The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

What They Are Saying: Climate Change Ignored in the Upcoming Presidential Debate


Yesterday, the Commission of Presidential Debates and Chris Wallace announced the topics for the first debate between President Trump and former Vice President Biden - completely ignoring climate. That decision has prompted journalists, activists, and political leaders to question why the greatest threat facing our country was excluded a debate topic.


Journalist and Former National Evening News Anchor Dan Rather
Staff Writer for The New Yorker Jane Mayer
Representative for California's 49th Congressional District Michael Levin
Wisconsin State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski
Writer and Producer Ben Wexler
Chief Washington correspondent for the St. Louis Post Dispatch Chuck Raasch
Senior Editor at Wired Daniel Engber
Crooked Media Founder and Pod Save America Co-host Tommy Vietor
Moms Clean Air Force
Professor of Biological Sciences at Florida International UniversityPhilip K Stoddard
Businessman, Philanthropist and Activist Tom Steyer
Meteorologist for The Correspondent Eric Holthaus
Columnist at The Intercept and Presenter at Al Jazeera Medhi Hasan
Energy and Environmental Policy Reporter at The Washington Post Dino Grandoni
Environment Reporter at the Huffington Post Chris D'Angelo

The Nation:The Media's Climate Coverage Is Improving, but Time Is Very Short

We are heartened by the progress Covering Climate Now has made in helping the media rise to the existential challenge of the climate crisis...The first presidential debate takes place in less than a week, on September 29, and five weeks later is Election Day. Between now and then, newsrooms should follow the advice of Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan: "This subject must be kept front and center, with the pressure on and the stakes made abundantly clear at every turn."
Common Dreams: Planet Is Burning, But First Presidential Debate Set to Ignore Humanity's Most Pressing Issue: Climate

Even as devastating wildfires across the U.S. West Coast and rapidly shrinking Arctic sea ice offer alarming evidence of the reality and immediacy of the climate crisis, the planetary emergency was apparently deemed not worthy of inclusion on the list of official topics for next Tuesday's presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Katrina vanden Heuvel, Washington Post: Media must put the existential threat of climate change front and center

When President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden meet on the debate stage next week, many West Coast wildfires will almost certainly still be raging. Moderator Chris Wallace should ask the candidates about climate change, an issue on which they are starkly divided.

Media Matters for America: Debate moderators largely failed to address climate change in the primaries. For the Trump-Biden debates, viewers deserve better.

Together, they will have three opportunities to improve on moderators' performances during recent Democratic primary debates, in which less than 7% of the questions were about climate change or the environment -- just 83 out of 1,208. In two of the 11 Democratic primary debates, moderators failed to ask a single climate question.

Climate Power 2020 is putting the Trump administration on defense every single day for ignoring experts, refusing to believe in science, surrendering our government to big oil executives, and gutting public health protections, all at the expense of future generations. The 2020 presidential election is the defining moment for how our nation addresses the climate crisis--our leaders must be emboldened to take immediate action on climate change and to build a just and equitable economy. The time to act is now. Learn more: