(Miami, FL) In response to the second set of Democratic Candidate Debates held in Miami, Florida, Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, 350 Action Director released the following statement:
“Not one of the candidates vying for the highest office emerged as the climate champion we need during tonight’s Democratic Debate. Question after question the debate failed to make connections between climate and health, jobs, energy choice, investments and the total disaster that is the status quo on immigration. An hour and a half into the debate tonight’s batch of Democrats continued to neglect the weight of the climate crisis, while the reality off stage is that communities in Miami and across the nation continue to battle the everyday extremes of climate disaster. The candidates spoke at length on important matters, but missed every opportunity to make relevant connections to the climate crisis and plans emerging to transition to support into action.
As droughts and storms circle the globe, climate refugees are arriving in the U.S. from countries where climate change has led to floods, droughts, and lack of opportunity. From floods to fires the scale of impacts grows daily. Endless war, privatized criminalization and unchecked policing are leading to a toxic intersectionality that should have been addressed by our leadership. Of all the candidates, Sanders was the single advocate for a transformation of the “world energy system” away from fossil fuels. Tonight’s debate presented myriad moments for candidates to state their case on issues of climate justice.
To date, nine out of ten of the candidates have signed on to the No Fossil Fuel pledge committing to take no campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry. Seven support a Green New Deal, and three have committed to keep fossil fuels in the ground. The debate stage provided no time to explore the details. We are left to guess who will fight for us.
We need a real climate debate to understand where these candidates stand on climate, health, economy, and future. Spending a combined total of less than 20 minutes between the two debates on climate change shows that neither the DNC, the candidates, nor the media, are treating this crisis as the deadly, serious, issue that it is.
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