Yesterday, CNN hosted a seven-hour climate change marathon where 10 candidates in sequence faced about 40 minutes of questions from the moderators, scientists, and others about their climate change plans. Rolling Stone had a summary of the key points, saying that “We can’t pretend it was fun. But it was historic: This is almost certainly the longest stretch of programming a U.S. news network has ever dedicated to the topic of climate change. We watched all ten of the candidates make their case for their candidacies on the basis of their plans to keep the planet from overheating.”
The format enabled the candidates to speak more expansively on the topic, especially important since the debates have largely ignored the issue of climate change and the responses there are so brief as to be not very enlightening on this topic.
Bernie Sanders has fully embraced the Green New Deal and said that protecting the Earth is a existential issue. Pete Buttigieg said of the inaction on this issue that “Congress right now is like a room full of doctors arguing over whether medication or surgery is the best approach, and the other half are saying cancer doesn’t exist.”
The writers gave props to Elizabeth Warren for shooting down the kinds of irrelevancies that the media and Donald Trump focus on that distract from the seriousness of the issue. (Cory Booker was even asked, if you can believe it, if him being a vegan “meant he would attempt to ban or restrict meat and dairy from American diets”. Really.)
Warren touted the plan on Wednesday night, but her most memorable moment may have come when she scoffed at Chris Cuomo’s question about whether the government should be in the business of telling Americans which kinds of lightbulbs they should use. “Give me a break,” she said before noting that there are a lot of different ways to curb energy consumption. “But this is exactly what the fossil-fuel industry hopes we’re all talking about. They want to be able to stir up a lot of controversy around your light bulbs, around your straws, and around your cheeseburgers, when 70 percent of the pollution, of the carbon that we’re throwing into the air, comes from three industries.”
“That’s where we need to focus,” she added. “And why don’t we focus there? Corruption!”
Very on-brand. In the best way possible.
Good for her. She has become extremely adept at challenging and countering media framing of issues.