Delaney rips DNC over climate debate rejection: 'How does that possibly make sense?'

Former Rep. John DelaneyJohn Kevin Delaney2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the November forum Poll: Biden holds 20-point lead in South Carolina Deval Patrick: a short runway, but potential to get airborne MORE (D-Md.) on Monday slammed the Democratic National Committee (DNC) over its decision not to hold a presidential primary debate focused on climate change.

“I don’t think it’s a great decision, I think the DNC is micromanaging this process way too much,” the White House hopeful told Hill.TV’s Jamal Simmons and Saagar Enjeti during an interview on “Rising.”

“For the DNC to say that candidates can’t engage in a climate change debate — how does that possibly make sense?” he asked. “We should debate the issues the American people want us to debate, not what the DNC thinks we should debate.”

“It feels to me like they’re trying to pick the candidate,” Delaney added.

The DNC last week voted down a measure for a standalone debate on climate change.

Democratic leadership gave the matter further consideration over the weekend at the party’s convention in San Francisco, but again voted no, according to several news outlets.

DNC Chair Tom PerezThomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE, who opposed calls for a separate climate debate, said the committee has received “dozens” of requests to hold single-issue debates. He argued it would be a mistake to "change the rules in the middle of the process."

Delaney told Hill.TV he was personally baffled by the decision, noting that climate change has become a key issue in the crowded Democratic primary field and a top concern among the party’s voters.

In May, Delaney released a climate action plan, a $4 trillion proposal that includes a tax on carbon emissions and renewable energy investments.

The proposal also calls for negative emissions technologies, which would effectively remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sequester it. Delaney said the technology already exists, but there isn't really a market for it yet.

“Unless the United States of America creates the technologies that can get the world off fossil fuels, we will never solve this problem,” Delaney said.

According to a CBS News poll from July, 78 percent of Democratic voters in early contest states like Iowa and New Hampshire said climate change was a "very important" issue.

—Tess Bonn