Will the Candidates End the “Climate Silence” Tonight?

Image courtesy of <a href="http://climatesilence.org/">ClimateSilence.org</a>

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The final debate before the presidential election will take place tonight in Boca Raton, Florida. Since it’s focused on foreign policy, might the candidates finally be asked directly about climate change—arguably the biggest foreign policy challenge issue for the future?

A lot of people are hoping so. After last week’s debate, moderator Candy Crowley said she had a question “for all you climate people,” but she didn’t get to it before the debate wrapped up. So far, all the talk has been about “energy independence,” while “climate change” is the issue that shall not be named.

Maybe Florida will be different. It is, after all, a state surrounded by water and highly vulnerable to sea level rise. The state includes eight of the ten cities most likely to be affected by rising seas and increased storm surges, putting 2.4 million people and 1.3 million homes at risk, according to a report from Climate Central earlier this year.

This is why more than 120 scientists and public officials in Florida have signed a letter asking President Obama and Governor Romney to address sea level rise at this week’s debate. The letter asks the candidates to discuss three questions that are of great importance for Florida and other states facing similar challenges:

– What will be the federal government’s planning and policy priorities in order to reduce the risks of future sea level rise?

– What will be the polices for adaptive measures to respond to current and future impacts of sea level rise?

– How would you work with the rest of the world to address rising sea levels and other effects of climate change?

Meanwhile, Forecast the Facts and Friends of the Earth Action have started an online petition and campaign asking the candidates to stop the “climate silence.” ” “National elections should be a time when our nation considers the great challenges and opportunities the next President will face,” the groups write. “But the climate conversation of 2012 has been defined by a deafening silence.”

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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