On Tuesday, the first Presidential debate took place, with FOX News moderator Chris Wallace prepared to ask the candidates questions about six pre-planned topics that did not include climate change.
In the last 15 minutes of the debate, Chris Wallace asked the first question about the climate crisis heard in a presidential debate in 12 years. Yet, in that time the climate crisis has escalated and impacted every corner of our nation and globe. Climate Generation firmly believes that not including climate change, whether it be the solutions that are available now to pushing candidates on their climate plans, is inexcusable. As wildfires spread devastation across the west and multiple tropical cyclones approach and threaten our country’s coast, it’s evident that climate change is here — and it’s impacts on our communities are urgent and long-lasting, especially for Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color hit first and worst by climate change and its intersections.
World governments need to act now to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change. Voters know we are running out of time, and want to hear from candidates how they plan to address the climate emergency. Seven in ten voters across the political spectrum support government action on climate change. Voters deserve debates that take the climate crisis as seriously as science tells us we must. President Trump has continued to ignore the experts and deny the science — the facts of climate change are widespread and available to us, and misinformation and climate denial are a harmful threat to the lives, health, and vitality of communities across our country.
Debate moderators must push the candidates seeking our nation’s highest office to explain how they will address and prepare us for the current and increasing effects of the climate crisis and how they will combat the environmental injustice that has plagued Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities for decades.
“Climate Generation works across audiences to help people understand climate change and actions they can take to advance climate justice,” said Sarah Goodspeed, Sr. Youth and Policy Manager. “Our communities are telling leaders the future we envision for ourselves, and deserve to hear from candidates as we make decisions about who we will work with to shape that future.”
Science denial costs lives. As more than 200,000 people in the U.S. have died from the COVID-19 pandemic, far surpassing every nation in the world, we must demand our leadership trusts science and works with experts to protect our communities. Black, Indigenous and Communities of Color most impacted by climate change and extreme weather are the same people bearing the weight of the extractive fossil fuel industry, police violence, economic disparities, and injustices that affect us all, and we cannot solve climate change without transformative solutions rooted at these intersections. We must come together in addressing this crisis at our door.
Note: Climate Generation bases our work around the demands of science and justice. According to a Yale study, the vast majority of viewers across media networks are alarmed or concerned about climate change; even a majority of FOX viewers are at least cautious on climate change, while a minority are doubtful or dismissive despite the false balance of climate change coverage. We expect future debate moderators to increasingly address climate change across its intersections as viewers, voters, and communities demand for its presence.