To: Ms. Dee Forbes, Director General, RTÉ and Mr. Pat Kiely, Managing Director, Virgin Media Television (Ireland)
Screen a standalone national TV #GE2020 Leaders' Debate on the single issue of the Climate Crisis
IInvite the leaders of all political parties to take part in a dedicated TV debate focused exclusively on the single issue of the climate crisis (separately from any and all other general election programming, including any general leaders debate). Questions should come from a studio audience composed of a sample of citizens biased in favour of those under 35, and including young people not yet 18, to reflect the disproportionate significance of the climate crisis for future generations.
Why is this important?
The climate crisis is entirely different from all other issues in this general election campaign. It is global in scope, raising genuine existential risk for the stability of all human civilisation within the lifetime of young people already of voting age. It transcends and dwarfs the other issues: there can be no enduring solution to housing, healthcare, education, economic development, peace or justice unless there is a successful response to the climate crisis. For Ireland to now play even its minimal fair share in such a global response would require fundamental and disruptive changes in current political priorities. It is utterly impossible to do justice to this issue without a full debate devoted exclusively to it, and driven by an audience selected explicitly to represent future generations who are entirely reliant on the decisions being made now.
"We need to focus every inch of our being on climate change. Because if we fail to do so, then all of our achievements and progress will be for nothing. And all that will remain of our political leaders’ legacy will be the greatest failure of human history. And they will be remembered as the greatest villains of all time because they have chosen not to listen and not to act." - Greta Thunberg, speech to the European Economic and Social Committee, February 2019.
[Note: This is now a joint/merged petition based on two similar but independent initiatives. The first was created by Nikki Ffrench Davis, the second by Barry McMullin.]
[Image credit: sculpture by Isaac Cordal, "Follow the leaders," Berlin, Germany, April 2011.]