirsch said.</p><p>Everyone at home can help in the fight too, he adds.</p><p>"Follow information that is science- and evidence-based, and avoid that which is not," he said.</p>
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