CNN Will Host Climate-Focused Town Hall As Issue Gains Momentum In 2020 Race

MSNBC is also planning a climate forum with presidential candidates of both parties later this year, according to reports.

CNN said Thursday it would host a Democratic presidential town hall focused largely on climate change in September amid calls from several candidates that the issue be given far more airtime.

Only candidates who have met the Democratic National Committee’s polling threshold for the third primary debate in September will be able to join the event. Those requirements currently mandate that a candidate garner 2% support in at least four approved polls and have a minimum of 130,000 donors, with at least 400 in 20 separate states, by Aug. 28.

MSNBC is also planning a multi-day, climate-only event in partnership with Georgetown University in September, according to the Daily Beast. Every single candidate from either party has been invited to participate, and it could run for two days, although it’s unclear who may have accepted invitations so far.

CNN’s town hall would take place on Sept. 4 in New York City and MSNBC’s on Sept. 19 and 20.

Eight candidates are currently in contention to participate in the CNN event: former Vice President Joe Biden; South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and Cory Booker (N.J.); and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (Texas).

CNN said its event would be similar to other town halls it hosted earlier this year, allowing candidates to appear in back-to-back segments throughout an evening rather than going up against one another on a single stage.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee — the only candidate to run a campaign centered on climate change — has not yet met the threshold. Inslee had long argued for a climate-focused debate, saying the issue should be “the first, foremost and paramount duty of the next administration” and that previous time allotted to climate change questions had been “wholly unsatisfactory.”

His campaign called CNN’s announcement “huge news” as he urged supporters to donate in hopes he could qualify in time.

“Momentum is on our side and we have to move quickly to reach as many voters as we can with our climate message,” Inslee’s team wrote.

The DNC is currently mulling whether to vote on holding an official climate change debate as part of its exhaustive schedule leading up to the 2020 election. The party organization could hold a vote on it by the end of next month.

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