WASHINGTON, DC - League of Conservation Voters (LCV) President Gene Karpinski issued this statement in light of MSNBC's Democratic Debate in New Hampshire last night:
"Last night's debate was another missed opportunity to discuss the most pressing domestic issue of our time - global warming.
It is stunning that the debate moderator found time to discuss a national smoking ban, the drinking age, Bible verses and baseball, yet not a word about the candidates' plans for avoiding the coming climate crisis.
Mr. Russert's lone feeble foray into energy policy was in the context of a proposal on gas taxes that no one takes seriously. And the half-hearted, "yes or no" follow-up on nuclear power did very little to enhance the voters' understanding of where the candidates stand on America's energy future.
Certainly, the war, health care and social security are worthy topics of lengthy discussion. But to ignore global warming is to ignore the voters:
· Over 150 town halls in New Hampshire voted to urge the candidates to address global warming.
· Two thirds of the state legislators in South Carolina, Democrats and Republicans alike, want a substantive debate on our energy future.
· Ninety percent of Democrats, 80 percent of Independents and 60 percent of Republicans said immediate action was required to curb the warming of the atmosphere and deal with its effects on the global climate (NYT/CBS Poll, 4/27/07).
The candidates themselves are addressing energy and global warming in their campaigns, and voters are making it clear to them that the next president must make the U.S. a global leader on this issue. Find out more at www.heatison.org.
While coverage of global warming in general is on the rise with major dailies, local papers, newsweeklies and networks devoting more time, space and resources to this issue, unfortunately, political reporters and debate moderators have inexplicably failed to do the same. The sad fact is that Mr. Russert is not alone in ignoring this issue. ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, failed to bring up global warming in the Sunday morning debates he hosted in Iowa last month.
Even President Bush - someone who has spent nearly 7 years denying and delaying action on global warming - now acknowledges that we must address the issue. This, it appears, is more than can be said for the mainstream media who have hosted the 2008 Presidential Debates. And in light of the fact that the debate was held on the eve of the President's meetings with the largest global warming polluters, the omission of the issue from the debate is even more perplexing.
That is why the America's Forum on Global Warming and Energy Future, to be sponsored by Google, The League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, California LCVEF, NRDC Action Fund, and the Center for American Progress Action Fund will be so important. The mainstream press has dropped the ball."
The nonprofit League of Conservation Voters (LCV) is the independent political voice for the environment. To secure the environmental future of our planet, LCV's mission is to advocate for sound environmental policies and to elect pro-environmental candidates who will adopt and implement such policies. For more information, please visit us on the web at www.lcv.org.