Climate Forum 2020

– video – 
Thursday, September 19 and Friday September 20, 2019 in Gaston Hall at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

12 CANDIDATES: Bennet, Booker, Bullock, Buttigieg, Castro, Delaney, Ryan, Sanders, Steyer, Williamson, Yang and Weld.

Background: In Spring and early Summer 2019, there were significant efforts to persuade the DNC to host a debate focused specifically on climate change.  Gov. Jay Inslee, who staked his candidate on the issue, was a leader in these efforts, and the Sunrise Movement provided activist energy.  Although there was a heated debate and vote on the matter at the DNC's August meeting in San Francisco, the DNC resisted.

This forum, first reported and announced on July 11, was initially scheduled for September 23 in New York City.  It turned out to be the second major event on climate change; on July 25 CNN announced it wouldl hold a Climate Crisis Town Hall.  Participation it the CNN event, a couple on September 4 was limited to those meeting a polling cutoff.  By contrast this event, held over two days, was open to all the major candidates and drew 11 Democrats and Republican Bill Weld.

Below is the schedule for the Climate Forum, to take place on September 19th and 20th. Please note important attendance parameters below:

This event is open to Georgetown University students, faculty, and staff only. Current, valid GU ID required for entry.

Entry is on a first-come, first-served basis throughout the day. Entry will be granted until the hall is at capacity; at the end of each candidate’s time slot—during a 15-minute break between sessions—any open seats in the hall will be filled from the first-come, first-served line. Once you leave during any candidate, you must re-join the first-come, first-served line to re-enter.

No entry/exit is allowed during a candidate’s session.

A live stream of the event will be available online at NBC News Now and Telemundo, and featured over two days of special coverage on “MSNBC Live with Ali Velshi” (M-F 3PM ET), “All In with Chris Hayes” (M-F 8PM ET), and across MSNBC dayside.

Watch here:

Thursday, September 19
8:30 a.m.
Doors Open

9:30 a.m.
Welcome & Introductions

10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Senator Michael Bennet

11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Andrew Yang

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Marianne Williamson

1:45 – 2:45 p.m.
Senator Bernie Sanders

3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Former Representative John Delaney

4:15 – 5:15 p.m.
Representative Tim Ryan

5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Former Secretary Julián Castro

Friday, September 20
8:00 a.m.
Doors Open

9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
Senator Cory Booker

10:15 – 11:15 a.m.
Governor Steve Bullock

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg

12:45 – 1:45 p.m.
Tom Steyer

2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Former Governor Bill Weld

getown University Institute of Politics and Public Service
July 25, 2019

Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service, Our Daily Planet, and MSNBC to Host Climate Forum with 2020 Presidential Candidates

All Declared Candidates from Both Parties to be Invited to Two-Day Forum

The Institute of Politics and Public Service (GU Politics) at Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy and Our Daily Planet, an independent environmental news organization, today announced MSNBC as the media partner for “Climate Forum 2020,” a two-day forum featuring 2020 Presidential candidates in conversation with young voters on the issue of climate change. Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes” and Ali Velshi, host of “MSNBC Live,” will moderate the forum. The event will be streamed live on NBC News Now and featured over two nights of special coverage on "All In with Chris Hayes," which airs weeknights at 8pmET.

All declared 2020 presidential candidates from both political parties have been invited to participate in the town-hall style forum at Georgetown University on Thursday and Friday, September 19th and 20th. [Note new dates.]

Each candidate will begin his/her allotted time by discussing his/her vision for addressing and limiting the effects of climate change in conversation moderated by MSNBC hosts Chris Hayes and Ali Velshi. Candidates will then take questions from students at Georgetown and other DC-area universities, as well as from other partner universities across the country.  

“Poll after poll shows climate change consistently rates as one of the most important issues on the minds of young voters heading into the 2020 election,” said Mo Elleithee, Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service. “Our forum is a tremendous opportunity for each candidate to dive deep into the issue in front of a national audience, while engaging in real dialogue with young voters. We’re thrilled to partner with Our Daily Planet and MSNBC to host that dialogue at Georgetown.”

“We believe it is critical to have a deeper discussion with the Presidential contenders on this urgent issue and are grateful to be working with the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service and MSNBC to make it possible,” adds Monica Medina, Co-Founder of Our Daily Planet.
Additional information will be shared in the coming weeks on our websiteFacebook page, and Twitter feed

WHAT: Climate Forum 2020, a conversation between presidential candidates and young voters on the issue of climate change.

Thursday, September 19th and Friday, September 20th

Gaston Hall, Georgetown University

  • All Declared 2020 Presidential Candidates have been invited
  • Moderated by Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes” and Ali Velshi, host of “MSNBC Live”
  • Students from Georgetown University, other DC-area universities, and early and primary states
  • Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service
  • Our Daily Planet
  • Media interested in attending must RSVP through this form by September 18th, 2019 at 12PM E.T. 
  • Press will need to present valid credentials at check-in.
  • There will be no question and answer for attending press during the events.

The Institute of Politics and Public Service (GU Politics) connects and empowers students and the community in an effort to improve and reimagine politics and public service and reaffirm its promise. Founded as part of Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy in the fall of 2015, GU Politics programming is open to the entire University community.

The Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy is a top-ranked public policy school located in the center of the policy world in Washington, D.C. Our mission is to teach our students to design, analyze, and implement smart policies and put them into practice in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, in the U.S. and around the world.

Our Daily Planet is the largest independent daily environmental newsletter in the U.S., dedicated to illuminating conservation and sustainability issues that are central to the daily lives of Americans. Our Daily Planet brings its readers the most important news on a wide variety of topics, with particular focus on climate change, in a quick and easy to consume format. The newsletter aims to make taking action easy by providing readers with the information they need to get involved and to make informed choices that can make a difference to the planet and all of its inhabitants.  

MSNBC is the premier destination for breaking news and in-depth analysis through commentary and informed perspectives. Reaching more than 96 million households worldwide, MSNBC offers live news coverage, influential voices, and award-winning documentary programming – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. MSNBC also delivers breaking news and information across a variety of platforms including, MSNBC on Sirius XM radio and TuneIn. The MSNBC App for iOS also provides access to live streaming and full episodes of select programs. Watch MSNBC anywhere: On Demand, online or across mobile and connected TVs.  MSNBC is part of the NBCUniversal News Group, a division of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies, which is owned by Comcast Corporation. For more corporate information, visit

Contact: Emily Samsel
July 11, 2109


The New Republic and Earther just broke the news: 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are invited to join a climate forum in New York City on September 23!

LCV is thrilled to join the New Republic and Earther to give the climate crisis the attention it deserves from the 2020 presidential field. Check out all of the details in Emily Atkin and Brian Kahn’s piece.

Look out for more info as it becomes available, including ticketing and media RSVPs.

The New Republic & Earther: Why We’re Challenging The 2020 Democrats To a Climate Summit
July 11, 2019
Emily Atkin, The New Republic
Brian Kahn, Earther
It’s been said before, but it bears repeating: The first round of Democratic presidential debates failed the planet. In a combined 240 minutes of discussion—at an event held in city poised to sink into the ocean—the moderators devoted a combined 15 minutes of airtime to the biggest existential threat humanity faces.

We were hardly surprised. In fact, we’ve been anticipating this outcome for months—which is why back in April, we had a thought: What if we just planned a candidates’ exchange on climate issues ourselves?

As two climate journalists with a combined decade of experience covering the issue, we knew we could convey the immense stakes of the unfolding crisis. We could ask the indispensable questions about how to end our dependence on fossil fuels and what that means for society. We could put the communities most damaged by the climate crisis at the center of the discussion, where they belong. And we could compel the candidates to talk about climate change with the urgency and seriousness it deserves.

We’ve accomplished a lot since April—and on September 23, 2019, The New Republic and Earther will host a presidential climate summit in New York City. We’ll be joined by the League of Conservation Voters, giving us a leg up on the candidates’ environmental voting records and 2020 climate plans. We’ve also brought on Columbia University’s Earth Institute, ensuring our questions will be in line with current climate science.

Other organizations are supporting our effort, too. The Climate Group has made our presidential climate summit an official part of Climate Week NYC, and Earthjustice Action, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the NRDC Action Fund, and the Center for American Progress Action Fundhave agreed to be sponsors. We’re hoping to work with the Climate Justice Alliance, to ensure frontline communities and youth are well-represented. And legendary New York political anchor Errol Louiswill be the main moderator for our event, which will take place the same day  world leaders will be in town for a United Nations climate summit.

We hope all the candidates in the 2020 Democratic field will find a way to take part, because the climate crisis deserves to take center stage in the 2020 primaries. For now, this will be a forum-type event; candidates will appear on stage one by one, to be asked questions by our moderator and others. During that time, they’ll be asked to respond to key policy statements and claims now shaping the emergent Democratic climate agenda.

We are, however, prepared to change our summit to a debate if the DNC changes its rules, which bar candidates from participating in non-DNC hosted debates. We are also willing to work with the DNC to make our event the officially sanctioned Democratic climate debate of the 2020 election.
Either way, we intend to host a robust discussion with and among the candidates. There’s clearly ample room for such an exchange: the candidates who’ve released climate plans have taken vastly different approaches to the crisis, all involving specific policy choices and tradeoffs. In order for voters to grasp the true options involved in remediating the climate crisis, they need to know, in comprehensive detail, just how candidates would go about countering the devastating effects of global warming from the Oval Office.

It’s imperative to get these discussions in motion now, because climate change will be the defining issue of the twenty-first century, and the next president will have an outsized impact on the shape it takes.

For too many years, climate change has pigeonholed as an “environmental” issue. But in the United States alone, rising seas are already causing chronic and acute flooding, and ocean floodwaters will likely claim some coastal communities in the not-too distant future. For a host of reasons, climate change is also likely to upend agriculture as we know it. To remediate the effects of climate change in any serious way, the next president will have to remake the entire energy sector, decouple the economy from fossil fuels, and ensure workers and frontline communities aren’t abandoned in the process. Abroad, the climate crisis will ratchet up inequality, cause some small island nations to disappear entirely, and require less developed countries to forgo the pathways to development forged in the twentieth century, all issues the next American president will have to deal with and plan for.

None of this is a drill. Last year’s bombshell report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change showed that if we are to have any hope of avoiding the worst impacts, we must act now. The choices that world leaders make over the next 11 years will in all likelihood define the fate of Earth for generations to come. And the policies set in place by whoever wins the 2020 United States presidential election will play a crucial role in curbing—or compounding—the potential damage of the climate reckoning before us.

The United States represents roughly 14 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, but because of our leading role in the global economy and political order, our influence extends well beyond that. The next president will either set the world on the path toward limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius—or the more stringent (and safer) 1.5 degree Celsius threshold—or he or she will send the world sailing past these already risky thresholds. As scores of studies have warned us, the all too plain cost of inaction on this front is to consign millions to suffer and die on American and foreign soil.

Climate change, in short, deserves far more than 15 minutes of airtime.

Voters already understand just how urgent the crisis is. Polling done for LCV and CAP Action last month shows that addressing the climate crisis is a top priority for Democratic primary voters, and polling from the think tank Data for Progress shows that nearly two-thirds of Democratic and left-leaning independent likely primary voters support holding a debate focused on climate change. Two-thirds of Democrats also view climate change as a “critical threat,” and most Democrats regard it as the most important issue to discuss in presidential debates, according to polling from Morning Consult.
For all sorts of compelling reasons, the Democratic electorate has decided that this is the climate change election—and they want to know what candidates are going to do if they win the White House. We look forward to furnishing the platform for this crucial exchange of ideas in September.

Our Revolution
July 12, 2019 email
from: Jane Kleeb, Chair fo the Nebraska Democratic Party

The presidential candidates should debate climate now!

There is NO debate — the climate crisis is here and is impacting communities across the world. Whether you live in a rural or urban town, climate change impacts your water, livelihood and health. What used to be a 100-year flood happens every few years, and across the nation extreme summer heat is putting lives at risk.

That’s why Our Revolution is calling on the Democratic National Committee to hold a debate focused solely on the climate crisis. We know the current debate format does not allow in-depth conversations on ideas or solutions, and we can’t afford to keep ignoring a crisis that puts every living being on earth at risk.

Click here to sign on if you agree that there should be a climate debate, and send us a note in your own words on why you want DNC members in your state to vote to make it happen. We will then directly deliver your name and comments to your state party leaders so they know how much you care about climate change and why you want the DNC to lead on this issue.
Tell the DNC: Host a debate on the climate crisis!
The majority of presidential contenders agree that we need to hold a climate debate, so it makes no sense that the DNC is ignoring both candidates and grassroots voters.

As the Democratic Party Chair here in Nebraska, I respect the DNC as an institution of Democratic leaders across our country who do work every single day to build up the grassroots and get local Democrats elected. I am also committed to fighting for reforms within the DNC to make sure our party reflects the will of the people.

When we run to get elected as a party leader or a public official, we do so because we want to make our party and communities stronger — and part of that is ensuring that the climate crisis is thoroughly debatedso that the American people can make an informed decision.

Add your name here to demand that the DNC move forward with a climate debate!

In Solidarity,

Jane Kleeb
Chair, Nebraska Democratic Party
Our Revolution Board Member

Inslee for America
Monday, July 1, 20193

Jay Inslee Statement on the DNC’s Upcoming ClimateDebate Vote

Seattle, WA – 
This weekend in Pittsburgh, in response to grassroots outrage, the DNC executive committee moved to hold a vote on a climate debate. The vote will occur during the DNC's August National Democratic Party Meeting. This weekend’s decision comes after the DNC rejected calls for a climate debate and spent only 15 minutes during two nights of debate discussing the climate crisis, sparking criticism from climate activists, progressive voters, and over 50 DNC voting members who signed a petition calling on the DNC to hold a climate debate
“Thanks to the progressive grassroots, climate activists, and Democrats across the country, we are one step closer to giving climate change the attention it requires in this race,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “But there is no reason for the DNC to drag its feet on this. The debates in Miami utterly failed to address the seriousness of this existential threat. Chairman Perez should not wait until August; he should take action now to lift the gag rule or allow a climate debate. We need a full-fledged, televised climate debate to discuss plans in detail and to send a clear message that the Democratic Party is ready to lead on the climate crisis.” 
Climate change has grown into a leading issue in the 2020 Democratic primary, but over half of the Democratic candidates have not released their own plans to take on climate change. Last week Governor Inslee urged his fellow Democratic candidates to sign onto an open letter to DNC Chairman Tom Perez demanding a climate debate.

Inslee for America
Thursday, June 27, 2019

Inslee Open Letter Calls for Candidates to Unite in Support of Climate Debate

Miami, FL – Following the first Democratic presidential debate on Wednesday, Governor Jay Inslee released the following open letter to his fellow candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination:

To My Fellow Candidates, 
Millions of Democrats have made it clear: Climate change is the largest existential threat of our time, and it requires more than candidates’ one-minute bumper sticker lines. At last night’s first debate, the DNC and its media partners had the opportunity to show that they were listening and willing to help educate voters about our candidates’ views and policy plans on climate change. They failed. 
The DNC had promised to discuss climate change “early and often.” That did not happen. The climate crisis received only eight minutes of attention out of a two-hour debate, and was not brought up as a question until 80 minutes into the debate.
Wednesday night’s debate proved why we need a full-scale climate debate to discuss the existential issue of our time. I’m a proud Democrat, and our party understands the need for immediate solutions to defeat climate change. We must send a clear message that the Democratic Party is ready to lead on climate change – and there is no better way to send that message than to have a full, televised climate debate.
Science demands bold plans and real solutions, and more than 8 minutes in a Miami debate hall that will be underwater if we don’t act. We need a climatedebate. The majority of us have joined the call for a climate debate - a call led by the progressive grassroots, and bolstered by over 50 DNC voting members. Democrats want a full discussion on climate change. It’s past time for the DNC to listen.
Today, I urge all of you to join me in demanding the DNC allow a climatedebate, and eliminate its gag rule that punishes candidates for participating in an outside climate debate.
The DNC continues to falsely consider climate change a single issue among many. The fact is, climate change is at the core of every issue on the Democratic platform. A comprehensive climate debate will highlight candidates’ plans to create good-paying, union jobs; their plans to protect and empower frontline communities disproportionately affected by climate change and pollution, and communities of color who are often hit first and worst; their plans to address public health concerns caused by our warming climate; and their plans for a national security strategy in an increasingly unstable world, as drought and famine expand around the globe. 
We are at a tipping point. And it is up to our party to ensure that the next president takes bold climate action on the scope and scale necessary to meet the defining challenge of our time. Join me. 
Governor Jay Inslee