Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Greens are slowly waking up to the horrifying realisation that even the Democrats don’t think they are important enough to feature in Presidential debates.
That’s 4 straight debates without a single question on climate change. Good job, everyone.
It finally happened. After three straight debates without a single moderator asking about climate change, Fox News’s Chris Wallace decided to focus the final presidential showdown on a slow-moving issue that would greatly affect future generations. He wasn’t going to let Trump or Clinton avoid the topic, either. He pulled out facts and figures and demanded to know why the two candidates were ignoring the problem.
Wait, sorry, I’m just kidding. Wallace didn’t ask about climate change at all. He wanted to talk about the national debt.
But none of the moderators asked about global warming at all. Not in the first presidential debate. Not in the vice presidential debate. Not in the second presidential debate.* Not in the third presidential debate. Hillary Clinton name-checked the topic, occasionally, but that was it. Humanity is departing from the stable climatic conditions that allowed civilization to thrive, yet the most powerful nation on Earth can’t set aside five minutes to discuss.
It’s possible the debate moderators don’t understand what’s at stake. It’s possible they don’t care. Or it’s possible they’re afraid that any question on the topic might seem too partisan. After all, Clinton thinks the issue is pretty serious and has a bunch of proposals around it, whereas Trump says it’s all a hoax invented by the Chinese. Under the circumstances, even a halfway intelligent question about climate policy would sound “biased.”
Vice also complains that climate isn’t getting enough attention;
Remember When We Thought Climate Change Would Matter This Election?
This was supposed to be the election where climate change really mattered. Only, anyone watching the presidential debates wouldn’t have a clue that 1) 2016 has been history’s hottest year on record, and 2) our future leaders give any sort of crap about it.
Climate change was mostly ignored during the last three debates, mentioned only in passing, and never discussed directly or at length. In fact, I’m fairly sure that Americans know more about Donald Trump’s sexual proclivities than his environmental policies (hint, hint: he doesn’t have any).
But should we really feign surprise? Surely even the most hopeful of us didn’t expect global warming to compete with jobs, the border, or national security on the campaign trail. After all, this has been an election based on political identity, and when Americans can’t even agree on whether climate change is real, what’s incentivizing our candidates to fight for it?
The VOX assertion that a climate question would have seemed “biased” seems a bit thin. A simple open question like “What is your position on climate change?” would surely not have upset anyone, at least in terms of concerns about moderator bias.
The obvious explanation for the lack of climate coverage, is that most of the audience don’t care enough about climate change to devote precious debate time to the issue.
Added by Anthony: It gets worse, over at “Climate Progress” Joe Romm is calling it “criminally irresponsible”.
The irony here is that there were plenty of real “criminally irresponsible” things that one candidate has done that they could have discussed, but they don’t want to talk about. Joe Romm lives on planet denial.