Senator Markey Leads 36 Senate Colleagues in Demanding Questions on Climate Change in Presidential and Vice Presidential Debates

Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.)  speaking about the importance of a Green New Deal at a town hall organized by the Sunrise Movement. Washington, D.C. - May 13, 2019: Photo credit: Rachael Warriner / Shutterstock.com, licensed.
Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) speaking about the importance of a Green New Deal at a town hall organized by the Sunrise Movement. Washington, D.C. – May 13, 2019: Photo credit: Rachael Warriner / Shutterstock.com, licensed.

Announced yesterday, the list of issues for the first 2020 presidential debate does not include climate change. In 2016, not a single question was asked about climate change during the presidential debates

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With climate change unrepresented in the announced topics for the first 2020 presidential debate, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and 36 of his Democratic colleagues today called on the Commission on Presidential Debates to ensure that every debate includes questions that ask the candidates what they would do to address the climate crisis and environmental injustice.

The letter from the Senators points to the deadly impacts of the crisis being felt in every corner of the country – wildfires in the West, extreme heat waves, shifting water levels in the Great Lakes, catastrophic hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico – writing, “The climate crisis isn’t coming, it’s here.”

With the potential for tens of millions of people to watch the debates this September and October, the Senators argue that it’s impossible to debate the intersecting crises currently impacting the country without discussing climate change, and how critical it is that every debate includes questions about how the candidates plan to protect communities now and in the future.


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“This is not just any election. It is one that will determine how our country responds to the worsening climate crisis that we face each and every day–we don’t have another election cycle to wait,” write the Senators in their letter. “Voters, regardless of their party affiliation or candidate preference, must have the opportunity to hear directly from the candidates about what they have done and plan to do to fight this crisis.”

Also signing the letter are Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Bob Casey, Jr. (D-Penn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash,), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va,), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).

The full text of the letter is online here.

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