Debate Must Not Avoid Flood of Climate Impacts

Wetlands along U.S. coastlines and around the world are at risk from sea level rise. | Photo: NOAA
Tonight’s debate on foreign policy issues is a critical chance to address climate change.

As Secretary of State Clinton noted last week when speaking on energy diplomacy, climate change is central to global economic, environmental and security interests.

Rising sea levels will not only affect Florida–where the debate is being held–but nations across the globe. Worsened floods in low-lying nations, droughts in arid regions and other natural disasters will lead to new conflicts over refugees and resources, calling for U.S. support and resources.

Dangerous Omission of “Climate Change” in Debates

One cannot easily talk about energy and foreign policy without using the words “carbon pollution” or “climate change”, yet that is exactly what the candidates, debate moderators and media have managed to do up to this point.

The omission is a dangerous one.

If the avoidance continues, it will be the first time since 1984 that the debates have been silent on climate change–as Orwellian a denial of the truth as there ever was.  As Americans prepare to vote and candidates lay out their plans for being a world leader in the foreign policy debate, avoidance of the climate change elephant in the room must stop.

Voters Petition Bob Schieffer to Ask About Climate

Noting the threat of climate change to ecosystems around the globe, over 22,400 supporters of the National Wildlife Federation signed a pledge urging Bob Schieffer, host of Face the Nation and tonight”s debate moderator, to ask the candidates to speak to climate change during the final presidential debate. These voters want to hear the candidates address climate change, signing the petition saying:

Now is the time to answer the questions that are critical to our nation’s role in the international community and critical to me: what are the presidential candidates’ plans to tackle climate change for the sake of my family, our wildlife and future generations?

Addressing climate change is a global issue and speaks to values all of us hold– leaving our children an environment and world that is better off than we inherited.

This summer’s extreme weather harmed our nation’s communities, crops and wildlife–and mirror crises happening across the globe. They are a poignant warning that these problems and impacts will escalate in the future unless we begin to tackle the climate change crisis.

Mr. Schieffer, please take this seriously the implications of climate change to our nation’s foreign policy by prompting the candidates to address climate in their remarks during the final presidential debate.

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