For millions of people tuning in to watch the first presidential debate tonight, climate change is one of the leading threats facing the United States and the world. The candidates have fairly different stances on climate change starting with whether or not it exists: Donald Trump has repeatedly called climate change a hoax and Hillary Clinton says that climate change is real.
While Trump changes his mind pretty often on various subjects, he has pretty consistently espoused the belief that climate change is not real. He even declared it to be a concept created by the Chinese:
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
Meanwhile, Clinton has a whole section on her website devoted to the issue of climate change. She regards climate change as a threat and has a plan to “build a clean energy economy.” At the same time, critics will point to her less-than-ideal stance on fracking. She has a policy of wanting to regulate fracking so much that “there will [not] be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place.” This policy contrasted sharply with her opponent in the primary, Bernie Sanders, who simply said, “No, I do not support fracking.” See their exchange below:
So what happened at tonight’s debate?
In short, not much. Beyond an initial quick exchange, the debate barely touched on climate change at all. Near the start, Clinton commented on climate change, reaffirming that it exists and that she wants to create jobs via a clean energy economy. She also hit Trump for saying that climate change was a Chinese-created hoax (see above). Trump immediately denied this claim, saying he never said that (again, see above). Trump did mention climate change one more time in the debate, when he said, “The single greatest problem the world has is nuclear armament, nuclear weapons. Not global warming like you think and your President thinks.”