Week in Review: August 2, 2019

Aug 2, 2019

The climate crisis and clean water were two important issues featured in and around the second 2020 Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN this week in Detroit. 

Before the debate, LCV and Michigan League of Conservation Voters joined hundreds of people at a rally to Make Detroit the Engine of the Green New Deal, led by local community members at the forefront of the environmental justice movement.

LCV and the Michigan LCV also released new polling data showing that the majority of Michigan voters—77 percent—believe environmental and climate issues are important, and that there is strong support for moving to a completely clean energy economy by 2050. Michigan voters are also especially concerned about water quality—75 percent of voters say it is important for a candidate to commit to a strong investment in Michigan water structure. 

And candidates were paying attention. Over both nights of the second Democratic primary debate we saw 26 minutes devoted to the climate crisis and environmental issues with more questions asked by debate moderators and more in-depth conversation between candidates about their plans. And we’ll keep fighting for more as we prepare for the next debate as well as the CNN and MSNBC climate forums all coming up in September 

LCV has pulled some of the top quotes from the debates below. For more coverage on how climate played out in the debates and continues to be a top issue in this primary, check out

Night 1

Steve Bullock: “We got to make sure to aid in those transition as we get to a carbon neutral world, which I think we can do by 2020.”

Pete Buttigieg: “We can tell our kids that before we ran out of time, just before we ran out of time, in 2020, we did what it took to deliver a climate that we didn’t have to wonder if it could support us.”

John Delaney: “My plan, which gets us to net zero by 2050, which we absolutely have to do for our kids and our grandkids, will get us there.”

John Hickenlooper: “We need every country working together if we’re going to really deal with climate change in a realistic way.”

Amy Klobuchar: “I truly believe that if we’re going to move on infrastructure and climate change, you need a voice from the Heartlands.”

Beto O’Rourke: “I’ve listened to the scientists on this, and they’re very clear. We don’t have more than 10 years to get this right.”

Tim Ryan: “We need to convert our industrial agriculture system over to a sustainable and regenerative agriculture system that actually sequesters carbon into the soil.”

Bernie Sanders: “Please don’t tell me that we cannot take on the fossil fuel industry. And nothing happens unless we do that.”

Elizabeth Warren: “Climate crisis is the existential crisis for our world. It puts every living thing on this planet at risk.”

Marianne Williamson: “Communities of color and disadvantaged communities across the country are suffering from climate injustice.”

Night 2

Michael Bennet: “Donald Trump should be the last #climate denier that’s ever in the White House.”

Joe Biden: “We will end any subsidies for coal or any other fossil fuel. But we have to also engage the world while we’re doing it. We have to walk and chew gum at the same time.”

Cory Booker: “[C]limate change is not a separate issue. It must be the issue and the lens with which we view every issue.”

Julian Castro: “I was back in Flint about six weeks ago, and I released a plan to invest $50 billion so that we remove lead as a major public health threat.”

Bill de Blasio: “We’ve declared the eradication of all lead, literally ending the notion of lead poisoning once and all as the goal of our administration, and we’re doing something about it.”

Tulsi Gabbard: “Growing up [in Hawaii], protecting our environment was not a political issue, it’s a way of life. It’s part of our culture.”

Kirsten Gillibrand: “I will not only sign the Paris global climate accords, but I will lead a worldwide conversation about the urgency of this crisis.”

Kamala Harris: “We must have and adopt a green new deal. On day one as president, I would re-enter us in the Paris agreement.”

Jay Inslee: “Climate change is not a singular issue…It is health. It is national security. It is our economy.”

Andrew Yang: “We need to do everything we can to start moving the climate in the right direction, but we also need to start moving our people to higher ground.”