Progressive Democrats of America Invites 23 Democratic Presidential Candidates to Sign Open Letter to DNC Chair Tom Perez Demanding Climate Debate

Aug 18, 2019

Progressive Democrats of America | Press Release

For Immediate Release August 19, 2019

Democratic Party Platform Asserts We’re in a Climate Emergency. What Guides the Party? Its Platform or Fossil Fuel Interests?


Alan Minsky, Executive Director, PDA 818-749-9497 /

Tom Weis, PDA Climate Advisor 303-378-1364 /

August 19, 2019 (Washington, DC) – Today, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) invited 23 Democratic presidential candidates to sign an open letter to DNC Chair Tom Perez demanding a DNC-sanctioned debate on the climate emergency.

The letter asserts that refusing to sponsor such a debate violates the spirit of the DNC’s own governing platform. Described as “the ideas and beliefs that govern our party as a whole,” the 2016 Democratic Party Platform declares the following: 

“Climate change poses an urgent and severe threat to our national security, and Democrats believe it would be a grave mistake for the United States to wait for another nation to take the lead in combating the global climate emergency… We are committed to a national mobilization, and to leading a global effort to mobilize nations to address this threat on a scale not seen since World War II.”

“If the Party Platform actually guides anything, the Democrats will sponsor a climate debate,” said Russell Greene, Senior Strategic Advisor to PDA and an author of the platform’s climate emergency language. “Chairman Perez needs to stop dodging the issue and let the candidates debate their plans. Only a climate-specific debate will show whether the candidates are climate ready or not.”  

“The rest of the world gets we are in a climate emergency,” stated Alan Minsky, Executive Director of PDA. “The Democratic Party Platform says we’re in a climate emergency. Yet for some reason, the DNC is resistant to sponsoring a presidential debate on this existential threat facing all of humanity.” 

PDA and allied groups such as Greenpeace, and Friends of the Earth are ramping up the pressure as DNC Members rally support for a DNC “Resolution to Request a Democratic Presidential Debate on the Climate Crisis” to be voted on at the Aug. 22-24 meeting.

Meanwhile, DNC Chair Tom Perez has introduced a competing resolution designed to kill the push for a DNC-sponsored climate debate by wrongly suggesting that the DNC’s current debate format, and two upcoming independent climate forums, negates the need for a DNC-sponsored debate.

“Low viewership climate forums are no substitute for a nationally televised debate on the greatest crisis humanity has ever faced and Tom Perez knows it,” said PDA Climate Advisor Tom Weis. “Either the Democratic Party is committed to leading a World War II-scale emergency climate mobilization or it’s not.”

The open letter to Chairman Perez, which has been signed by more than 3,000 individuals, insists that the DNC “commit to hosting at least one, if not more, of its presidential debates dedicated solely to the global climate emergency.”

Among the letter’s high-profile signers are Bill McKibben, founder of; Annie Leonard, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA; Erich Pica, President of Friends of the Earth Action; author Naomi Klein; and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Josh Fox.

Russell Greene added: “In November 2020 we will select the President who will lead us through the most critical phase of confronting the impending collapse of civilization.  Do we not want to be sure we are selecting someone who knows that, and who is prepared to lead us through?”

Read the full Open Letter here:

Read more about Progressive Democrats of America, and sign on to the Open Letter at our




  1. Janis Kay

    Ted…He responded. No debate.

  2. Ted Cloak

    Please let us know by email if and when Perez responds!

  3. C. Martin

    Now is the time.