Sunrise Movement activist warns 2020 could be 'last best chance' to combat climate change

An activist at the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led climate group, is warning that the U.S. has little time to get ahead of climate change and calling the 2020 vote pivotal.

“We’re totally past the point — we have 11 years to radically transform every sector of our economy and the 2020 election is the last best chance to elect a president that will be able to do that, meaningfully,” Lauren Maunus, a policy and political coordinator for the group, told Hill.TV during an interview Thursday.

Maunus added that she was disappointed with the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) decision to not hold a debate focused on climate, but said the activist group will continue to advocate for the issue on a national scale.

“We’re really shifting the ground under their feet,” she said of the DNC. “We’ll continue organizing by the millions.”

Maunus’s comments come after the DNC voted down a resolution that would allow Democratic presidential hopefuls to take part in a standalone climate debate.

A number of Democratic candidates blasted the committee's decision, and the move has sparked a broader discussion about the need for single-issue debates on a range of issues. 

Though climate change has been a subject of debate in the last two presidential primary debates, environmental activists argue that it’s not enough to confront the rising threat, which has become a key issue in the Democratic presidential primary. 

In response, both CNN and MSNBC announced this week that they will host climate-focused forums next month.

Several Democratic presidential candidates and one Republican primary challenger to President TrumpDonald TrumpChinese apps could face subpoenas, bans under Biden executive order: report Kim says North Korea needs to be 'prepared' for 'confrontation' with US Ex-Colorado GOP chair accused of stealing more than 0K from pro-Trump PAC MORE will appear in the climate change forum moderated by MSNBC in September. The event will also include Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOVERNIGHT ENERGY:  EPA announces new clean air advisors after firing Trump appointees |  Senate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior | Watchdog: Bureau of Land Management saw messaging failures, understaffing during pandemic Overnight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 Democratic senators press PhRMA over COVID-19 lobbying efforts  MORE (I-Vt.) and South Bend Ind. Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegHigh-speed rail getting last minute push in Congress Buttigieg: Bipartisan deal on infrastructure 'strongly preferred' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden ends infrastructure talks with key Republican | Colonial Pipeline CEO grilled over ransomware attack | Texas gov signs bills to improve power grid after winter storm MORE (D). Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill WeldWilliam (Bill) WeldThe Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? Ralph Gants, chief justice of Massachusetts supreme court, dies at 65 The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden visits Kenosha | Trump's double-voting suggestion draws fire | Facebook clamps down on election ads MORE (R) is also poised to take part.

The MSNBC announcement came a day after CNN announced that it plans to host a live seven-hour town hall on climate change, featuring 10 Democratic primary candidates.

Former San Antonio mayor Julián Castro will kick off the CNN event, and Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerZombie Tax punishes farmers to fill DC coffers Rand Paul does not support a national minimum wage increase — and it's important to understand why Absences force Senate to punt vote on Biden nominee MORE (D-N.J.) will appear.

—Tess Bonn