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Climate change question as part of presidential debate

Over the past year, our weather has become increasingly erratic and unstable largely as a result of the unregulated greenhouse gases that we dump into the atmosphere on a daily basis. The current scientific consensus is that global warming is real and it’s manmade and yet little to nothing is being done about it. This is, in large part, due to the fact that the subject, in this country, is taboo. We need to change that by putting a spotlight on this issue in the upcoming presidential debates. If you question the urgency of this, please check out the attached photo of the Arctic, to see how much its icepack has disappeared over a 33-year period.

I am working with the League of Conservation Voters, which has generated an online petition addressed to Jim Lehrer, asking that he bring up a question about climate change in the presidential debate he is moderating on October 3. The goal is to get 50,000 signatures, at which point the petition will be presented to Lehrer in a personal meeting that the LCV will have with him. The petition can be accessed here: https://secure3.convio.net/lcv/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=913.

The petition is a great idea and we hope you will support it by taking a moment to sign it, but, wanting more information on how to get a suggested question to Lehrer directly, last week I called the McNeil Lehrer newsroom and spoke with a colleague of Lehrer's who encouraged me to go to their website and email in a suggested question. He was happy to get my call and went on to tell me that they are only getting 20 or so suggestions a day. He told me that the whole staff reads the questions that come in at the end of every day, as does Lehrer.

Because this is such a low number and because they are actively soliciting questions, if we can get enough people writing in to ask that climate change be broached, we might have a real chance of shaping the debate and helping to see that this critically important topic is brought up.

Here is the address that you can write in to: www.pbs.org/newshour/letters.html. And/or you can email the Newshour: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

To make it easier for folks to send an email and suggest a question, we have provided some sample questions below:

 

– Every major scientific organization in the world agrees that the planet is warming and that people are the cause. Just this year in the U.S., we've seen massive wildfires, epic droughts and record warm temperatures that pose real and deadly threats to American citizens. The most prominent climate scientists say we must dramatically reduce carbon dioxide emissions. What concrete steps will you take to address climate change?

 

– Do you agree with over 90 percent of the world's climate scientists that humans are at least contributing to global warming?

 

– How does the greenhouse effect work and do you think that humans are interfering with its proper function?

 

– What does “350 parts per million” represent and what is the number of parts per million now?

 

– Is global warming and climate change significantly and negatively affected by human industrial and fossil fuel consumption activity and, if so, what is our government's role and responsibility in mediating a solution?

 

– What should America’s role be in controlling climate change and what would you do to advance it?

 

Could you take a moment from your busy day to hit a few keys on your keyboard and join us by signing the petition and then by sending in a question? Every voice counts. As JFK said, “Everyone can make a difference, and everyone should try.”

 

And, if you feel called to take one extra step, please share this email with family and friends via your various social networks and thank you so very much for doing so!

 

Dillon lives in Waitsfield.

 

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