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A climate-themed debate? The Democrats owe it to voters

3 201 0

Twenty candidates – ten candidates per night – will take the stage during this week’s two-part Democratic primary debates. Each debate will last two hours, and, excluding introductions and interruptions, each candidate will have roughly 12 minutes of total speaking time. How much of that can we reasonably expect to be devoted to the climate crisis?

If past debates are any indication, not much. There were no direct questions about climate change posed in either the 2012 or 2016 debates. In refusing grassroots calls for a debate focused on climate change, Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez has promised this time would be different. In a Medium post composed after backlash to his decision, Perez wrote that he considers climate a top issue, and “made clear to our media partners that the issue of climate change must be featured prominently in our debates”. Given that network news spent more time covering the Royal Baby in one week than they’d spent in a year on climate change, that’s not exactly a convincing sell. If the DNC really did care about climate as much as Perez claims, it’d see the debate stage as a chance to offer a valuable counter-weight to the relative silence across television news about the climate crisis.

Why, moreover, would the DNC let........

© The Guardian