Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

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.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A "vessel of opportunity" skims oil spilled after the Deepwater Horizon well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. NOAA / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Loveday Wright and Stuart Braun

After a Japanese-owned oil tanker struck a reef off Mauritius on July 25, a prolonged period of inaction is threatening to become an ecological disaster.

Read More Show Less
The Mountain Valley Pipeline proposes to carry natural gas for hundreds of miles over dozens of water sources, through protected areas and crossing the Appalachian Trail. Appalachian Trail Conservancy / YouTube

It's been a bad summer for fracked natural gas pipelines in North Carolina.

Read More Show Less
Atlantic puffins courting at Maine Coastal Island National Wildlife Refuge in 2009. USFWS / Flickr

When Europeans first arrived in North America, Atlantic puffins were common on islands in the Gulf of Maine. But hunters killed many of the birds for food or for feathers to adorn ladies' hats. By the 1800s, the population in Maine had plummeted.

Read More Show Less
Rescue workers dig through the rubble following a gas explosion in Baltimore, Maryland on Aug. 10, 2020. J. Countess / Getty Images

A "major" natural gas explosion killed two people and seriously injured at least seven in Baltimore, Maryland Monday morning.

Read More Show Less
The recalled list includes red, yellow, white and sweet yellow onions, which may be tainted with salmonella. Pxhere

Nearly 900 people across the U.S. and Canada have been sickened by salmonella linked to onions distributed by Thomson International, the The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
Methane flares at a fracking site near a home in Colorado on Oct. 25, 2014. WildEarth Guardians / Flickr

In the coming days, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to use its power to roll back yet another Obama-era environmental protection meant to curb air pollution and slow the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Researchers on the ICESCAPE mission, funded by NASA, examine melt ponds and their surrounding ice in 2011 to see how changing conditions in the Arctic affect the biological and chemical makeup of the ocean. NASA / Flickr

By Alex Kirby

The temperature of the Arctic matters to the entire world: it helps to keep the global climate fairly cool. Scientists now say that by 2035 there could be an end to Arctic sea ice.

Read More Show Less