2016 Election

Debate moderators yet again ignored climate change, and Twitter is having none of it


Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during the final Presidential Debate in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo credit: Adam Schultz / Hillary for America via Flickr.

By Anders Lorenzen

The omission of debate around climate change has been an occurring theme in the Presidential Debates in the 2016 US Election. With all three debates now over, the moderators have not once brought up the issue of climate change. In the bitter campaign between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, personal attacks have taken centre stage. And when discussion finally centred around policies it has been issues like national debt, terrorism, wars and immigration. The closest we got to climate change was during the second debate with audience member Ken Bone, who has since become a superstar for his question about energy policies. Here Clinton went on to talk about clean energy and climate change commitments, as she did in two other debates on her own initiative.

But in none of the three debates (four if you count the Vice President Debate) did the moderators find it necessary to either ask a climate-related question or to allow one to be asked from the audience. This despite pressure from green groups and environmentalists, who took to Twitter to complain about it.

Maria Langholz tweeted this graph that climate change and clean energy policies are much more likely to win the vote of millennials, as this ranks as a top issue for the age group.

James Andrews called it a national embarrassment:

Brian L Kahn also voiced his frustration:

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said that the debate moderators have failed on this issue:

Author and activist, Naomi Klein was not impressed either:

And the Intercept’s Peter Maass:

Founder of Vox.com Ezra Klein said that the moderators had got their priorities completely wrong:


And Christopher N. Fox from the sustainability advocacy group Ceres, paid respect to Clinton for raising climate change and clean energy in all three debates:

One thing is sure, mainstream TV networks who host the debates,are not only seen to be out of touch with what is the world’s most pressing issue. They are also out of touch with what the majority of young people in the US care about.

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