The First Democratic Debate Failed The Planet
The Debates Will Be about Climate—Disguised as Other Issues
The Energy 202: Seven minutes were devoted to climate change in the first Democratic debate
Last night’s first Democratic debate was just more of the same as it reflected a deliberate disregard of climate on the part of moderators and candidates. Only four of those on the Miami stage got asked direct questions about the crisis. The questions came finally in the second half of the debate.
Because DNC chair Tom Perez has ruled out a special debate on climate, the advocates want to crucify him. But climate issues are inescapable. Adam Rogers of Wired says:
Because every single issue that a presidential aspirant could conceivably talk about is, at heart, intertwined with climate change. Jobs, the economy, national security, immigration, energy, housing—they’re all facets of the same crystal. The science is clear; the politics, less so. It’ll be a climate debate, all right; the question is what the candidates will do about it.
Inslee, the only one making climate his top-tier issue, didn’t do well last night. A couple of others, like Warren, wormed climate into their answers. But the issue is so complex that it is hard to fit into a debate format. Plus, the candidates fear grandiose climate solutions would simply overwhelm many local voters who are focusing on pocketbook issues.
One could accuse them of playing politics with the overriding issue of our time.