Jul 27, 2019

Climate change arrives in Democratic politics

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Global warming has burst into national politics as major Democratic 2020 hopefuls release aggressive plans and the party's voters prioritize the topic.

Where it stands: Several polls show climate change has broken through. This month, a CBS News survey found 78% of Democratic voters in early primary states call the topic "very important," putting it behind only health care.

Quick take: Forces prompting the increased attention from Democratic voters and candidates include...

  • Trump abandoning Obama-era policies.
  • High-profile Democrats led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez promoting the Green New Deal.
  • Heatwaves and scientific reports over the last year warning of the dangers of failing to stem emissions.

What they're saying: Zac McCrary with the Democratic polling firm ALG Research said the voter interest isn't a fad. Instead there's been a "fundamental, foundational shift in voters' attitudes, rather than reacting to any given event or point in time," he said.

  • Voter interest and a record of campaign trail promises could prompt a Democratic president to devote real political capital to tougher policies.
  • But, but, but: Absent unexpectedly large Democratic gains in the Senate or a change to filibuster rules, major legislation faces daunting odds.

What to watch: CNN will host a presidential candidate forum on climate change in September, and MSNBC is a media partner on another event — strong signals of the topic's entry to the national political stage.

Read more about the impacts of climate change we're tracking:

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TV news' climate change bias

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

While newspapers are teaming up to double down on their climate change coverage, broadcasters are focusing on covering the byproducts of climate change — natural disasters and extreme weather.

Why it matters: Climate change tends to be a ratings killer for television, because it can be abstract and complicated to explain in short, visual bites. But as the economic and political debate around the topic increases, media experts will be looking at the ways television outlets cover the issue, as television is still the most common place for Americans to get their news.

Go deeperArrowJul 27, 2019

Pressure grows around U.N. climate-change summit

Young people and Big Oil executives will join world leaders in September for the most high-profile summit on climate change since the 2015 UN conference that led to the Paris Agreement.

Why it matters: The New York event is aimed at encouraging countries to increase their pledges to the Paris deal, in the face of rising global carbon emissions, falling investment in renewable energy and an American president who denies there’s a problem at all.

Go deeperArrowJul 27, 2019

Climate change's crucial moment

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Scientists for decades have warned of the time when climate change would begin to change our daily lives. We're now entering that moment.

The big picture: The Fed, corporate executives, college students, retailers and politicians are all coming to grips with this seminal challenge. We as a species are now living with this problem like never before.

Go deeperArrowJul 27, 2019