Senator Bernie Sanders is set to host a live-streamed town hall summit on climate change next month, a move that may intensify pressure on the next Congress to curb planet-warming emissions and challenge TV networks to cover a rapidly worsening crisis they’ve long ignored.
The 90-minute event ― scheduled from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 3 ― will be held at the Capitol Visitor Center Auditorium in Washington and broadcast over Facebook, YouTube and Twitter by seven progressive media outlets.
“We need millions of people all over this country to stand up and demand fundamental changes in our energy policy in order to protect our kids and our grandchildren and the planet,” Sanders told HuffPost by phone. “The good news is the American people are beginning to stand up and fight back.”
According to The Hill, speakers include 350.org founder Bill McKibben, activist and “Big Little Lies” star Shailene Woodley, climate scientist Brenda Ekwurzel, activist and musician Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, and Mayor Dale Ross of deep-red Georgetown, Texas, whose avowedly pragmatic embrace of newly cheap renewable energy has made him a poster boy for how Republicans could quit climate change denialism.
It’s the fifth live-broadcast town hall Sanders has hosted. Past programs examined the universal health care proposal Medicare for All, inequality, the Iran nuclear deal, and workers vs. chief executives.
The event bolsters Sanders, a likely contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, as the most serious candidate on climate change, offering a far more comprehensive response than rival progressive Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, who staked out a climate policy based on a bill to force public companies to disclose financial risk from warming or regulations to curb emissions.
The summit, which took months to plan, will take place less than a month after Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) propelled talk of a so-called Green New Deal into the Democratic mainstream, giving play for the first time to the sort of federal response to climate change scientists say is necessary to fully meet the scale of the crisis. In October, the United Nations concluded world governments must halve emissions over the next 12 years or risk catastrophic warming with $54 trillion in damage.