The C Word: Not One Presidential Debate Included a Climate Question

Shhhh…..climate change. This is the threat to national security, economic security, and life on earth as we know it that didn’t merit Even. One. Question. in the past 3 presidential debates. That's one fewer question than Trump’s tweets or Clinton’s “look.”

If things have been a bit surreal throughout this election, this should be another of those moments.

The closest a question came to climate change was momentary internet-sensation Ken Bone’s question about “energy.” Mr. Bone and his red sweater work in a coal plant – but at least he hinted that he knows something’s got to give.*

It almost – almost – seems like climate change isn’t a priority around here. It’s almost as if people don’t realize that the Pentagon itself has already named climate change as “an urgent and growing threat” to national security. (Nevermind that the Pentagon is one of the biggest consumers of fossil fuels on earth).

Well. Deep breath. We have work to do, but things may not be as bad as they seem: a few years ago, most people didn’t think (or know if) climate change was real. That has turned around. And a few days ago, a major international deal was reached to limit hydroflourocarbons – little molecules in fridges and air conditioners that escape and cause climate change. That will make a dent in climate change, and even better, it sets a precedent for reaching agreements that nobody thought would be possible.

Now, whoever wins the election both for president and control of Congress – we have to make sure they’re asked about it. And we have to make sure they answer.


*Ok, one candidate – Hillary Clinton – did drop the words “climate change,” saying “So I have a comprehensive energy policy, but it really does include fighting climate change, because I think that is a serious problem.”