September 5, 2019

350 Action On CNN Climate Town Hall: This is the Time for Action


September 5, 2019

Climate-Impacted Communities Need Leaders Who Will Take Immediate Action

New York, NY – On Thursday night, ten Democratic Presidential candidates spoke to audience members in a CNN Town Hall on climate change. Amid cutaways to Hurricane Dorian’s devastating impact in the Bahamas and along the Carolina coast and fires outside LA, we watched candidates debate how to take on a crisis in the first major televised climate forum on climate change.  Spread over 7 hours, the town hall provided an opportunity for each candidate to step up to the plate on climate change and deliver answers consistent with their climate plans.  

While the majority of the forum consisted of the candidates emphasizing the urgency and importance of climate action and restating the high points of their climate plans, it also exposed the nuances between the candidates’ positions. Every candidate underscored their belief in science, and intent to hit the emission reduction timelines set by the UN IPCC, although strategies on how to pursue this transition widely differed.

350 Action’s Director Tamara Toles O’ Laughlin gave the following statement:

“The CNN Democratic Presidential Climate Town Hall was an enormous step forward for the national discourse on climate action. Despite soft-ball questions on light bulbs and consumption, the town hall still managed to project a vision of climate justice: a country which holds fossil fuel companies accountable and is itself accountable for decades of environmental injustice. 

“We have come a long way from climate denialism — or even Obama’s “all of the above” energy strategy — to a new paradigm in which candidates promise to take on the fossil fuel industry with regulation, market forces, and even lawsuits. An unprecedented number of candidates support ending new leases for fossil fuels on public lands; they commit to 100% carbon neutral energy no later than 2050, with many aiming for the 2030 date laid out by the IPCC and the Green New Deal. Candidates like Warren, Harris and Sanders doubled down on making fossil fuel executives pay for knowing about climate change and misleading the public. 

“At the same time, candidates’ unity broke around issues like fossil fuel exports, cap and trade, fracking, nuclear power, and enthusiasm for a Green New Deal with candidates like Biden, Yang, O’Rourke and Klobuchar walking a more conservative line. We were most impressed by candidates who focused on system-change, the intersectionality of the climate crisis, and eradicating poverty.

“In order to end the era of fossil fuels and begin a just transition to renewable energy, while investing in workers and community resilience, we need candidates to remain consistent in their commitments to bold action. The winner, in large part, was us: people who care about the climate, the future of our planet, the health of our communities, and our shared humanity. We have a whole movement to thank for that.”


Press Contact: Monica Mohapatra, U.S. Communications Specialist,