Cornell Graduate Students Will Question 2020 Democratic Hopefuls on Climate

Cornell is participating in a Climate Change Town Hall being organized by CNN, airing live on September 4, 2019, from 5pm through the evening. The event is expected to last at least seven hours, as each of the 10 Democratic 2020 hopefuls that qualified for the third official Democratic debate are being given 40 minutes to answer questions on their climate policies.


The Cornell Institute for Climate Solutions (CICSS) was contacted in late August to provide input and questions for the Town Hall. Several faculty and graduate students submitted questions to the CNN producers. Two Cornell graduate students in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences were chosen to attend the Town Hall in person, and ask questions directed at specific candidates about their climate policies.


Allison Chatrchyan, Director of CICSS, notes that the Climate Change Town Hall represents a sea change in American politics – as it is the first time that there has been a town hall organized around the single issue of climate change in any presidential election (compared to the 2012 and 2016 presidential debates, when there were no direct questions about climate change).


According to the Cornell graduate students (whose names cannot be released until after the debate), this town hall gives the candidates an opportunity to demonstrate how committed they are to dealing with the climate crisis. “The policies of the candidates are pretty wide ranging, and it will be interesting to see how the candidates’ plans hold up,” one of the Cornell graduate students said.


The Town Hall is aired exclusively on CNN and CNN International and on the network’s homepage. It can also be viewed on the CNN app on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast and Android TV. Be sure to tune in to catch the Cornell graduate student questions! For more on CNN’s Climate Town Hall, visit this link.