Dear CNN: please ask climate question

over 3 years ago

Dear CNN Debate Moderators:

The GOP race for the nomination is down to the final four. Avid viewers and November voters tuning in on Thursday can only hope that a smaller field of candidates means more airtime for substantive questions and a presentation of detailed policy solutions for the nation's most pressing problems.

Here's the thing: an informative debate focused not on character assaults reminiscent of playground behavior is dependent not only on the candidates themselves steering away from personal attacks and crass jokes but on the quality of the questions posed to them.

In a previous CNN-sponsored debate, moderators asked New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie the sole climate change question in the waning minutes of the debate, while other candidates had to interrupt to chime in their views. In fact, very few GOP debates have presented a forum for rational climate discussion. Yet polling shows conservatives are not as tepid on the issue as the media might lead people to believe. And the candidates all have something to say on the matter.

Conservative climate realists would like to see more emphasis placed on this issue, particularly with fewer candidates standing on the debate stage vying for airtime to get their answers heard. We are not alone. A bipartisan group of 21 Florida mayors has also called for climate questions pertaining to sea level rise, the answers so critical for coastal communities not just in the Sunshine state, but nationwide.

As the primary season moves forward, the stakes are high. You can preside over a vibrant, substantive debate of the issues our great country must tackle and a comparison of the candidate's respective solutions. Or you can lead an asinine, eye roll inducing continuation of the last installment.

So CNN, how about devoting a fraction of your primetime coverage to climate change —an issue that impacts the globe— that you spend leading candidates into who-said-what-when discussions.