Questions to ask your candidates

It’s election time, and soon there will be a knock at your door – then another and likely another, from candidates seeking your vote.

Climate change is arguably the most critical issue of our time, and one of the best ways to put it on the agenda of politicians is to mention it in front door conversations, and then ask plenty of questions about where they stand on it and what they plan to do.

If you agree climate change action is critical but are unsure what to ask, here’s a list of sample questions to consider:

  • On a scale of one to ten, how important an issue do you think climate change is?  How does it compare in importance to other issues like health care, the economy and education?
  • Do you accept the science of climate change?  In your view, how much of the climate change we are presently experiencing is due to human factors and how much is due to natural factors? (Note: the latest science is that virtually all is due to human factors.)
  • In October 2018, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s leading body of climate science experts from countries around the world, warned that global emissions must be reduced by 45% by 2030 if warming is to be limited to 1.5°C.  Do you accept that conclusion?
  • Tell me about your party’s climate change platform and emission reduction targets.
  • Where do you think the largest opportunity lies for reducing our emissions?
  • If elected, what would be your top priority or first action regarding climate change?
  • What role do you see carbon pricing playing in climate policy?
  • If you do not support carbon pricing, what is your alternative, and how is it better or more efficient than carbon pricing at reducing emissions? (Note: economists widely agree that carbon pricing is the fairest, most efficient way to tackle climate change; it’s polluter-pay, and it’s far cheaper for governments to administer than regulating industries would be.)
  • Tell me about your willingness to work across party lines to bring about action on climate change.
  • What are your ideas and plans to help communities transition to renewable energy?
  • What are your ideas and plans to help vulnerable communities adapt to the impacts of climate change (like more intense weather events and sea level rise)?
  • What are your ideas and plans to help communities and workers dependent on fossil fuel industries through the economic transition to renewable energy?
  • How do you view the Green New Deal — what does the term mean to you? And do you support it or something like it?
  • Should fossil fuel companies be held accountable for knowing but concealing the impacts climate change?
  • What will you do to reduce carbon emissions in the transportation sector? The industrial sector?  The oil and gas sector? The electricity sector?
  • Climate change is known as a ‘threat multiplier’ in that it will increase the odds of mass migrations, armed conflicts and resource limitations around the world.  What will you do to help us prepare?
  • What steps have you personally taken to reduce your carbon footprint?
  • What steps have you personally taken to reduce your consumption of electricity?
  • What steps have you personally taken to reduce waste in your household?

By now you’ve probably thought of many more you could ask.  The key thing is to ASK, and engage your candidates on climate change.  That way, hopefully, we will see strong action after October 21.

(Do you have a question you think should be added to this list? Please email me at info (at) changeyourcorner (dot) com!)