CNN tonight hosted 10 back-to-back town halls with 2020 Democratic candidates.
The candidates took questions directly from a live studio audience — composed of Democratic voters interested in the issue — in New York as well as CNN moderators.
Here's the key takeaway from each candidate's town hall:
- Julián Castro said that “new civil rights legislation” to address environmental racism — minority communities facing the brunt of the climate crisis — is part of his plan to combat global warming. "I know that too often times it’s people that are poor, communities of color, who take the brunt of storms that are getting more frequent and more powerful,” he said.
- Andrew Yang said that if he's elected president, he'll eliminate gross domestic product as a measure of national success and replace it with a system that includes environmental factors. "Let's upgrade it with a new score card that includes our environmental sustainability and our goals," he said.
- Kamala Harris said that, as president, she would direct the Department of Justice to go after oil and gas companies who have directly impacted global warming. "They are causing harm and death in communities. And there has been no accountability," she said.
- Amy Klobuchar called for a reversal to the Trump administration's move to rollback regulations on methane emissions. "That is very dangerous," she said of the administration's move.
- Joe Biden was asked by a 19-year-old activist how young voters can trust him to prioritize their futures over big business. "I've never made that choice. My whole career," he said.
- Bernie Sanders was asked whether he would roll back Trump administration plans to overturn requirements on energy saving lightbulbs. He delivered an emphatic answer: “Duh!"
- Elizabeth Warren said that conversations around regulating light bulbs, banning plastic straws and cutting down on red meat are exactly what the fossil fuel industry wants people focused on as a way to distract from their impact on climate change.
- Pete Buttigieg said that successfully combating climate change might be “more challenging than” winning World War II. “This is the hardest thing we will have done in my lifetime as a country,” he said.
- Beto O’Rourke said that, should he be elected president, his administration would spend federal dollars to help people in flood-prone areas move to higher ground. “People would move out of those neighborhoods if they could,” he said.
- Cory Booker is a vegan — but he says he won’t try to get other Americans to stop eating hamburgers. "Freedom is one of the most sacred values — whatever you want to eat, go ahead and eat it,” he said.