Quantcast

DNC Shuts Down Climate Debate Compromise

Politics

DNC Chairman Tom Perez speaks prior to the start of the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate June 27 in Miami.

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) will not let 2020 primary candidates share the stage in a debate devoted to the climate crisis, the party voted Saturday during its summer meeting in San Francisco.


The DNC resolutions committee had already voted against holding a party-sanctioned debate on the topic Thursday, but it did approve language that would have allowed candidates to speak face-to-face on the issue at a third-party sponsored event. That compromise was voted down 222-137 Saturday, CNN reported. CNN and MSNBC both plan to hold climate forums in September, but the candidates will have to speak separately and will not be able to engage each other.

"This decision is as baffling as it is alarming," candidate and former Texas Representative Beto O'Rourke tweeted of the decision. "Our planet is burning—the least we can do as a party is debate what to do about it."

Climate activists like the youth-led Sunrise Movement have been mobilizing for a climate-specific debate for months, and most of the candidates have said they would participate, but top DNC officials, including Chair Tom Perez, have argued that it is unfair to single out one issue for discussion over others, The Mercury News reported.

"We want to make sure we don't change the rules in the middle of the process," Perez said Saturday, as The Mercury News reported. "We have a North Star principle: We want to be fair to everyone."

But others argued that the climate crisis is not just another issue.

"If an asteroid was coming to earth, there would be no question about having a debate about it," Kansas DNC member Chris Reeves said, as The Mercury News reported. "But with this existential crisis facing the world, we all sit and wring our hands."

The debate at the meeting Saturday was interrupted by protesters chanting "We can't wait" and "Failure of leadership."

"The Democratic Party needs the energy, motivation, and organizing capacity of young people to defeat Trump in 2020. But Tom Perez keeps shooting the party in the foot by rejecting that energy and turning it away," the Sunrise Movement said in a statement Saturday.

After Thursday's vote, The Sludge suggested one reason why the DNC might be hesitant to endorse a climate debate. Perez put forward a resolution, approved in 2018, that allowed the DNC to take donations from fossil fuel employees and their political action committees. That resolution weakened an earlier ban on taking money from fossil fuel PACs. The Sludge laid out how the change has impacted the party's finances:

Since January, the DNC has taken at least $60,750 from owners and executives of fossil fuel companies. The DNC's fossil fuel industry donors include George Krumme, owner of Krumme Oil Company, who contributed $20,000, and Stephen Hightower, president and CEO of Hightower Petroleum Company, who contributed $35,500. Other donors include Duke Energy President CJ Triplette, Crystal Flash Energy executive Thomas Fehsenfeld, and Southern Petroleum Resources President David Simpkins.

However, the climate debate fight is not necessarily over. Presidential candidate Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) put out a call for fellow candidates to defy the DNC and join him for a climate debate in Youngstown, Ohio, The Toledo Blade reported Sunday.

"It's truly a disappointment that the DNC denied our party the opportunity to show America that a strong agenda that reverses climate change means high paying manufacturing jobs for American union workers and solid profits for American farmers," Ryan said in a statement. "Voters deserve a chance to know that we take this issue seriously and are going to be very proactive in reversing climate change, unlike the current administration."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Serena and Venus Williams have been known to follow a vegan diet. Edwin Martinez / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Whitney E. Akers

  • "The Game Changers" is a new documentary on Netflix that posits a vegan diet can improve athletic performance in professional athletes.

  • Limited studies available show that the type of diet — plant-based or omnivorous — doesn't give you an athletic advantage.

  • We talked to experts about what diet is the best for athletic performance.

Packed with record-setting athletes displaying cut physiques and explosive power, "The Game Changers," a new documentary on Netflix, has a clear message: Vegan is best.

Read More Show Less
An illegally trafficked tiger skull and pelt. Ryan Moehring / USFWS

By John R. Platt

When it comes to solving problems related to wildlife trade, there are an awful lot of "sticky widgets."

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Inflammation can be both good and bad.

On one hand, it helps your body defend itself from infection and injury. On the other hand, chronic inflammation can lead to weight gain and disease.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Dan Nosowitz

It's no secret that the past few years have been disastrous for the American farming industry.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD

Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil and coconut oil are fats that have risen in popularity alongside the ketogenic, or keto, diet.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Bijal Trivedi

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report on Nov. 13 that describes a list of microorganisms that have become resistant to antibiotics and pose a serious threat to public health. Each year these so-called superbugs cause more than 2.8 million infections in the U.S. and kill more than 35,000 people.

Read More Show Less
Rool Paap / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Inflammation can be good or bad depending on the situation.

Read More Show Less

By Joe Vukovich

Under the guise of responding to consumer complaints that today's energy- and water-efficient dishwashers take too long, the Department of Energy has proposed creating a new class of dishwashers that wouldn't be subject to any water or energy efficiency standards at all. The move would not only undermine three decades of progress for consumers and the environment, it is based on serious distortions of fact regarding today's dishwashers.

Read More Show Less