'It’s Not Too Late': Climate change at the presidential debate

ABC News’ Ginger Zee breaks down the facts from the first climate change question in more than a decade at Tuesday’s presidential debate.
8:35 | 10/02/20

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Transcript for 'It’s Not Too Late': Climate change at the presidential debate
Back to the debate stage climate change got more attention on Tuesday night than any other presidential debate in history. In fact a question on climate broke a long silent street from lottery here's on the topic. Here every dog abhors is Jane Jersey with another segment of its not too late. A. Hi I'm didn't dizzy and it's not too late. If he wants a debate they actually didn't talk about climate change and this week was her first time in twelve years that a moderator has asked about climate change in the presidential debate. I'd like to talk about climate change or die what do you believe about the science of climate change sir. I believe that we have to do everything we can't to have immaculate air immaculate water and do what ever else weekend that's good you know we're planting a billion trees did billion tree project that is very. Only about it in that human. Pollution and gas of greenhouse gas emissions contributes to the global warming up causing a lot of things do but I think to an extent yes. Unlike the rest of the evening there were a lot of statements made that would benefit from some additional context or an outright fact check. So we thought it might be helpful to break it down let's with vice president Joseph Biden's comment on storms like the he said that they wouldn't have happened before temperatures started warm. So we're in real trouble but what's happening just in the midwest for these storms are come through wipe out entire sections in counties in Iowa. That didn't happen before there because of global war me. While the day Rachel and Diallo was significant. And there are still piles of debris maligning the streets of Cedar Rapids nearly two months later. The agricultural impacts bigger than they've ever seen. And debate shows are not as uncommon as you might think. Kind of logically that part of Iowa actually get center ray show every year. Now it's not always as strong or covering the same populated area and but tomatoes in the south's are not rare. I don't love with weather partly because of a similar to reach out with a 130 mile per hour winds a disaster in west Michigan in 1998. Dog and it died very true we knew this was coming I just don't think we knew. The extent do you and then there was the one I covered in Virginia Virginia governor Bob McDonnell has declared a state of emergency had littered with debris and still. Impassable throughout the day. The candidates spent the most time though on wild facts and rightfully cell. Nearly four million acres have burned in California alone this year. That's two times the previous all time record in 2018. Checking if he's giant numbers and affix season and everybody just wants to find one culprit when really there are several. And climate change. Is exacerbating the wildfires by extending the heat which dries out the foliage and not just in California but around twelve everything. I'm close. It's. Everything. But when asked if president chuck believes in the impact of kinda changed he keeps emphasizing the need for forest management. As far as the fires are concerned you need Faris management in addition to everything else. The forest floors are loaded up with tree he's dead trees that a year's old and they like Tinder. And leaves and everything else you drop the standard in that the whole forest burns sent. Forest management is a huge piece of this disastrous fire season puzzle in the American west. Not just California. I think Taurus management means something. Earlier different than a lot of artists and what's worse nation needs and is. To maintain healthier forests that are less vulnerable to catastrophic fires. Actually means introducing more frequent. Low intensity fire and then it just to clarify Schoen. First crack burn aren't good flier is the most realistic looking mitigation verses are raking leaves or picking up dead tree. Yes. To be clear that forest management or that most of these colleges and climate scientists have considered has the potential intervention. It does not mean cutting down forests it does not mean breaking the forest floor. With an extended fire season the window for safe prescribed burns it's smaller than in other states. And the next natural question is who's responsible for managing those forests. You can't every year have. Hundreds of thousands of acres of land just burned to the ground up so that's burning down because of a lack of an aunt Erika. Turns out in the state of California is only responsible for 3%. Of their forest management. 52%. Are federally managed and 45%. Private and and many of the recent fires actually started on federal act which on this map. You concede represents a lot of the states and the cause of those with lightning. Both California and federal land agencies have made changes to the way that they managed forests but of course more could be done. More frequent or intense cease fire alarm is and it may be one of the best Saturday she trolls that we. Any other rich each home is probably thanking her carefully at how we design our communities and how we build our building and farming happens on either of these things are large scale. Can I just point out that humans is absolutely cause a majority of well player missions whenever I post about this you all say handle what about arson. Well unintentionally. And humans do set a lot of fires. 2.3. Million acres of the three point nine million acres burned this year in California mountains started naturally lightning. Not our sense is not likely just. And then during the debate they got to cars and it's a worthy topic because transportation. Represented 28%. Of our greenhouse gases in this country. The jumper that's about his administration's decisions have rolled back rules that would have required all new cars get fifteen miles per gallon. But 20/20 five. No the standard set by the Obama administration. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. The trust administration throws those standards at forty miles per gallon saying that the Obama Arab rule would have made cars too expensive. The EPA and Department of Transportation say that that will make roads safer as people can afford to replace older Cox. Why have you relax fuel economy standards and that. We are gonna create more pollution from Carl not properly because what's happening is that car is much less expensive than it's a much safer car and you talk it about it tiny difference and then what would happen because of the cost of the car you would have at least. Double and triple the number of cars purchased. But Trump's comment that cars would be much cheaper does not include how much more drivers would pay for gas over time. And the overall consequences. Of allowing more greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. Increasing fuel economy will dramatically lower global warming pollution. Fastest space science so the role that we rule. Significantly increase global warming pollution it would be much cheaper but in those in the 500 Allen and they simply elderly are doing a lot of cars off the market because people would be able to afford a car looked Regis all the numbers it consumer reports and the numbers are pretty clear Americans send a lot of money a year gas. And you'll company will help them save that money so what's happening here is by rolling back fuel economy standards. This administration has cost consumers more 3000. Dollars more on fuel over the life of their cars. And ask him more than wiped out any benefits from a slightly lower costs for the meter gold. Even some of the statements in this week's debate did he give the full story about climate change is long overdue to seek questions about the future of our planet is on the national stage if you wanna learn more about the latest science and climate change before you watch the next debate. The government had a lot of very helpful information online you can go to no luck. NASA for the national I'm and then that's been. I'm vendors say and then I promise it's not too late. And we are holding ginger to that promise.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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