Florida Mayors: Presidential Debates Must Address Climate Change
As the impacts of climate change become increasingly evident, we’re seeing more and more political leaders from both parties coming together to address the issue, from a Climate Solutions Caucus in the House of Representatives to a coalition of governors who pledged to expand clean energy. The latest example of this trend is happening in Florida, where a bipartisan group of 21 mayors wrote letters urging the moderators of the next debates to seriously address climate change.
The previous presidential debates – especially the GOP debates – have largely ignored the subject. As this Media Matters article points out, Florida is on the front lines of climate change, and is already feeling the impacts of sea level rise and extreme weather, yet the issue has been glossed over by debate moderators. With this week’s Democratic and Republican debates being held in Miami, the mayors felt “it would be unconscionable for these issues of grave concern for the people of Florida to not be addressed.”
The majority of Americans are concerned about climate change and support efforts to fight it. They deserve to know whether their presidential candidates share this concern, and how they plan to tackle the issue.
UPDATE: At last night’s Democratic debate, moderator Karen Tumulty mentioned the climate challenges facing Miami and asked the candidates how they would address the issue in the absence of a bipartisan consensus. You can read their responses here. We’ll see what happens at tonight’s GOP debate.
By Denise Robbins, contributor to Media Matters for America
Mayors’ Letters Come Amid Mounting Calls To Address Climate Change In Presidential Debates
How many more groups, experts, and citizens have to push for debate moderators to thoroughly address climate change before they finally listen?
A bipartisan group of 21 mayors from throughout Florida wrote letters to the hosts of the upcoming Democratic primary debate on March 9 and GOP primary debate on March 10, both of which will take place in Miami, urging them to ask the presidential candidates about climate change.
Presidential primary debates have not yet thoroughly addressed climate change, even while important climate developments have taken place during the primary season, including adoption of a landmark international agreement between 196 nations to act on climate change, and the Supreme Court’s move to delay the United States’ flagship climate plan. Debate moderators have glossed over climate change — so much so that the Democratic candidates have been bringing up the issue themselves.
Image credit: Flickr user stacyflower via Creative Commons