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Coalition Drops Off More Than 160,000 Debate Petitions to Jim Lehrer

Contact: Jeff Gohringer, 202-454-4573 or

September 27, 2012  

WASHINGTON – A coalition of nine national non-profit organizations, including the League of Conservation Voters, Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, The Climate Reality Project,,, iMatter Campaign and Moms Clean Air Force, dropped off more than 160,000 debate petitions to Jim Lehrer today, urging him to ask President Obama and Governor Romney about climate change during the first presidential debate next week. The debate will be held October 3rd in Colorado and focus entirely on domestic issues.  

“Millions of voters will be watching this first presidential debate to hear how the candidates plan to address the nation’s most urgent challenges – and the American people deserve to hear a substantive, meaningful conversation about confronting the climate crisis and building a clean energy economy,” said Vanessa Kritzer, Online Campaigns Manager at the League of Conservation Voters.

"It would be a disservice to the millions of Americans who have been affected by devastating droughts, extreme heat waves, and violent storms this year to ignore the climate crisis that’s threatening our children’s future. Big polluters may be trying to buy the election with their billions, but we shouldn’t let them dominate the public debate." - John Coequyt, Director of International Climate Programs, Sierra Club 

 “If the debate is intended to cover our nation’s most important challenges, climate change must be part of the discussion.  The threat to our environment is simply too great to ignore – as are the economic benefits of a clean energy future,” said Steve Cochran, Vice President of Climate & Air at Environmental Defense Fund.

“Energy companies are financing an unprecedented campaign to influence the election as families struggle to deal with the effects of extreme heat waves and drought this year.  Voters want to know how the next president will work to solve the climate crisis that is knocking on the door today and staring our future generations right in the face,” said Joe Mendelson, Director of Climate and Energy Policy at National Wildlife Federation.

“Dirty weather caused by climate change is a major threat to our way of life,” said Maggie L. Fox, President and CEO of The Climate Reality Project. “Drought, heat waves and extreme storms are impacting the world on a daily basis. But we can’t get to the important work of debating and implementing solutions if the candidates won’t even talk about the problem. That’s why it’s imperative that we bring climate change into the presidential debates.”

“MomsRising, representing more than a million moms across the country, strongly urges Jim Lehrer to ask the presidential candidates about this pressing issue and what they will do to ensure that our nation addresses it,” said Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Executive Director and CEO of MomsRising.

“Climate change is a global challenge that affects Americans and people worldwide. The next leader of the free world must have a plan to address it. What good is a debate about bolstering the economy when the environment it rests upon is degrading? Mr. Lehrer must hold President Obama and Governor Romney accountable on this critical issue,” said Don Kraus, CEO,   



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