Climate change overlooked in first presidential debate

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Sci/Tech Editor

Climate change sat on the back burner for the majority of Monday night’s presidential debate, except for two notable moments: a mention of solar panels during a discussion about the economy and a plea by one candidate to fight climate change.

Despite a significant majority of climate scientists claiming that climate change is real and needs to be addressed immediately to preserve our planet as we know it, the candidates were not asked directly about the topic.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Courtesy of Gage Skidmore (modified)
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Courtesy of Gage Skidmore (modified)

Instead, the entirety of discussion on climate change consisted of a jab by Hillary Clinton at Donald Trump, where she claimed, “Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.”

Though Trump refuted the claim, campaign staff apparently deleted a tweet of his during the debate, from 2012, which read: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

The only other mention of a push for green solutions was Clinton’s encouragement of the production of solar panels as a way to create jobs. Trump responded by referring to a major investment the Obama administration made in bankrupt green energy company Solyndra, calling it “a disaster.”

While any mention of climate change is considered progress after receiving exactly zero mentions during any of the 2012 Obama-Romney debates, most scientists in the field would argue it deserves more attention.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Courtesy of Marc Nozell
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Courtesy of Marc Nozell

Moderator Lester Holt of NBC asked no questions on the subject despite expectations it could be a major issue.

Some predictive models suggest ocean rise will displace billions of people throughout the world over the next few decades, while others claim the Earth’s rising temperature will lead to unpredictable new weather patterns.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein discussed climate change during a town hall at Hofstra University a few hours prior to the debate. However, even the candidate of the Green Party failed to mention climate change during her live-tweeting of the entirety of Monday night’s debate.

The two remaining presidential debates will be moderated by news anchors Martha Raddatz of ABC and Chris Wallace of Fox, though Holt was the most likely of the three to ask about climate change.

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