Climate change is AWOL in America's political debates

There is no political issue more pressing than the official inaction on climate change. With time running out to avert hundreds of millions of deaths and global migration, food, disease, and water chaos, with 73% of US voters believing in climate change (albeit with a mere 57% believing it is caused by humans), every one of our political debates should be centered on climate change.

If only.

In a sample of 17 debates between candidates in competitive Senate and Congressional races, Media Matters found only a single question about climate, down from 25% in the 2016 election.

This year, the US blew through all spending records coping with climate change, spending at least $306 billion coping with climate-change-driven extreme weather events. But even in states where climate change has wreaked havoc, the candidates have barely mentioned the issue (and in many cases, they didn't mention it at all).

Connecticut, which is at risk from coastal and inland flooding, has had three gubernatorial debates, without a single climate change question.

The same is true for Kansas, which is at risk from drought, increasing tornadoes, extreme heat, crop failure and inland flooding; and Maine, which is at risk from coastal and inland flooding, as well as extreme heat and drought.

Rhode Island, which is at risk from coastal flooding, extreme heat, sea level rise and inland flooding, had no climate change questions asked during a gubernatorial debate. The same is true for Texas, which faces extreme heat, increasing hurricanes, drought, wildfires, and coastal and inland flooding.

Thus far, the one instance where climate change was brought into the debate was during a gubernatorial race debate in Minnesota, which is at risk from drought and extreme heat.

Scorecard: Debate moderators should be asking climate change questions. Are they? [Evlondo Cooper/Media Matters]

Climate Change Is a Major Midterm Issue. Corporate Media Are Ignoring It. [Dahr Jamail/Truthout]