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Demands for Climate Question, Answers at Presidential Debates

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Monday, September 28, 2020   

DENVER -- As the nation grapples with massive wildfires, a hurricane season already on its second alphabet and intensifying drought, conservationists are calling on moderators for tomorrow's first presidential debate to press candidates for their plans to address climate change.

In 2016, just one question referenced climate change during a town hall event.

Collin O'Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said this year's moderators need to chart a different course.

"To not have that question is just the height of irresponsibility," O'Mara said. "We think that every American has a right to know what the candidate's positions are on these incredibly important issues that are affecting millions of their neighbors across the country."

O'Mara and others want USA Today's Susan Page, C-SPAN's Steve Scully, Fox News' Chris Wallace and NBC News' Kristen Welker to ask President Donald Trump and Vice President Joe Biden for their plans to reduce emissions in electricity generation, in the transportation sector, in agriculture, and restoring lands to capture and sequester more carbon.

The world's top scientists have warned less than a decade remains to sharply curtail fossil-fuel emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

O'Mara said the next president will be charged with leading the nation out of the biggest financial downturn since the Great Depression, and addressing climate change full steam could create good-paying jobs in every community across the nation.

"That's the opportunity, to clean up existing sources of energy, it's the opportunity to deploy clean-energy sources, to transform the transportation sector," O'Mara said. We could create 10 million to 12 million clean-energy and climate-related technology jobs."

O'Mara said the presidential and vice-presidential debates don't have to be just a spectator sport. He's encouraging Americans who have been impacted by climate change to reach out to the networks, and to remind journalists on their Facebook and Twitter pages to make sure climate change is part of this year's national conversation.

Disclosure: The National Wildlife Federation contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species & Wildlife, Energy Policy, Environment, Public Lands/Wilderness, Salmon Recovery, and Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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