Democrats face off on climate change positions in first debate

Democrats face off on climate change positions in first debate
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A group of Democratic presidential hopefuls sparred over climate change policies Wednesday night, spending several minutes discussing the issue in the first primary debate of the 2020 race.
 
Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats clash over future of party in heated debate 5 takeaways from fiery Democratic debate Left off debate stage, Bullock all-in on Iowa MORE, former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeOvernight Energy: Top presidential candidates to skip second climate forum | Group sues for info on 'attempts to politicize' NOAA | Trump allows use of oil reserve after Saudi attacks Five top 2020 Democrats haven't committed to MSNBC climate forum Yang campaign says it received 450K entries for 'Freedom Dividend' contest MORE (Texas), former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) John RyanOvernight Energy: Top presidential candidates to skip second climate forum | Group sues for info on 'attempts to politicize' NOAA | Trump allows use of oil reserve after Saudi attacks Five top 2020 Democrats haven't committed to MSNBC climate forum Progressive tax-the-rich push gains momentum MORE (Ohio) and former Rep. John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyTrump campaign mocks Democratic debate: 'Another informercial for President Trump' The Hill's 12:30 Report: House panel approves impeachment powers Sanders slips in NH, Biden and Warren in statistical dead heat MORE (Md.) all agreed that climate change was happening and should to be dealt with.
 
Inslee, who has based nearly his entire campaign on combating climate change, argued that he was the only Democratic candidate who would promise to make the issue their first priority if elected to the White House.
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"The most important thing on this, and the biggest thing for the American public, is — who is going to make this the first priority?" Inslee said. "I am the only candidate who says this has to be the top issue."
 
O'Rourke, who like Inslee has introduced a policy proposal to address climate change if he were to win, pointed to carbon capture as a method he'd utilize to fix the issue.
 
"Houston and Miami, those people are on the front lines of climate change today — we are going to free ourselves from the dependence of fossil fuels and capture more carbon in the air, and keep more in the soil," he said.
 
Pointing to his time spent in hurricane-devastated San Juan, Puerto Rico, Castro said his first focus would be on repledging the U.S. to the Paris climate agreement, which President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE announced a withdrawal from in 2017.
 
Ryan dodged offering specifics on a climate plan he might have, instead warning that Democrats risked losing middle-class and Midwestern voters by focusing on "coastal" and "Ivy League issues."
 
"We can talk about climate. We can talk about guns. We can talk about all of these issues we care about. We have a perception problem with the Democratic Party," he said.
 
"We are not connecting to the middle-class people. We have got to hinge the center of gravity from being coastal and elitist and Ivy League ... to getting those workers back on our side so we can say we are going to build solar, we are going to build electric vehicles."
 
Candidates debated potential approaches to combating climate change after the topic was raised by moderators near the end of the two-hour debate.
The candidates were among 10 who appeared in the first Democratic presidential debate Wednesday night, along with Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth Kamala Harris calls for new investigation into Kavanaugh allegations MORE (Mass.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharObama, Bush among those paying tribute to Cokie Roberts: 'A trailblazing figure' Kamala Harris calls for new investigation into Kavanaugh allegations Overnight Energy: Top presidential candidates to skip second climate forum | Group sues for info on 'attempts to politicize' NOAA | Trump allows use of oil reserve after Saudi attacks MORE (Minn.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerOvernight Energy: Top presidential candidates to skip second climate forum | Group sues for info on 'attempts to politicize' NOAA | Trump allows use of oil reserve after Saudi attacks Poll: 33 percent of voters undecided on who won third Democratic debate Jon Bon Jovi: Booker would 'do an amazing job' as president MORE (N.J.) as well as Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardGabbard: Trump doesn't have power to use US military for Saudi Arabia's interests Gabbard ramps up Trump criticism: 'We are not prostitutes. You are not our pimp' Overnight Defense: Trump says he doesn't want war with Iran | Pentagon chief calls attack on Saudi oil facilities 'unprecedented' | Administration weighs response | 17th US service member killed in Afghanistan this year MORE (Hawaii) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.