Energy & Environment

Trump declines to participate in Weather Channel 2020 climate change special

President Trump will not appear in a Weather Channel climate change special airing next month that features Democrats and Republicans looking to challenge the president in 2020. 

The Weather Channel announced the one-hour "2020: Race to Save the Planet" special Monday. It will air on Nov. 7. 

In addition to top Democratic candidates, the special will feature all three of Trump's long-shot Republican challengers. The president, a climate change skeptic, is not in the lineup, although The Weather Channel said it extended an invitation to Trump.

Trump declined to participate, according to The Associated Press

A Trump campaign spokesperson was not immediately available for comment. 

Although Trump won't be participating, the special won't ignore him or what his administration has been doing, Rick Knabb, the network's on-air hurricane expert and former director of the National Hurricane Center, told the AP.

Knabb conducted the candidate interviews along with meteorologist Stephanie Abrams and climate desk journalists Sarah Holder, Jamilah King, Rebecca Leber, Brentin Mock and Nikhil Swaminathan. 

The interviews were recorded in communities impacted by extreme weather that "have seen the effects of the changing climate firsthand," according to the network. 

"Extreme weather events are increasing due to climate change, and they affect every American in many ways, from our safety to our finances. ... We look forward to showing viewers how the presidential candidates aim to address this critical issue," Knabb said in the announcement.

The Democratic candidates who are participating are Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.), Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (Texas) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg. 

The Weather Channel decided to pick the top seven Democrats in the polls at the time of the programming decision, a network spokesperson said. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden was also invited, the network said, but will not appear in the special. Biden's campaign told the AP it was a scheduling issue. 

Biden's campaign was not immediately available for comment when contacted by The Hill. 

Republican challengers former Rep. Joe Walsh (Ill.), former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld and former Rep. Mark Sanford (S.C.) are also participating. 

Climate activists have pushed the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to hold a climate-focussed debate, but the DNC has said it will not hold an issue-based debate. 

Last month, CNN hosted a seven-hour town hall on climate change with 10 Democratic contenders.