CNN to host climate town hall
WASHINGTON – CNN announced Thursday that the network will hold a climate change town hall for Democratic 2020 presidential candidates — a move that comes after months of mounting pressure from the Democratic hopefuls and progressive organizations.
The town hall is slated for Wednesday, Sept. 4, in New York City. Candidates who have met the Democratic National Committee’s polling threshold for the September primary debate have been invited to participate.
The polling threshold requires candidates to have reached at least 2% in four approved polls by August 28.
So far, former Vice President Joe Biden, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren have all met the polling requirement, according to CNN’s analysis.
The town hall comes the week before the third Democratic primary debate, which will be on Sept. 12 and 13 at Texas Southern University in Houston.
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Over the past several months, organizations, including MoveOn, the Sunrise Movement, Greenpeace, and others, have called on the DNC to host a climate-only debate. The DNC, however, has refused the request.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has also been one of the most outspoken candidates calling for a discussion focused solely on climate change. O’Rourke, Warren, Sanders, Obama Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro of Texas, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet have all endorsed such a forum.
Climate change has increasingly become a top issue among progressives. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez earlier this year introduced the Green New Deal, which many major 2020 Democrats have endorsed. Most recently, Ocasio-Cortez, along with Sanders, introduced a non-binding resolution in Congress that would declare a “climate emergency.”
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On the Republican side, President Donald Trump often mocks the science behind climate change but has recently come under pressure from an ally in the GOP, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who said that Trump should “admit that climate change is real.”
In addition to CNN’s town hall, MSNBC along with the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service and Our Daily Planet, are planning to host a multi-day climate change forum with the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, according to The Daily Beast.
Several progressive groups praised both the CNN town hall and the MSNBC forum as a victory.
Justice Democrats, an organization that helped get Ocasio-Cortez elected, tweeted: “We won. Organizing works.”
“For weeks, Americans have demanded that the DNC host a #ClimateDebate. Today we won two huge victories,” the Sunrise Movement, an organization that advocates political action on climate change and has supported the Green New Deal, wrote in a tweet. “Our pressure is working.”
However, the organization in a follow-up tweet called on DNC chairman Tom Perez to still hold a climate debate, saying that it “will put the eyes of the nation on this crisis at the scale it demands.”
“It’s time for the DNC to see the writing on the wall: Americans want and deserve more than fifteen minutes of discussion on the climate crisis,” the Sunrise Movement wrote. “@TomPerez, it’s time to get a #ClimateDebate on the books.”
Contributing: Ledyard King
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