Twenty Democratic presidential candidates faced off last week in the first debate of the 2020 election. It was a mixed bag — not only for the candidates, but also for climate.

There were more questions on climate change than in previous years, and yet climate issues saw just 15 minutes of airtime over the four hours the contenders were on stage. Did Democrats hit the right notes in their (brief) responses? Or did the first showing justify calls for a dedicated climate debate?

Also, who were the overall winners and losers? And are Democrats more united or divided heading into the race against President Trump?

In this week’s episode, we discuss how did candidates and climate change fared in the first round of debates.

Plus, what the heck happened in Oregon? Republican legislators fled the state last month to resist voting on a cap-and-trade bill, and then fringe right-wing militia groups said they would protect the politicians if law enforcement officials tried to bring them back. We discuss how a climate bill went off the rails and whether Democrats can ever count on Republicans to act in good faith on climate.

Recommended reading:

  • Inside Climate: First 2020 Debates Spent 15 Minutes on Climate Change. What Did We Learn?
  • HuffPo: Democrats to Consider Climate Debate Amid Mounting Pressure
  • NYT: Biden, Recalling ‘Civility’ in Senate, Invokes Two Segregationist Senators
  • NPR: Oregon GOP State Senators Go Into Hiding to Avoid a Climate Vote
  • Oregon Live: How Oregon’s Climate-Change Bill Ran Out of Gas

Political Climate is produced in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute and The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

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