Los Angeles, CA — Last night, the 7 top Democratic Presidential hopefuls gathered in Los Angeles for their final debate of the year, held by PBS and Politico. After a year of pressure from organizers, activists and concerned voters demanding more airtime and significant climate questions in the debates, viewers were given the longest and strongest discussion on the climate crisis yet.
Sanders, Warren and Steyer led the pack with commitments to prioritize the climate crisis while tackling environmental racism and creating millions of new jobs through the Green New Deal. Mr. Steyer challenged Mayor Buttigieg to prioritize the crisis more in his campaign.
While the remaining candidates reinforced the existential importance of the climate issue, they continued to offer half measures including Klobuchar’s baseline commitment to rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, Buttigieg’s reliance on a carbon tax, and Yang’s insistence on dangerous false solutions like nuclear expansion.
350.org North America Director Tamara Toles O’Laughlin made the following statement:
“As we enter the climate decade, we can see the progress we’ve made on raising the national profile of the climate crisis. Last night’s climate discussions were the result of the pressure and influence of our movement on the debates over the course of this election season. We’ve put Presidential candidates and the media on notice to ensure that real action to combat the climate crisis is centered with other critical issues of justice. We are pleased to see public media, PBS, and Politico step up to the plate with the most robust climate questions to date.
“Candidates have gone from paying lip service, to speaking with real literacy on climate issues. We have raised the standard to include ending new fossil fuel leases on public lands, rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, ending subsidies for the fossil fuel industry and committing to 100% renewable energy.
“Unfortunately there are still concerning differences between climate leaders like Sanders, Warren and Steyer’s plans for rapid, just decarbonization of the US economy and more middle-of-the road plans from candidates like Vice President Biden and Mayor Buttigieg. We don’t have time for half-measures or false solutions. That’s why 350 Action has launched petitions to pressure Biden and Buttigieg to up their climate game if they want to really compete in this new decade.”
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