Will the Candidates End the “Climate Silence” Tonight?

Image courtesy of <a href="http://climatesilence.org/">ClimateSilence.org</a>


The final debate before the presidential election will take place tonight in Boca Raton, Florida. Since it’s focused on foreign policy, might the candidates finally be asked directly about climate change—arguably the biggest foreign policy challenge issue for the future?

A lot of people are hoping so. After last week’s debate, moderator Candy Crowley said she had a question “for all you climate people,” but she didn’t get to it before the debate wrapped up. So far, all the talk has been about “energy independence,” while “climate change” is the issue that shall not be named.

Maybe Florida will be different. It is, after all, a state surrounded by water and highly vulnerable to sea level rise. The state includes eight of the ten cities most likely to be affected by rising seas and increased storm surges, putting 2.4 million people and 1.3 million homes at risk, according to a report from Climate Central earlier this year.

This is why more than 120 scientists and public officials in Florida have signed a letter asking President Obama and Governor Romney to address sea level rise at this week’s debate. The letter asks the candidates to discuss three questions that are of great importance for Florida and other states facing similar challenges:

– What will be the federal government’s planning and policy priorities in order to reduce the risks of future sea level rise?

– What will be the polices for adaptive measures to respond to current and future impacts of sea level rise?

– How would you work with the rest of the world to address rising sea levels and other effects of climate change?

Meanwhile, Forecast the Facts and Friends of the Earth Action have started an online petition and campaign asking the candidates to stop the “climate silence.” ” “National elections should be a time when our nation considers the great challenges and opportunities the next President will face,” the groups write. “But the climate conversation of 2012 has been defined by a deafening silence.”

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

MORE HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.