It's official. Hillary Clinton is running for President of the United States. That wasn't a surprise, but something about her campaign really stood out yesterday - and most people missed it.
This tweet by John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman:
As reported at ThinkProgress, Hillary’s campaign is the first major presidential campaign to make combating climate change a central issue. And that matters.
Back in 2008, when we launched ScienceDebate (the nonpartisan nonprofit where I serve as executive director), we tracked questions from the media leading up to the election. America's top five network news anchors at the time - CNN's Wolf Blitzer, ABC's George Stephanopoulos, MSNBC's Tim Russert, Fox News' Chris Wallace, and CBS's Bob Schieffer - conducted 171 interviews with the candidates, asking 2,975 questions. Only six mentioned "climate change" or "global warming." (For comparison, three mentioned UFOs).
By 2012, coverage was a bit better - particularly at MSNBC, but not by much. (H/T Media Matters)
Clinton is not the first 2016 presidential candidate to mention climate change at the start of the campaign, but she is the first to make it a central issue. This means we can expect to hear a lot more about climate over the next year and a half - including how it relates to energy, water, food, national security and economic policies. As a result, I certainly hope that every candidate will feel compelled to discuss these relationships. And you can bet ScienceDebate will continue working hard to ensure that science and technology policy issues are a big part of the 2016 conversation. (So make sure you sign on!)