Why We’re Not Moving Forward With Our Climate Summit

Illustration: Illustration: G/O Media/Getty

A good story has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and the climate summit Gizmodo has been in the process of planning for months is one of those stories. It began in April with behind the scenes discussions, had a middle in which we announced it in partnership with the New Republic and then went sideways immediately thereafter. And now we’ve reached the end.

Throughout the whole process of planning our event, there was one overarching intention: To get Democratic candidates on stage talking about climate change and their plans to address it. On Friday, MSNBC and CNN announced they would host separate climate events with the Democratic presidential candidates, each broadcast on their respective networks prior to the date we intended to hold our summit. And so with that in mind, we’re no longer moving forward with our climate summit.

It’s great that climate change—the most pressing issue facing humanity—is finally getting the attention it deserves. We went through an entire presidential debate cycle in 2016 without a single question about it. In the intervening years, climate change has rarely entered the realm of network news, and when it has, it’s been treated more like a political football than an existential threat. There are exceptions of course, and the Democratic debates last month did at least include some climate questions, but now is a time when voters are demanding deeper engagement with climate change. We outlined our vision for that in our original announcement, and we hope that CNN and MSNBC will pick up at least some of that spirit for their town hall and forum respectively, particularly around climate justice.

All of which is to say that our end goal of having candidates on stage talking about climate change for extended periods will still happen. Even better, it will now be on television. We fully support these events and more importantly, hope that they represent the start of even more rigorous coverage of climate change on network news. We’ll be looking for ways to move the conversation forward on our end as well. Even if the story of the summit has reached its end, there’s still an epilogue to be written.

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