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October 02, 2012

Debating the Future of Our Planet

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The first presidential debate of the 2012 election is set for Wednesday night, and it offers Americans a critically important opportunity to see both President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, together on stage, unedited and unscripted.

For months, the campaigns and special interest groups have been spending millions and millions of dollars to try and force their issues and their perspectives into our conversations. Oil, gas, and coal special interests alone have already spent more than $150 million on tv ads with the goal of injecting their reckless dirty energy agenda into the race.

But after a year of saturated airwaves, special interest spending, and stump speeches, we’ll get to see President Obama and Mitt Romney state their cases on Wednesday. It’ll come down to just the candidates - no oil companies, no pundits, and no flashy campaign choreography.

For millions of voters, this debate will be the first real chance to learn about where the candidates stand on the issues that matter to them. The debate, hosted by PBS’ Jim Lehrer, will focus on domestic policy. That means if the right questions are asked and the candidates are held accountable, we’ll hear directly from Obama and Romney about where they stand on the issues that matter to those of us fighting for clean air, clean water, and clean energy. The momentum is there for real consideration of the issues that will determine the future of our planet. Already, 160,000 Americans have asked Lehrer to demand answers from both candidates about what they will do - or not do - to address the climate crisis.

This is a discussion that’s critically needed and it couldn’t come at a more important time. In recent years, the clean energy economy has grown by leaps and bounds. Wind installations have doubled, solar has grown by a factor of five, hundreds of thousands of Americans are at work on clean energy jobs, and the United States is again the global leader in clean energy investment. Beyond that, record progress has been made to get our country off of oil and to cut the carbon pollution that causes climate disruption.

At the same time, big polluters are spending millions from their boundless profits in this election because they want to keep their stranglehold on our energy future. They are fighting tooth and nail to overturn public health safeguards and maintain the billions in tax breaks they get every year.

We’re at a crossroads for our clean energy future and this debate will allow us to see the candidates’ views first hand. It’s critical that all Americans pay attention to what is said - especially those of us who work for a healthier planet and healthier communities every day.

Wednesday’s debate will begin at 9:30 ET/6:30 PT. To get more information about how to tune in on, check out these listings.

See the Sierra Club’s Endorsements and learn more about the candidates in the 2012 election.


--Cathy Duvall, Director of Public Advocacy and Partnerships, Sierra Club

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