Thought of the Week: Climate Change in the Presidential Debates

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Two debates in, and the 2016 U.S presidential race is in full swing. The world watches with abated breath as the candidates throw their weight around the stage. With escalating political turmoil across the Middle East, a refugee crisis spilling over into Europe and strained East-West relationships, all overshadowed by a looming worldwide environmental catastrophe, this election could well be the most important in recent history, with global knock-on effects for generations to come.

Climate change was recently listed by the Pew Research Center as the greatest global threat to human well-being. Surely a worthy topic of debate for contenders of the most powerful political position in the West, if not the world.

It also ranks highly as a public concern, supposedly the cornerstone of democratic electoral systems. The Gallup annual environmental survey showed: “Sixty-four percent of Americans said that they are either worried a “great deal” or “fair amount” about global warming.” This alongside a Pew poll in 2014 which concluded: “Nearly two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults favor stricter limits on power plant emissions to address climate change, while 31% oppose such regulations.” All in all, the American electorate is more concerned about climate change now than in the last 8 years.

A recently published article by Grist (found here) showed that over the course of two Clinton-Trump debates, climate change received a paltry 325 seconds of discussion time. This isn’t a new issue either; over the last five election cycles, presidential candidates have barely scraped together a total 37 minutes of conversation regarding the environment.

So why is the issue being avoided? What factors are involved? Can this really be called democracy?

What do you think? Let us know! Comment, share, subscribe. Help us grow the Vine 🙂

 

References and more info:

Climate Change Seen as a Top Global Threat – Pew Global

The Environment and the 2016 Elections – Huff Post

Concern for environmental issues rises ahead of 2016 elections – MSNBC

Climate Change got 325 seconds in two presidential debates – Grist

 

 

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