February 8, 2020

350 Action Responds to Presidential Debate in New Hampshire

(Manchester, New Hampshire) At last night’s Presidential Debate, the first since the chaos of the Iowa Caucuses, the seven Democratic candidates sparred on issues of health care, race, trade, and very briefly on climate. During Friday’s debate, climate made a limited appearance in discussions on military spending and trade. Steyer abruptly pivoted a conversation around the assassination of Iranian Major General Suleimani into climate policy, saying climate change, “cannot be solved with guns and tanks and planes.” Sanders took the issue further criticizing excessive military spending as money that could be used to fight climate change. 

The limited questioning on climate change from the moderators was directed to Sanders about Trump’s trade deal with Mexico and Canada. The question was insufficient to reach any conclusion about the  implications of the deal or an in-depth relationship to the candidates’ climate action plans. 

Outside of the debate venue in Manchester, 350 New Hampshire anticipated the gap and projected the people’s climate demands onto the debate buildings as a part of a rally. 

350.org’s North America Director Tamara Toles O’Laughlin made the following statement: 

“Polls during the Iowa caucus showed clearly that climate was a primary concern for voters after health care, two issues deeply intertwined and demonstrating the very need to center people and planet. At this crucial juncture of the primaries, the establishment showed its lack of connection to the generation it depends on as the climate crisis got so little attention on the  debate stage. We are not impressed by the moderators missed opportunity to explicitly connect issues of race, endless war and the future of our democracy to the one thing that will set the stage for everything else—climate. 

“While we were glad to see candidates like Sanders and Steyer smartly connecting climate to issues like military spending, the debate overall was disjointed. We demand that the remaining Democratic nominees and the news media stop siloing the climate crisis and give it the intersectional platform it deserves. We will continue to demand that the moderators of the Presidential debates ask tough questions on climate that dig into solutions and bold ambition. We the American people deserve nothing less in the climate decade.”


Press Contact: Thanu Yakupitiyage, thanu@350action.org