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 Inslee2020 Democrats defend climate priorities in MSNBC forum Overnight Energy: Trump officials formally revoke California emissions waiver | EPA's Wheeler dodges questions about targeting San Francisco over homelessness | 2020 Dems duke it out at second climate forum Yang floats nominating Inslee as 'climate czar' 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 BidenUkrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' Warren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll MORE, Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll Iowa GOP swipes at 2020 Democrats' meat positions as candidates attend annual Steak Fry Warren avoids attacks while building momentum MORE (D-Calif) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll The polls are asking the wrong question Sanders unveils plan to eliminate Americans' medical debt MORE (I-Vt.) were asked to weigh in on their climate plans. South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll The polls are asking the wrong question Booker aide sounds alarm about campaign's funding MORE, former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperLeft off debate stage, Bullock all-in on Iowa Yang says he would not run as a third-party candidate The Hill's Morning Report - Hurricane Dorian devastates the Bahamas, creeps along Florida coast MORE, and author Marianne WilliamsonMarianne Williamson2020 Democrats defend climate priorities in MSNBC forum Overnight Energy: Trump officials formally revoke California emissions waiver | EPA's Wheeler dodges questions about targeting San Francisco over homelessness | 2020 Dems duke it out at second climate forum Williamson: Climate change result of an 'amoral' economic system 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 TrumpAlaska Republican Party cancels 2020 primary Ukrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' 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.”