Podesta: The Climate Crisis is Here. We Cannot Continue to Ignore its Threat.

TO:             Interested Parties
FROM:      John Podesta, Climate Power 2020
RE:             The Climate Crisis is Here. We Cannot Continue
                     to Ignore its Threat.

By 2030, without climate action, 100 million people will be pushed into poverty, and by 2050, 143 million people will be displaced from their homes by climate change. Two separate reports have warned of a 10%  GDP loss from the United States economy annually due to climate change.

This year has given us a stark preview of how extreme weather will continue to increase in both frequency and intensity and disrupt our daily lives. Right now, there are climate fires raging across the West, extreme temperatures bearing down across the country, and a record-breaking hurricane season impacting the Gulf and East coasts.

The climate crisis is here. It’s destroying communities, killing Black, Brown, and Indigenous individuals, putting our entire country at risk. But you wouldn’t know that from the attention presidential and vice-presidential debate moderators have given the crisis over the past twenty years.

It’s been 12 years since the candidates running for president and vice president have been asked about their views on the climate crisis by a moderator during a general election debate. Before that, it was the 2000 contest between Al Gore and George W. Bush when climate change — then called global warming — made an appearance when Gore was asked if he still believed we needed a “transformation to save the planet.”

Our climate is changing so rapidly that it’s impossible to ignore the crisis. Expert after expert and scientist after scientist is sounding the alarm, warning that we cannot wait any longer to boldly put forward real solutions to the climate crisis. The consequences of waiting now mean we teeter toward irreversible damage.

This year, we’ve seen the full force of the climate crisis right before our eyes in unbelievably strong storms, deadly hurricanes, raging wildfires, and back-breaking heat. It’s not going to get better. The death toll and destruction will continue to steadily climb because climate change is transforming weather into a vehicle of destruction.

It’s clear: We’ve run out of time waiting for debate moderators to give the climate crisis the serious attention science tells us we must. We cannot afford to wait another moment for our country to take bold climate action – and that starts with making climate a focus in the presidential debates.