The 2020 Democrats are set to get their most extensive climate-only televised conversation yet.
The Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service will partner with MSNBC and environmental news outlet Our Daily Planet to host a multi-day climate change forum with the 2020 presidential candidates, The Daily Beast has learned Thursday.
According to the institute’s executive director Mo Elleithee, the university has blocked out Sept. 19 and 20 for the event. Every single presidential candidate—Republicans included—has been invited to participate.
At this stage, each candidate who participates has been promised an hour of airtime—the first 30 minutes being a moderated conversation with MSNBC hosts Chris Hayes or Ali Velshi; the second half a Q&A session with students from Georgetown, other D.C. universities, and early primary states. The event is expected to be live-streamed on NBC News Now with parts of the event featured on Hayes’ primetime MSNBC show over two nights.
This would mark the most extensive conversation around climate change that has taken place in the Democratic presidential primary. A request led by climate activists and Washington’s Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA), a 2020 candidate, to have a separate climate debate sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee was denied, sparking outrage as climate change has polled at the top of concerns among voters.
“Poll after poll shows climate change consistently rates as one of the most important issues on the minds of young voters heading into the 2020 election,” Elleithee said in a statement. “Our forum is a tremendous opportunity for each candidate to dive deep into the issue in front of a national audience, while engaging in real dialogue with young voters. We’re thrilled to partner with Our Daily Planet and MSNBC to host that dialogue at Georgetown.”
“Climate change is an urgent threat to our nation and the world. That is why we believe that climate change should not only be part of one debate, but all debates. We welcome forums that dive in deep on the issues and are glad that Georgetown and others are providing that platform for candidates,” DNC spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa told The Daily Beast.
On Thursday, CNN announced that it would hold its own climate-focused town hall on Sept. 4, but would only invite candidates who met the higher thresholds for the third DNC debate that same month.
The invitation for the MSNBC/Georgetown forum, on the other hand, has been extended to all candidates, meaning it could stretch across two full days of programming.
An additional forum is set to take place on Sept. 23, though a number of the hosts, including The New Republic, withdrew their hosting status following an offensive article published about South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
It is unclear which of the Democratic candidates will commit to the Georgetown forum, as invitations are set to be re-sent following the partnership agreement with MSNBC.