Spokane Candidates Answer Questions About Climate Change

Oct 7, 2020

Gonzaga Environmental Studies Professor Brian Henning [upper left] moderated Wednesday night's climate debate, which included Spokane County commissioner candidates Ted Cummings [lower left] and David Green [lower right].

While the vice presidential nominees were debating in Salt Lake City, several Spokane area candidates met virtually to debate climate change.

The forum was sponsored by Gonzaga’s Environmental Studies program and several Spokane area environmental groups.

The candidates were asked about their concerns about climate change, both locally and around the world.

One county commission candidate, Democrat Ted Cummings, said the more active fire behavior in recent years is a clear indication the climate is changing. But two Republican legislative candidates, Bob Apple and Laura Carder, said the bigger problem with wildfires is a lack of forest management. Carder says she agrees the climate is changing, but it’s not because of what people are doing.

“It’s cyclical. I mean, what can we do about it? The sun is what controls most of our climate, the sun and other natural phenomena like the ocean currents. They have more effect on our climate than what we as human beings do," Carder said.

Should Spokane County adopt pollution targets and goals, as the city of Spokane and state of Washington have? Yes, said Democratic county commission candidate David Green. He said the city is far ahead of the county on adapting to climate change, something you can note by looking at the jurisdictions’ respective websites.

"I think there’s a great opportunity to address issues locally to focus on matters relating to our air, as Ted mentioned, certainly our water, which is huge here in Spokane County, as well and land and food policy, because those not only impact the environment, but because they also impact public health and mental health," Green said.

Several candidates, many of them Republicans, on the Spokane County ballot did not participate in Wednesday night’s climate forum.