Environmental groups react to climate change discussion at presidential debate: do something


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Steve Willis has been trying to stop climate change for years now.

“The ice caps are melting much faster than even scientists thought they would, California is burning, the world is burning and still some people aren’t convince by Mother Nature and their own eyes,” he said.

Willis is president of the Center for a Sustainable Coast and reacted to Thursday’s presidential debate which included a section climate change. “It was good they brought it up but I think that it’s very unfortunate that the level of the discussion was so basic and uninformed,” said Willis.

He said Joe Biden’s promises of providing clean energy jobs is relevant. “Well, certainly converting to clean energy will create many many times more jobs than just keeping on burning fossil fuels,” said Willis.

He also indicated that President Trump’s reticence to accept climate change as an immediate threat is not helping the country. “This is not a political statement, this is an environmental statement. Everything Donald Trump said was just totally untrue, actually he didn’t say anything.”

In Thursday’s debate, Trump said he wanted a clean climate but not at the expense of sacrificing jobs.

Biden said more jobs can be created in the “clean” energy sector and that he would stop subsidies to oil companies. Willis agreed with that saying “that should have been stopped 50 years ago.”

Megan Desrosiers from the One Hundred Miles in Georgia says she doubts anyone changed their mind b watching the debate but also said it’s about time climate change was discussed by presidential candidates.

“I’m glad they’re talking about it but one seems to favor continued profits to fossil fuel companies and he doesn’t seem to want to change much about the way things have been going,” she said. “One of the candidates seems to understand that we need to be taking action and the other seems to be in complete denial.”

Willis believes the U.S. is wasting “huge amounts of money” that could be used to develop a clean economy.

He told me he visited China about two years ago and that that country is in the process of developing its own manufacturing model for electric cars. “They know that’s the future,” he said.

Willis says the U.S. needs to be in line as well. “We have the technology for a clean energy economy, we don’t need a magic bullet,” he said.

He does say disasters resulting from climate change are no longer possibilities but probabilities and he remains concerned that at least some Americans are not yet on board with what needs to be done.

“We are just in this zone of denial and I don’t mean just the usual deniers, I mean everybody. The problem is much worse than people realize,” said Willis.

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