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Democratic Candidates And Nevada Voters Prioritize Climate Change

In this July 28, 2015, photo, electricians Adam Hall, right, and Steven Gabert, install solar panels on a roof for Arizona Public Service company in Goodyear, Ariz.
(AP Photo/Matt York)
In this July 28, 2015, photo, electricians Adam Hall, right, and Steven Gabert, install solar panels on a roof for Arizona Public Service company in Goodyear, Ariz.

Climate change has become a major topic for both voters and the candidates trying to take the presidency from Donald Trump.

But with an issue as big as climate change, and 20 candidates all weighing in on it, remembering who promised what becomes next to impossible. Sure, voters know about Yucca Mountain. But do they know about nuclear power -- and which of the candidates are in favor of it? What about a carbon tax? 

Two conservation advocacy groups are already educating voters on climate change. And they’re pushing presidential candidates to emphasize it in their campaigns. 

Matt McKnight, director for Change the Climate 2020, said voters are interested because they're seeing the impacts of climate change in their communities, from the bathtub ring at Lake Mead to the increased fire risk in the Sierra Nevada.

"As we continue to see the impacts of climate change in our daily lives, I think it becomes more and more important to people," he said.

McKnight added that voters are also interested because more and more people are participating in the growing clean-energy economy. 

Andy Maggi, executive director of Nevada Conservation League, said voters are finished with talking about whether climate change is really happening because they're feeling the effects directly.

"As the stress of climate change really starts to take its toll on people and our environment, what most voters want -- when we talk to them, they want to see action," he said. 

He said voters want a plan that meets the science of climate change, engages with communities that are most impacted, and can actually be passed and implemented.

Maggi said Nevada is already taking a leadership role in addressing climate change, especially when it comes to green energy and development of renewable energy jobs.

"All of those benefits are other reasons why Nevadans are really keyed into this issue and thinking a lot about it," he said.

Rudy Zamora is the program director for League of Conservation Voters' Chispa Nevada, which is devoted to communicating with communities of color about climate change and how they can have a seat at the table when it comes to discussing policies to address climate change.

“They’re concerned about climate change," he said. "They’re concerned about economics, but as we’re seeing in conversations -- our volunteers and our members are sharing their stories with us of their children having to miss school because of asthma attacks."

Zamora also said that there is an economic component to fighting climate change as well.

“Climate also ties into family’s pockets... . We’re seeing that a lot of the families that are currently working are not opposed to having renewable energy or clean energy jobs.”

Maggi said for people concerned about climate change and how to address it, one of the main actions they can take is to vote.

"We have an opportunity to make changes in the coming year," he said, "When you think about individual actions that you can take to help address climate change, make sure that voting is on that list of individual actions."

Democratic presidential candidates' climate plans


From NPR: 2020 Election: Where Democrats On The Green New Deal and More

Matt McKnight, director, Change the Climate 2020; Andy Maggi, executive director, Nevada Conservation League; Rudy Zamora, program director, League of Conservation Voters and Chispas Nevada.


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Mike has been a producer for State of Nevada since 2019. He produces — and occasionally hosts — segments covering entertainment, gaming & tourism, sports, health, Nevada’s marijuana industry, and other areas of Nevada life.