The first presidential debate is Tuesday, Sept. 29. Moms across the country have been raising our voices to demand that Chris Wallace — host of Fox News on Sunday and this debate’s moderator — ask the candidates how they will protect our children from climate catastrophe.
Yet in the list of topics announced for this debate, the climate was conspicuously missing. This is unacceptable.
The topics proposed for this debate are some of the most critical facing our country. But like the issue of climate change, they do not exist in a vacuum. Each of these topics deserves multiple questions — including one about the changing climate.
Here are just a few examples for ways climate needs to be addressed within the debate topics:
If carbon and methane emissions are not aggressively reduced, quickly, global warming will have a crippling impact on the American economy—as described in chilling detail by the bipartisan report from Commodities Future Trading Commission. Already, huge swathes of the country are being ravaged by weather events on steroids, amped up by a warmer climate. This will get worse.
What is your plan, as President, to reduce climate pollution in order to protect the long-term stability of our economy?
The Supreme Court:
With the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whoever wins this election should have the opportunity to appoint a new Supreme Court Justice. In addition to her trailblazing commitment to protecting women, Justice Ginsburg leaves behind a legacy of protecting millions of Americans impacted by climate pollution. She was a staunch advocate for equal rights under the law and the right to clean air.
As President, will you appoint a new Supreme Court justice that will work to ensure that our children are protected from pollution under the law?
The Covid-19 pandemic has ruthlessly impacted communities across the country. Those that are facing the worst impacts are the same communities that live in the shadow of climate change and pollution. Living with environmental threats from dirty air to extreme weather causes the same health impacts — asthma, heart disease, and more — that make one more susceptible to the most dangerous impacts of Covid-19. We cannot consider these communities as disposable.
What will you do as President to address the environmental threats to public health that are making people across our country even sicker in the wake of this pandemic?
In the United States, Black and Latinx communities across income levels are most likely to live with the most dangerous impacts of pollution. These communities contribute the least to climate pollution, yet face the brunt of its destruction. No child should breathe dirty air because of the color of her skin or the neighborhood she lives in.
As President, what will you do to combat the extreme disparity when it comes to exposure to pollution and race?
Moms need answers to these questions. And anyone seeking the highest office in the land should come to these debates with clear answers and plans to protect our children.
We’re not the only ones asking for answers on climate. A group of 37 senators has also joined the fight, urging that the candidates address climate change as the critical threat it is to our communities.
As parents, it’s up to us to demand answers.