From The Guardian (Ed Pilkington and Mona Chalabi):
Of the 1,385 who responded to the call-out – from all 50 states – one in five expressed discontent at the relative silence from candidates around a subject that they believed to be of supreme and epochal importance. They noted that much of the Republican debate has either focused on blatant denial that climate change even exists or on how to unpick Barack Obama’s attempts to fight global warming, while on the Democratic side both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have raised the issue but have rarely pushed it to the top of the political agenda.
Many of the respondents vented despair at a political system that in their view allowed a matter of such overwhelming significance to be so overlooked. “The fact that no one is really talking about climate change, to me, is indicative of just how lost we are,” said Linda Hayden, 51, from Oregon. “Our house is on fire and we are arguing about who is more angry!”
Vivid words and phrases were used to articulate the scale of the pending disaster that readers accused the presidential hopefuls of ignoring, such as “cataclysmic”, “running out of time”, “threat to human life”, “path towards destruction”, or in one particularly memorable remark: “slow-motion apocalypse”.
A reader from Alaska, a state acutely feeling the impact of climate change, used the word “Doomed!”, while an 18-year-old woman from Tennessee who asked to remain anonymous simply said: “Freaking global climate change.” Jennie Ratcliffe, 66, from North Carolina quibbled with the Guardian’s wording of the question, saying “this is far more than an ‘issue’ – it’s a crisis”.
“I’m a climate scientist, and almost no one in the general public knows just how serious and urgent this really is,” said Peter Kalmus, 41, from Altadena, California. “Not only is it real – it’s terrifying.”
The concerns of voters came to light as part of the Guardian’s Voices of America series which aims to highlight the way key issues have been ignored or under-played during a primary season when trivial personal attacks seemed to take precedence over substantial debate of issues that matter…
The co-founder of the climate campaign 350.org, Bill McKibben, who Sanders has appointed to the platform committee at the upcoming Democratic national convention, struck a positive note by pointing out that in the 2012 presidential race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, climate change was not raised at all until just days before the election as a result of Hurricane Sandy. “This time around, whoever the Democrat is will be hammering Trump and the rest of the GOP for their blindness to climate science – it’s now a losing proposition for them. So, scientists and movements have done their job in that way.”
But he went on to warn that “merely believing in climate change at this point is way too low a bar. We need leaders who understand it’s the issue of our century, and will work with the focus it requires.”