BY JENNI FINK ON 9/19/19 AT 3:00 AM EDT
College Republicans at Georgetown University will host an event on campus to counter a climate change forum that is set to feature a number of 2020 democratic presidential candidates.
In coordination with Our Daily Planet, Georgetown’s Institute of Politics and Public Service will host two days of climate change-centric conversations between presidential candidates and young voters. Moderated by MSNBC hosts Chris Hayes and Ali Velshi, the event will be a town-hall-style event and streamed live.
Less than half a mile away from where at least nine candidates, including Senator Bernie Sanders, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and entrepreneur Andrew Yang are slated to speak, the College Republicans will host their own panel of speakers.
Titled, “Climate Forum: a Rebuttal,” Rowan Saydlowski, vice president of Georgetown’s College Republicans, said in a statement that the event’s goal was to provide an “alternative perspective” for students.
The upcoming presidential election will be the first election many college-aged voters will be able to participate in and it makes sense that a climate change discussion would be hosted on campus since several polls identified it as a top issue for the young voting demographic. College Reaction, a polling and research company, released a survey in September that found almost 31 percent of respondents put climate change as their number one issue, followed by the economy and health care.
On Thursday night, Georgetown students will have the choice to attend the climate forum or the rebuttal.
For those opting for the rebuttal, they’ll have the chance to listen to five speakers, identified as the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow’s Marc Morano and Paul Driessen, CO2 Coalition’s Caleb Rossiter and Patrick Michaels and the Institute for Energy Research’s Kenny Stein.
The speakers have been criticized for being climate change skeptics and even deniers for raising questions or outright rejecting claims about the extent to which climate change was caused by humans.
In 2016, Morano discussed his film, Climate Hustle, with scientist Bill Nye. During a clip of their meeting, Nye asked Morano if he agreed that 2015 was the hottest year on record, to which he responded that he agreed that was what government agencies claimed.
Morano has accused people of using global warming as a fearmongering tactic and in April, dismissed former Representative Beto O’Rourke’s climate change plan, claiming that carbon dioxide was not pollution and calling his plan a “tepid” Green New Deal.
“GUCR does not necessarily endorse every view of every speaker we bring; however, we see our role at the university as providing a platform for right-wing perspectives where there otherwise may not be a space for them,” Saydlowski said in a statement.
While the majority of speakers at Georgetown’s Climate Forum were Democratic presidential candidates, it wasn’t the only party set to be represented. Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, who is challenging President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination, will also attend.
Over the weekend, Weld shared his plan for dealing with climate change in New Hampshire. Among the list of actions he would take would be to rejoin the Paris Climate agreement and make the United States carbon neutral by 2050. He criticized Trump for having a plan that would be “doing nothing at all.”
Mo Elleithee, Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service, in a statement, credited the event with being a “tremendous opportunity” for candidates to “dive deep” into the issue while engaging with young voters.