In one week, GOP Presidential hopefuls will take the stage for their first debate. RSVP to tune in with us next week and demand the GOP Primary candidates take a stand on climate change and the environment.
On August 6, the GOP Presidential hopefuls will take the stage in Ohio for the first televised Presidential debate of the 2016 campaign.1 Right now, most of the speculation is about who will be allowed to debate and what crazy thing Donald Trump will say next. Whoever shows up next week, you can bet their discussion of climate change will be a train-wreck of climate-denial, "I'm not a scientist" dodges, and attacks on President Obama's soon to be released Clean Power Plan.2
But the media is still failing to fact-check their climate denying statements. For example all major broadcast and cable news outlets other than MSNBC let climate denial go unchallenged 75 percent of the time!3
Next week could be our chance to change the debate, as there will be a chance to submit questions via Facebook and social media during the debate.4 And our ability to ask questions really does matter, since the 10 candidates represent the most likely group to win the GOP nomination, and stand a roughly 50-50 chance of being the next President -- according to the odds makers.5
Decisions are made by those who show up and know the facts. If we don't show up and bring some facts to these early debates, we waive the right to be annoyed at the outcome later on.
Tune in to watch the first GOP Primary debate with us next week and we'll make it fun and easy with a live feed from the debate, live commentary from our Environmental Action team, and lots of opportunities for you to participate, crack wise, and even submit a question for the Fox News Moderators. Just click here to RSVP and invite some friends.
Four years ago during the Republican primary debate co-sponsored by YouTube, a gay soldier sent a video asking the candidates to take a stand on the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Some members of the audience booed, Rick Santorum (a candidate again this year) agreed with the audience, and it became one of the most talked about early moments of the campaign.6
Now imagine if this year, during the first big debate of the 2016 election, we are able to submit a question about climate change and science to the debate. It could blow-open the GOP Primary field's denial of climate science, and force a major national discussion on climate justice for weeks.
But only if we show up and submit questions and comments in big enough numbers that the Fox news moderators (many of them veterans of that 2012 debate) will take notice.
We've been saying for weeks that the next President has to make some big, important decisions about our climate. Will they keep the commitments President Obama makes at this December's UN summit? Will they expand on the Clean Power Plan's goal to cut global warming pollution from power plants? And how will they protect our communities -- especially the low-income, communities of color and marginalized people most impacted -- from future climate catastrophes like hurricanes, sea level rise, drought and flooding?
If we don't ask candidates seeking the highest office to weigh in on these and other important climate issues, we can't be mad when their positions are ill-informed or under-considered. Click here to RSVP and watch the GOP debate with us next week, and let's bring some climate-critical thinking to the event.
Drew and the GOP Climate Debate Team at Environmental Action
1 - Fox news, Fox news channel to host candidate forum ahead of first GOP primary debate August 6th, June 2015
2 - Kevin Quealy and Amanda Cox, The First G.O.P. Debate: Who’s In, Who’s Out and the Role of Chance, The New York Times, July 29, 2015
3 - Kevin Kalhoefer, STUDY: How The Media Is Covering Presidential Candidates' Climate Science Denial, Media Matters, July 1, 2015
4 - Fox News Ap, Facebook
5 - CNN Politics, Political Prophecy powered by Pivit
6 - Jason Linkins, Republican Debate Audience Boos Gay Soldier Stephen Hill After DADT Repeal Question, Huffington Post, Nov 22, 2011