Hey, presidential wannabes: Can you hear us now?

The next GOP presidential debate is nigh, and as Lisa Hymas wrote last week, we’re tired of gabbing about the Moon. Past debate questions haven’t cut it: Only two out of 839 questions asked at presidential debates last year involved climate change, and the rest of the questions focused mostly on survey data and campaign strategy (nodding off yet?). Where are the questions that really matter? More specifically: Where are the climate questions?

So before the GOP debate in Arizona, we turned to savvy Grist readers to help us cut through the political hackery and ask the burning questions that really need answering. (We’re partnering with the Guardian and other news outlets in this effort.) Turns out you’re ready to grill the candidates on clean energy, fracking, public health, and more.

Reader Rebecca Thistlethwaite sums it up nicely: “When are you going to give a shit about the world our grandchildren are going to inherit?” Exactly.

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“Do you still consider fracking to be a ‘renewable’ and ‘clean’ source of energy?” — Lindsay McNamara via Twitter

“Will you decrease U.S. dependence on oil/natural gas and promote clean energy like wind, solar, and tidal? If so, how? If not, why?” — Sarah Elizabeth Link, via Twitter

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“Can you remember all the dead things in the Gulf and the 11 who perished as you decide on our energy options?” — SeasideOil, via Twitter

“Given that the negative-impacts of the entire ‘cycle,’ including the methods used to obtain, transport, and utilize energy-fuels, MUST be considered: How and why is shale-gas, obtained by ‘fracking’– with its known disastrous impacts to our environment — called or included as a ‘clean energy’?!” — LE Thompson, via Facebook

Climate change

“Make it AZ relevant: What role will [the president] have in preparing the southwest for the future effects of intensified droughts?” — Ryan Spillers, via Twitter

“Do you agree that the U.S. has been a major contributor to causes of climate change and global warming, and bears a proportionate responsibility for grappling with the problem?” — Nick Chapman, via Google+

“Since learning of climate change, what changes have you made to promote efficiency and clean energy in your everyday life?” — Mary Keck, via Twitter

“If elected president tell me what you’d do to bring back winter? #nosnow&40degreesinMNsucks” — Michael McMahon, via Twitter

“Why (Gingrich, Romney) did you flip flop on #climate change? What scientific data supports your hoax theory (Santorum)?” — Peg Mitchell, via Twitter


“How do you plan to sustain an economy that demands infinite growth upon a finite resource base when we are already well beyond our means?” — Edward Markie, via Facebook

“China is becoming a leader in green energy. Are you not concerned that the U.S. will lose competitiveness?” — Paulo Barreto, via Twitter

“What will you do to help the poor gain access to alternative energy items when they cannot afford to buy them themselves?” — Mikhaela McCullough, via Twitter

“How is your plan to cut taxes for the wealthy different from what President Bush did, and explain why your plan won’t cause another Great Recession.” — NHSolarguy, via comments

Food and health

“Do you think there might be a link between the gross amount of corn that we grow in this country and the obesity epidemic? Couldn’t we do more in reducing health costs by promoting healthy food such as fruits and vegetables?” — Gary Brever, via Facebook

“Do you personally like knowing what is in your food and/or where it came from? What is your opinion on food labeling?” — Sewassbe, via comments


“How are you using your powers as POTUS to ensure a safe climate for your children and their children?” — George Hoberg, via Twitter

“Where do you see the planet twenty years from now?” — Tim Phan-Nguyen, via Facebook

“Do you agree that a shift from the private car, trucks and jets to more environmentally-friendly forms of transport, including rail and public transit is urgently needed?” — Nick Chapman, via Google+


“What action would it take now for you to be viewed in a century as Theodore Roosevelt is today?” — Jonathan Guerts, via Twitter

Wealth and campaign finance

“How many power plants can Mitt Romney buy?” — Achille Bianchi, via Facebook

“Would any of the candidates, if elected President, veto any legislation that benefitted the major contributors to their campaign, Nation Political Party, PAC and SuperPACs that supported their election whose donation exceded $100k to prove thay are dedicated to serve the people and not their cronies?” — Kenneth R. Lunce, Jr., via comments


“Why is it illegal to cultivate hemp in the US but OK to import it? Let it grow!” — Pam McGuffey, via Facebook


“Do you have ANY factual statements?” — Jeremy Goodwin, via Facebook

“Do you have a secret Grindr account that you use to troll Saturday night ass after a long day of spewing homophobic ignorance?  Do you have any qualifications other than bigotry?” — NH, via comments


“What is your favorite book?” — Matt Bernau, via Facebook

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