Back in July, in response to calls for a debate focused exclusively on the topic of climate change, CNN announced a Climate Town Hall to be aired in early September. That day is now upon us and there are 10 Democratic candidates who have accepted an invitation from CNN to join the climate change discussion. The qualifications set forth by CNN for participation in the Climate Town Hall followed the criteria set forth by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for participation in the fourth Democratic debate happening on Sept. 12.
The event, which airs later today in a 7-hour marathon ending around midnight eastern time, will not be a typical debate format but rather a series of back-to-back town hall interviews where candidates will appear separately and field questions from the host and from audience members.
CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall
When: Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019
Time: Begining at 5 pm ET (2 pm PT) with candidates appearing individually all evening
Live Stream: CNN.com
You can also stream it via CNN apps on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, and Android TV. The forum will also be broadcast on SiriusXM Channels 116, 454, 795, and the Westwood One Radio Network.
The first session begins at 5 pm ET (2 pm PT) with former Housing Secretary Julian Castro and will follow this approximate schedule with the final candidate, Sen. Cory Booker, getting his chance around 11:40 pm ET (8:40 pm PT).
Note: All times listed below are Eastern but these interviews will air live across all time zones on CNN
5:00 pm – Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro will be interviewed by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer
5:40 pm – Businessman Andrew Yang, who will also be interviewed by Blitzer
6:20 pm – California Sen. Kamala Harris will be interviewed by CNN’s Erin Burnett
7:00 pm – Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who will also be interviewed by Burnett
8:00 pm – Former Vice President Joe Biden will be interviewed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper
8:40 pm – Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who will also be interviewed by Cooper
9:20 pm – Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will be interviewed by CNN’s Chris Cuomo
10:00 pm – South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who will also be interviewed by Cuomo
10:40 pm – Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke will appear with CNN’s Don Lemon
11:20 pm – New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker will also be interviewed by Lemon
More details from CNN on the overall format of the event:
Ten Democratic presidential hopefuls will appear in New York at back-to-back town halls on Wednesday, September 4, taking audience questions about their climate plans as scientists sound the alarm about global warming.
Along with the candidates, the network also announced the CNN journalists and the approximate appearance times for the presidential hopefuls during the seven-hour, live event.
CNN started the trend of candidate town hall events earlier this year, some of which drew decent ratings and certainly helped shape early contours of the burgeoning 2020 Democratic primary.
In late August, the DNC announced it will not hold a debate exclusive to the issue of climate change but that didn’t stop CNN from determining that they could use the town hall format to hold something similar and get all the major candidates involved.
As Vox notes, the topic hasn’t received much time during the first two Democratic debates:
The town hall will give them an opportunity to present their plans in greater detail, and with more nuance. In the prior two rounds of presidential debates spanning more than eight hours, climate change received just 35 minutes of airtime. Much of the discussion was shallow and uninformative, partly a consequence of having to split attention across 20 candidates.
A forum format with one-on-one discussions with the candidates could better get at these distinctions, forcing candidates to make the affirmative case for their own policies rather than sniping at those from other candidates. On the other hand, a candidate in the hot seat won’t receive any direct challenges from their opponents.
There won’t be other candidates on stage at the same time, but there will be audience members asking questions, which sometimes creates pushback or awkward answers from the candidates. Watch for the audience Q&A time to basically provide the “debate” portion of these town halls which will largely be 20-minute expositions from each candidate about their climate change views and proposals.
The town hall kicks off at 5 pm ET, and continues throughout the entire evening and late into the night with candidates staggered during CNN’s primetime shows.