Environmental groups team up to host presidential climate summit

Environmental groups team up to host presidential climate summit
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Environmental groups are teaming up with The New Republic and Gizmodo to host a presidential climate summit after the Democratic National Committee (DNC) refused to hold a climate debate despite calls from progressive groups.

The four-hour discussion will be held on Sept. 23 in New York City during Climate Week NYC. 

It will be moderated by Errol Louis, a political commentator for CNN and NY1, and event co-planners, Emily Atkin from The New Republic and Brian Kahn from Gizmodo.

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The events sponsors include Earthjustice, an environmental legal group, the League of Conservation Voters and Columbia University’s Earth Institute. 

The official invites, with the date, went out Thursday alongside the public announcement, Atkin told The Hill. 

No candidates have yet confirmed if they will attend. But organizers contacted all Democratic candidates back in June with preliminary information notifying them of a climate-focused forum, and received “a lot of interest," Atkin said. 

Organizers said it will be a forum-style event, but that they would change to a debate format if the DNC reverses its prohibition on candidates taking part in non-DNC debates. 

A DNC spokesperson did not immediately respond to The Hill as to whether the party plans to lift the rule. 

The forum will involve each candidate taking the stage one by one to be asked questions by moderators and others.

The New Republic said the League of Conservation Voters will be at the forum to help provide information and context on candidates' voting records.

Columbia University's Earth Institute will also be present make sure questions are in line with current climate science. 

Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert Inslee2020 Democrats react to 'send her back' chants at Trump rally Dems open to killing filibuster in next Congress 2020 Democratic candidates rip Trump remarks at campaign rally MORE (D-Wash.) was the first candidate to call on the DNC to host a climate debate. Since then, the call has grown across the crowded field — and is backed by Democratic voters, according to polls.

Activists with the Sunrise Movement, an environmental advocacy group, rallied outside the DNC headquarters last month ahead of the first round of primary debates. 

In response to Inslee's initial request, DNC Chairman 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 said the committee wouldn't hold any issue-specific debates. 

“If we change our guidelines at the request of one candidate who has made climate change their campaign’s signature issue, how do we say no to the numerous other requests we’ve had?” Perez said in a statement published on Medium.

Updated at 4:49 p.m.