Takeaways from Climate Town Hall

September 5, 2019

First of all, we had one.


Why it matters: The network was past asking if candidates believe in human-induced warming. The first question to Joe Biden was about whether his plan for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 is too weak, highlighting just how much the center of gravity on the left has moved in recent years.
The event captured the vast dimension of the problem, going way beyond coal and cars to touch on farming, industry, human migration, adaptation, deforestation, trade, the food system, racial and economic justice dimensions of climate — and much, much more.
Some of the biggest takeaways from the event…
Kamala Harris said Senate Democrats should kill filibuster rules if Republicans didn’t work with her on a sweeping climate bill. The California senator had previously been more equivocal.
Big climate legislation faces immense hurdles even if Democrats regain a narrow Senate majority thanks to the 60 votes needed to move bills.
Elizabeth Warren announced support for a carbon tax as part her much wider plan, but offered no real detail. She’d previously signaled overall support for carbon pricing but in blander terms.
Warren also added clarity to her stance on nuclear power. She opposes building new nuclear plants and called for “weaning ourselves off nuclear energy” too.

Biden was put on the defensive, facing on-air questions about a fundraiser he plans to attend Thursday hosted by Andrew Goldman, co-founder of the natural gas company Western LNG. 
Biden is among many candidates who signed a pledge not to take money from fossil-fuel executives.
Biden said that Goldman isn’t listed as an executive in SEC filings. And the campaign said he’s not involved in day-to-day operations, which CNN’s Anderson Cooper noted on-air too.
But the episode won’t help Biden among liberal activists who are already wary of his campaign and climate posture.
Jay Inslee’s campaign lives on. Several candidates — Warren, Harris, Julián Castro and Amy Klobuchar — all approvingly name-checked Inslee’s ideas.
There are real differences between the candidates. Underneath their vows to act aggressively, the event laid bare divides over varying topics:
Nuclear power: “People who think we can get there without nuclear being part of the blend just aren’t looking at the facts,” Sen. Cory Booker said.
Fracking and natural gas: Some candidates backed a ban on fracking. Harris said there’s “no question I’m in favor” of one, but Klobuchar didn’t go nearly that far — nor did Castro.
Carbon pricing: Warren endorsed a tax, and Beto O’Rourke came out in favor of a cap-and-trade system, but specifics were in short supply overall.

10 Responses to “Takeaways from Climate Town Hall”

  1. Ron Benenati Says:

    No mention of Buttigieg or Sander?
    Sanders has been out front with his positions long before others were put on the spot to come out with one.. But Buttigieg was a real surprise for me. He seems to have a handle on the complexity of the issue that only Sanders and Warren shared.
    Biden was pathetic he seem to run out of staff-provided taking points in the first minute and just kept falling back on them over and over like a lost kid walking in circles

    • jimbills Says:

      Haven’t had a chance to watch it, so reserving judgment. But, I have noticed a conspicuous lack of Buttigieg getting noticed in the coverage. CNN has this:

      Really awful opinions, I’m sure – par for the course there. And generally, coverage of the event is being drowned out by Dorian and Brexit – to be expected.

      Guardian has this:

      Right now, the conspiracy theorist in me is saying that Buttigieg has lost coverage (in a mostly centrist media) the past month or so in an attempt to keep the spotlights and focus on Biden, but who knows. They’ll still talk about Warren and Sanders – but then they are splitting the vote on the more liberal side, and so helping Biden and the centrist bloc.

      • J4Zonian Says:

        Buttigieg was 11th from the bottom in Greenpeace’s report card, with a 38 out of 100, which they somehow ludicrously called a C. (They graded the Democrats on a curve, trying desperately to differentiate them from the Republicans and make it seem like they were sane.) He shares his corporate views with the lower 20 or so candidates, and it would be a disaster if he came anywhere near the White House except on a tour.

        People are so used to the daily steamshovels full from right wing politicians and corporate media, most still don’t know what’s necessary, or even real. A fracking ban on federal land should happen the first day of the new administration, just prep for nationalizing the fossil fuel, agro-chemical and complicit banking industries to shut them down in coordination with building a new clean safe renewable energy system and regenerative agriculture and forestry. Nukes are a dangerous and expensive detour we can’t afford, while dozens of studies have used different methods to show lots of different paths to 100% clean safe renewable energy in time to avoid the worst of climate catastrophe.

        It’s decades too late for any market solutions to do more than sweep up the crumbs left by more forceful and effective policies. Call it a climate mobilization, Green New Deal, or Marshall Plan for the climate, it needs to be strong, radical, comprehensive and respond to the emergency in an appropriate way.

        Buttigieg is just another a corporate shill; his funding shows it if it’s not obvious from what he’s saying. Their machinations to prevent people from getting the progressive president they want and need is disgusting, despicable and anti-democratic.

        “…Democratic leaders, strategists, donors – and even a presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg – had met to discuss “the matter of What To Do About Bernie”.”

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Forget Buttgag and all the other men—-A woman is what is needed to get the most votes from the most groups (including the dying “centrist” bloc)

          Warren 2020!

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      It’ll take the MSM a while to deal with it, but Biden has lost the only edge he had: name recognition as Obama’s Veep. Even a lot of the geezer money is shifting away from him.

  2. doldrom Says:

    “Carbon dividend” not “Carbon tax”.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      It can’t be just a domestic tax, either, but include some kind of complicated tariff on imports with high carbon footprints. 😦

  3. Patrick Linsley Says:

    They missed that Sanders laid out that part of the funding for it would come from the military budget because we wouldn’t be spending it to guard oil shipments world wide. That’s the first time I remember anyone saying they would rightly take a hatchet to our insane stupid bloated military budget. Big big deal.

  4. andrewfez Says:

    If you want to vote on the strongest climate candidate, first you have to look at the corruption in Washington:

    Sanders is the only one that won’t take corporate bribes in the general election. Sanders is also willing to put in the work and go state by state to help primary other democrats that won’t vote for his vision; he’ll use his popularity to destroy the careers of those that think it’s okay to take corporate cash then perpetually pretend Republicans are arm twisting them into bad decisions. He’s not trying to be president, he’s trying to use that office as a tool to continue his revolution.

    Warren has already stated she will take the bribes in the general because she doesn’t believe in ‘unilateral disarmament’. DNC has already reneged on the notion that they won’t take corporate cash from the fossil industry. We’ve got big corporate donors like Third Way pushing for her (out of fear of Sanders, because they know Joe is going down). Put those ideas together and predict what she will do. She’s also voted with Trump each time on expanding the military budget because of the corrupting influence of the military industrial complex in her home state; and if you want to get at big cash to transform our energy system, the trillions we are bleeding into useless wars, that incidendally just create more terrorists, would be a good start (likely in her case a non-start). I think she’ll try to do some good stuff but will constantly be trying to diametrically please both donors and voters, which gives the Republicans enough room to block, confound, or otherwise obstruct what she would like.

    Because of the corruption in the system, you can’t ‘work’ with Republicans on ‘bipartisan’ climate legislation; all you can do is make them irrelevant by overwhelming them with numbers and tenacity. Sanders is the only one in a position to do that.

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