Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Climate Excerpts from the January 14th Democratic Presidential Debate

Here is a comprehensive summary of references to climate change from the CNN/Des Moines Register Democratic debate at Drake University on January 14th 2020. There were six Democratic Presidential candidates that qualified to participate in this debate they are Tom Steyer, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former South Bend Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Here are the candidates references to climate change in the order that they appeared during the debate.

BUTTIGIEG: The next president is going to be confronted with national security challenges different in scope and in kind from anything we've seen before, not just conventional military challenges, not just stateless terrorism, but cybersecurity challenges, climate security challenges, foreign interference in our elections. It's going to take a view to the future, as well as the readiness, to learn from the lessons of the past. And for me, those lessons of the past are personal.

WARREN: I believe the principal job of the commander-in-chief is to keep America safe. And I think that's about judgment...We have to think about climate. We also have to think about how we spend money.

STEYER: But at the same time, there's a gigantic climate issue in Australia, which also requires the same kind of value-driven coalition-building that we actually should be using in the Middle East. We need to ask ourselves, how are we going to provide a world that is safer for Americans, where we can prosper more? And every single thing we should do should follow into that strategy. And it's just not happening in Washington, D.C.

SANDERS: [E]very major environmental organization has said no to this new trade agreement because it does not even have the phrase "climate change" in it. And given the fact that climate change is right now the greatest threat facing this planet, I will not vote for a trade agreement that does not incorporate very, very strong principles to significantly lower fossil fuel emissions in the world...The AFL-CIO does. The Machinists Union does not. And every environmental organization in this country, including the Sunrise Organization, who are supporting my candidacy, opposes it...So I happen to believe — and I hope we will talk about climate change in a moment — if we do not get our act together in terms of climate change, the planet that we're going to be leaving our kids and our children — and our grandchildren will be increasingly unlivable and uninhabitable.

STEYER: Look, on the first day, I would undo Mr. Trump's tariffs. On the first day, I would get rid of his waivers that Sen. Klobuchar was referring to, to oil refiners, so that not having to use corn-based ethanol.In fact, these trade deals have been exactly what Sen. Sanders and Warren have been saying, which is that they've been designed to grow the American GDP for the corporations of America, not for the working people of America, and not to protect the climate.So let me say this. I'm the only person on this stage who says climate is my number one priority. I would not sign this deal, because if climate is your number one priority, you can't sign a deal, even if it's marginally better for working people until climate is also taken into consideration. Look, I've got four kids between the ages of 26 and 31. I cannot allow this country to go down the path of climate destruction. Everybody in their generation knows it. Frankly, Mayor Buttigieg, you're their generation. I think you would be standing up more — look, that's why I'm standing up for it. We cannot put climate on the backseat all the time and say we're going to sign this one more deal, we're going to do one more thing without putting climate first. That's why it's my number one priority. We can do it in a way that makes us richer, but we have to do it.

BUTTIGIEG: The next president is going to be confronted with national security challenges different in scope and in kind from anything we've seen before, not just conventional military challenges, not just stateless terrorism, but cybersecurity challenges, climate security challenges, foreign interference in our elections. It's going to take a view to the future, as well as the readiness, to learn from the lessons of the past. And for me, those lessons of the past are personal.

WARREN: I believe the principal job of the commander-in-chief is to keep America safe. And I think that's about judgment...We have to think about climate. We also have to think about how we spend money.

STEYER: But at the same time, there's a gigantic climate issue in Australia, which also requires the same kind of value-driven coalition-building that we actually should be using in the Middle East. We need to ask ourselves, how are we going to provide a world that is safer for Americans, where we can prosper more? And every single thing we should do should follow into that strategy. And it's just not happening in Washington, D.C.

SANDERS: [E]very major environmental organization has said no to this new trade agreement because it does not even have the phrase "climate change" in it. And given the fact that climate change is right now the greatest threat facing this planet, I will not vote for a trade agreement that does not incorporate very, very strong principles to significantly lower fossil fuel emissions in the world...The AFL-CIO does. The Machinists Union does not. And every environmental organization in this country, including the Sunrise Organization, who are supporting my candidacy, opposes it...So I happen to believe — and I hope we will talk about climate change in a moment — if we do not get our act together in terms of climate change, the planet that we're going to be leaving our kids and our children — and our grandchildren will be increasingly unlivable and uninhabitable.

STEYER: Look, on the first day, I would undo Mr. Trump's tariffs. On the first day, I would get rid of his waivers that Sen. Klobuchar was referring to, to oil refiners, so that not having to use corn-based ethanol.In fact, these trade deals have been exactly what Sen. Sanders and Warren have been saying, which is that they've been designed to grow the American GDP for the corporations of America, not for the working people of America, and not to protect the climate.So let me say this. I'm the only person on this stage who says climate is my number one priority. I would not sign this deal, because if climate is your number one priority, you can't sign a deal, even if it's marginally better for working people until climate is also taken into consideration. Look, I've got four kids between the ages of 26 and 31. I cannot allow this country to go down the path of climate destruction. Everybody in their generation knows it. Frankly, Mayor Buttigieg, you're their generation. I think you would be standing up more — look, that's why I'm standing up for it. We cannot put climate on the backseat all the time and say we're going to sign this one more deal, we're going to do one more thing without putting climate first. That's why it's my number one priority. We can do it in a way that makes us richer, but we have to do it.

BUTTIGIEG: Well, that's right. This issue is personal for me. It's why we're going to tackle climate from day one. It's why we've got to make sure that we have better answers than we do today. Now, what I've noticed is, pretty much all of us propose that we move on from fossil fuels by the middle of the century, starting with actions that we take right now. The question is, how are we going to make sure any of this actually gets done? Because people have been saying the right things in these debates for literally decades. The other day in Winterset, there was a kid at one of my events, raised his hand and he pointed out that he expects to be here in his 90s in the year 2100. He will sit in judgment over what we do, not just what we on this stage do, anyone old enough to vote right now, whether we actually put together the national project it will require to meet our climate goals, to act aggressively, not just re-joining the Paris Climate Accord, that's table stakes, but to actually move on from the fossil-dependent economy we live in today...And my plan is paid for. Look, our party should no longer hesitate to talk about the issue of the debt and the deficit. Now, we've got a dramatically better track record on it than Republicans do. In my lifetime, it's almost invariably Republican presidents who have added to the deficit, a trillion dollars under this president. And it's why everything I've put forward — from Medicare for all who want it to the historic investments we're going to make in infrastructure to dealing with climate change — is fully paid for...That's why we have to fight climate change with such urgency. Climate change has come to America from coast to coast. Seeing it in Iowa. We have seen it in historic floods in my community. I had to activate our emergency operation center for a once-in-a-millennium flood. Then two years later had to do the same thing. In Australia there are literally tornadoes made of fire taking place. This is no longer theoretical and this is no longer off in the future. We have got to act, yes, to adapt, to make sure communities are more resilient, to make sure our economy is ready for the consequences that are going to happen one way or the other. But we also have to ensure that we don't allow this to get any worse. And if we get right, farmers will be a huge part of the solution. We need to reach out to the very people who have sometimes been made to feel that accepting climate science would be a defeat for them, whether we're talking about farmers or industrial workers in my community, and make clear that we need to enlist them...in the national project to do something about it...We are going to have to use federal funds to make sure that we are supporting those whose lives will inevitably be impacted further by the increased severity and the increased frequency. And by the way, that is happening to farms, that is happening to factories, and that disproportionately happens to black and brown Americans, which is why equity and environmental justice have to be at the core of our climate plan going forward.

STEYER: Look, what you're talking about is what's called managed retreat. It's basically saying we're going to have to move things because this crisis is out of control. And it's unbelievably expensive. And of course we'll come to the rescue of Americans who are in trouble. But this is why climate is my number one priority. And I'm still shocked that I'm the only person on this stage who will say this. I would declare a state of emergency on day one on climate. I would do it from the standpoint of environmental justice and make sure we go to the black and brown communities where you can't breathe the air or drink the water that comes out of the tap safely. But I also know this, we're going to create millions of good-paying union jobs across this country. It's going to be the biggest job program in American history. So I know we have to do it. I know we can do it. And I know that we can do it in a way that makes us healthier, that makes us better paid, and is more just. But the truth of the matter is, we're going to have to do it and we're going to have to make the whole world come along with us. And it's going to have to be...priority one....I absolutely am. Look, we invested in every part of the economy. And over 10 years ago I realized that there was something going on that had to do with fossil fuels, that we had to change. So I divested from fossil fuels. I took the Giving Pledge to give most of my money away while I'm alive. And for 12 years I have been fighting the climate crisis. I have beat oil companies in terms of clean air laws. I have stopped fossil fuel plants in Oxnard, California. I fought the Keystone pipeline. I have a history of over a decade of leading the climate fight successfully...So actually, yes, I am the person here who has the chops and the history that says, I'll make it priority one, because I have been doing it for a long time.

WARREN: Yes [I will restore environmental protections including environmental reviews for infrastructure projects]. Climate change threatens every living thing on this planet. And the urgency of the moment cannot be overstated. I will do everything a president can do all by herself on the first day. I will roll back the environmental changes that Donald Trump is putting in place. I will stop all new drilling and mining on federal lands, and offshore drilling. That will help us get in the right directions. I'll bring in the farmers. Farmers can be part of the climate solution. We should see this for the problem it is. Mr. Steyer talks about it being problem number one. Understand this, we have known about this climate crisis for decades. Back in the 1990s we were calling it global warming, but we knew what it was. Democrats and Republicans back then were working together because no one wanted a problem. But you know what happened? The industry came in and said, we can make big money if we keep them divided and make no change. Priority number one has to be taking back our government from the corruption. That is the only way we will make progress on climate, on gun safety, on health care, on all of the issues that matter to us.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, first of all, I would note that I have 100 percent rating from the League of Conservation Voters. And that is because I have stood tall on every issue that we have talked about up here when it comes to this administration, this Trump administration, trying to reverse environmental protections. I think it is going to lead to so many problems. And one thing that hasn't been raised, by the way, is the rules on methane, which is actually one of the most environmentally dangerous hazards that they have recently embarked on. And I would bring those rules back as well as a number of other ones. When it comes to the issue of fracking, I actually see natural gas as a transition fuel. It's a transition fuel to where we get to carbon neutral. Nearly every one of us has a plan that is very similar. And that is to get to carbon neutral by 2045 to 2050, to get to by 2030 to a 45 percent reduction. And I want to add one thing that no one's really answered. When we do this, we have to make sure that we make people whole. And when we put a tax on carbon, which we will do either through cap-and-trade or through a renewable electricity standard or through a fee on carbon...then we have to make sure the money goes back to the people...that will be hurt by it...to help with their energy bills and to bring jobs to areas that will lose jobs.

SANDERS: Let's be clear. If we as a nation do not transform our energy system away from fossil fuel, not by 2050, not by 2040, but unless we lead the world right now — not easy stuff— the planet we are leaving our kids will be uninhabitable and unhealthy. We are seeing Australia burning. We saw California burning. The drought here in Iowa is going to make it harder for farmers to produce the food that we need. This is of course a national crisis. I introduced legislation to indicate it's a national crisis. We have got to take on the fossil fuel industry and all of their lies and tell them that their short-term profits are not more important than the future of this planet. That's what the Green New Deal does. That's what my legislation does. And that is what we have to do.

BIDEN: My response is, back in 1986, I introduced the first climate change bill — and check PolitiFacts (sic); they said it was a game-changer. I've been fighting this for a long time. I headed up the Recovery Act, which put more money into moving away from fossil fuels to — to solar and wind energy than ever has occurred in the history of America. Look, what we have to do is we have to act right away. And the way we act right away is, immediately if I'm elected president, I'll reinstate all the mileage standards that existed in our administration which were taken down. That's 12 billion gallons of gasoline — barrels of gasoline to be saved immediately. And with regard to those folks who in fact are going to be victimized by what's already happened, we should be investing in infrastructure that raises roads, makes sure that we're in a position where we have — that every new highway built is a green highway, having 550,000 charging stations. We can create — and this is where I agree with Tom — we can create millions of good-paying jobs. We're the only country in the world that's ever taken great crisis and turned it into great opportunity. And one of the ways to do it is with farmers here in Iowa, by making them the first group in the world to get to net zero emissions by paying them for planting and absorbing carbon in their fields right...

KLOBUCHAR: So if you want to do something about racial justice and immigration reform and climate change and gun safety, we need a candidate who is actually going to bring people with her.

WARREN: So much is broken in this country. I sat here in the break and just made notes about many of the things we didn't get to talk about tonight: how the disability community is struggling for true equality; how gun violence and active shooter drills worry every mother in this country; how children are living in poverty and seeing their life chances shrink; how transwomen, particularly transwomen of color, are at risk; black infant mortality; climate change that particularly hits black and brown communities; people who are being crushed by student loan debt; farmers who are barely holding on; people struggling with mental illness. And yet I come here tonight with a heart filled with hope. And it's filled with hope because I see this as our moment in history, our moment when no one is left on the sidelines, our moment when we understand that it comes to us to decide the future of this country, our moment when we build the movement to make real change. Hope and courage. That is how I will make you proud every day, as your nominee and as the first woman president of the United States of America.

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