msnbc climate change forum mu

A watch party was hosted Sept. 19 in the Gold Room of the Memorial Union for an MSNBC presidential climate change forum.

The first day of MSNBC’s Climate Change forum saw several Iowa State students at a watch party hosted by the Carrie Chapman Center for Women and Politics and the department of political science. At least one student hoped to ask a question of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on the issue of climate change, though Iowa State was passed over in favor of watch parties at other universities.

The junior senator from Vermont spoke at length on the impacts of climate change — in one instance criticizing “the media” for not treating the issue as scientific fact, a result of the strength of the “fossil-fuel industry,” Sanders said.

A student from the University of New Hampshire asked Sanders about strengthening organizations such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help “the resilience” of the United States in combating natural disasters such as hurricanes.

“We include in our proposal many many billions of dollars for prevention and to do everything that we can to protect those communities who time and time again have been hit by extreme weather disturbances,” Sanders said. “So the answer is absolutely. What I will not do, by the way, is to have a situation where some millionaire or billionaire owns some fancy home on the coast and the house gets destroyed — they rebuild it [and] it gets destroyed again — the federal government should not be putting insurance money into those folks.”

Hector Arbuckle, senior in biology and the only student in attendance at one point, said he went to the event because climate change is a “severe, extreme crisis.”

“What I was looking for the presidential candidates to say is basically to address a plan to get us to 100 percent renewable energy by the latest,” Arbuckle said.

Following Sanders’ speech, the number of students in attendance dropped precipitously, as former Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., took the stage alongside Hayes.

Delaney pivoted to discuss Iowa in relation to climate change several times, the ex-congressman said he has visited the state more than 30 times and visited all 99 counties.

“It’s kind of related to agriculture, and it’s kind of related to trade,"  Delaney said. "We should be thinking about using the world’s agricultural resources as efficiently as possible. "We create a situation where the global agricultural food chain [...] is disrupted and you get things like farmers burning forests to grow soybeans. So not only do you have farmers in Iowa who are hurt because of this trade war, because their crop prices are less but you have an incentive for people around the world to clear forests.”

Delaney said people appreciate such a situation more when they spend a lot of time in a place that “supplies a lot of the world’s food,” in an apparent reference to his dozens of trips to Iowa.

Day two of MSNBC's forum will again feature a watch party from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday in the Gold Room of the Memorial Union.

The state of the presidential race in Iowa currently sees a top tier of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, D-Ind. They are the only candidates who reach double digits in polling, according to a recent Iowa State poll conducted by Civiqs.

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