Second Democratic debate largely steers clear of climate change

Second Democratic debate largely steers clear of climate change
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The second night of Democratic presidential primary debates largely steered clear of climate change, drawing pushback from some green groups that had hoped to see the issue take center stage.

The topic saw roughly seven minutes of airtime during the two-hour debate.

The length of time devoted to the debates angered climate activists who have for months been calling for a debate devoted entirely to the issue.

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“Another debate, another climate section the length of a bathroom break,” tweeted the Sunrise Moevement, a youth advocate-driven group focused on climate issues. 

“By not discussing climate nearly enough, this debate allowed candidates to hide behind vague promises of climate action,” Friends of the Earth tweeted after the debate.

Sunrise Movement and other environmental groups like the Sierra Club, along with candidates such as Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeInslee says Trump coronavirus response akin to if FDR called Pearl Harbor 'a hoax' Green group proposes nearly T infrastructure and clean energy stimulus plan Washington state bishops respond to Trump's push to reopen churches: 'We will wait' MORE, have called repeatedly for a debate devoted solely to climate change. 

But the Democratic National Committee has rejected those calls, with 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 saying, "It’s just not practical."

Inslee, a long shot presidential hopeful who appeared in the first round of debates on Wednesday, renewed his call for a climate-focused debate following Thursday's round.

"Fifteen minutes in four hours of debate is not enough time for candidates to put forward the bold plans needed to defeat climate change," he said in a statement.

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump campaign launches Asian Pacific Americans coalition Biden: 'More than one African American woman' being considered for VP Liberal group asks Klobuchar to remove herself from VP consideration because of prosecutorial record MORE, Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisThe Memo: Trump ratchets up Twitter turmoil Biden: 'More than one African American woman' being considered for VP Klobuchar on defense as Floyd death puts spotlight on record MORE (D-Calif) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe battle of two Cubas Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Rep. Ro Khanna Democrats gear up to hit GOP senators on DACA MORE (I-Vt.) were asked to weigh in on their climate plans. South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBiden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Here's how Biden can win over the minority vote and the Rust Belt MORE, former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperThe 10 Senate seats most likely to flip OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Coal company sues EPA over power plant pollution regulation | Automakers fight effort to freeze fuel efficiency standards | EPA watchdog may probe agency's response to California water issues McConnell gives two vulnerable senators a boost with vote on outdoor recreation bill MORE, and author Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonMarianne Williamson touts endorsements for progressive congressional candidates The Hill's 12:30 Report: Warren becomes latest 2020 rival to back Biden The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden looks to stretch lead in Tuesday contests MORE also offered their proposals surrounding the issue.

Harris, who referred to climate change as a crisis and reiterated her support for the Green New Deal, attacked President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichael Flynn transcripts reveal plenty except crime or collusion 50 people arrested in Minneapolis as hundreds more National Guard troops deployed Missouri state lawmaker sparks backlash by tweeting 'looters deserve to be shot' MORE for his lack of leadership on the issue.

“The fact that we have a President of the United States who embraces science fiction over science fact will be to our collective peril,” she said.

Biden broke down some of the expenses of his $5 trillion climate plan, saying he would insist on installing 500,000 charging stations across the U.S. so that the nation could reach “a full electric vehicle future” by 2030. He added that he wants to invest $400 million in green energy research.

Hickenlooper stressed his past work with the oil and gas industry to reduce methane emissions, but cautioned against demonizing businesses.

“I think we’ve got to recognize that only by bringing people together, businesses and nonprofits — and we can’t demonize every business. We’ve got to bring them together to be part of this, too,” he said, otherwise, “we will be doomed to failure.” 

Sanders, who has yet to release a climate plan for 2020, vowed to transition the U.S. away from fossil fuels to sustainable energy, saying the U.S should spend more money on sustainable energy sources than the military and foreign intervention.

“What the president of the United States should do is not deny the reality of climate change,” he said, adding “Instead of spending a trillion and a half [dollars] on weapons and destruction, let us get together for the common enemy.”