Democrats Are United on Climate Change, but Not on What to Do About It
The New York Times sent a climate policy survey to the 2020 Democrats. All of them want to stick to the Paris Agreement. Beyond that, the questions get harder. ...
Among the 18 declared candidates, there is no broad consensus on taxing polluters on their carbon emissions — a measure most experts say is needed to slow global warming. And when it comes to building new nuclear power plants or adding federal regulations, there is even less agreement.
Those divisions were apparent in the candidates’ responses to a new climate policy questionnaire from The New York Times. They unanimously supported remaining in the Paris Agreement and restoring Obama-era policies that Mr. Trump has abandoned. But scientists are clear that preventing catastrophic climate change will require going well beyond those policies.
While the candidates agreed with that assessment, few offered detailed strategies for getting it done. Some have supported the Green New Deal in principle, but that congressional resolution was more a statement of ideals than a plan of action.
After years of hovering toward the bottom of voters’ concerns, climate change is having something of a moment. A poll conducted by environmental groups in early primary states found that 84 percent of likely Democratic voters ranked acting on climate change and moving the United States fully to clean energy as essential or very important.
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New York Times
A climate change solution slowly gains ground
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — At the end of a cul-de-sac called Fresh Way, two bright green structures the size of shipping containers gleam in the warm sunlight, quietly sucking from the air the carbon dioxide that is warming the planet.
One structure houses computer monitors and controls. Atop the other, large fans draw air through slabs made of honeycomb-style ceramic cubes. The cubes hold proprietary chemicals that act like sponges, absorbing carbon dioxide at room temperature. Every 15 minutes, the slabs rotate and the cubes are heated, releasing a stream of 99 percent pure carbon dioxide into a shiny steel pipe.
This is Global Thermostat, one of just three companies at the leading edge of the hunt for ways of skimming carbon dioxide from the air. It is a tiny step, but a hopeful one, toward reducing global warming. Amid a steady drumbeat of grim news about climate change, more and more people are captivated by the idea that a feasible process can help offset decades of damage to the atmosphere. ...
Over the past several years, the firms have vied to make technological progress. The cost of carbon capture has fallen from $600 a ton to as low as $100 a ton — and lower if a cheap or free source of heat or energy is available.
Federal subsidies are just as important. New U.S. federal tax credits provide as much as $50 for every ton of carbon dioxide captured and stored underground in well-sealed geological formations.
Biden's 'middle ground' climate policy is code for 'pro natural gas'
The trial balloon that the Biden campaign floated last week — the one about how he wanted a “middle ground” climate policy — set off the closest thing to a scuffle the Democratic primary field has seen yet, with one rival after another insisting that there was no middle ground to be had, only (as the author and activist Naomi Klein put it) “sinking ground, burning ground, churning ground.”
Still, we may have reason to be thankful to Biden’s team, for it’s possible that they’ve brought into the open the semi-secret internal Democratic debate on climate. It’s not actually about the danger of global warming, which thankfully everyone more or less agrees on. It’s actually about natural gas.
Here’s a short history lesson: President Obama came to office in 2008 with a dead-in-the-water national economy, a commitment to reducing carbon emissions, and a rapidly expanding new technology: fracking for natural gas.
That technology helped restart economic growth, and because when you burn natural gas it gives off less carbon than coal it also seemed to address climate change. It was, in Washington parlance, a win-win, even for the oil companies, who rapidly expanded their shale gas portfolios. Year after year, Obama boasted about the natural gas surge in his State of the Union addresses. Biden has followed right along.
Last week in Iowa he said, “the United States is soon going to be the largest producer of energy of any nation in the world by the end of the 2020s. My Lord, what are we so afraid of?”
Where 2020 Democrats stand on Climate change
Do you support the Green New Deal resolution?
Hover for more information, click to highlight a candidate ...
The Democratic takeover of the House refocused the climate conversation in Washington. Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) along with Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced a nonbinding resolution calling for a Green New Deal, which aims to achieve a “fair and just transition” to net-zero emissions and ties climate action to other progressive goals such as universal health care and a jobs guarantee. The resolution, which became the subject of GOP mockery, has drawn criticism from labor leaders and some Democratic presidential hopefuls.
Climate change has emerged as a key issue in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Candidates frequently discuss climate change on the campaign trail and often face questions from the audience on how they will address the issue.
Where the candidates stand
Here’s where 2020 candidates stand on issues related to climate change, based on candidate statements, voting records and answers to a questionnaire we sent every campaign.
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Noted intellekshual Ban Shapiro, on the economics of Climate Change
"[Moderate] doesn't mean you don't have views. It just means your views aren't predictable ideologically one way or the other, and you're trying to follow the facts where they lead and reach your own conclusions."
-- Sen. King (I-ME)
-- Sen. King (I-ME)
New York Times OpEd - Justin Gillis
The Democratic Party Is Trying to Downplay Climate Change. Don’t Let It.
Surely the party can devote one-twelfth of its debate time to the issue that imperils civilization.
Now we know. The Democratic Party establishment in Washington really believes it is going to get away with running another round of presidential primaries in which the climate crisis is basically hidden in the attic.
The proof came this week, when the Democratic National Committee informed one of the candidates, Jay Inslee, that it had turned down his call to hold a candidate debate specifically about climate change.
People are roasting alive in California towns hit by the deadliest wildfires in the state’s history. Midwestern cities are reeling from deluge upon deluge. Coastal communities are starting to drown from a relentlessly rising sea.
None of that is enough, apparently, for the Democratic Party to choose to put this issue front-and-center in the primary campaign. Not only did the D.N.C. turn Mr. Inslee down; according to him, the party informed him that he would be banned from party-sponsored debates if he took part in any unofficial candidate debate on climate change.
In a statement, the party declared it would not schedule any single-issue debates, so that voters would “have the ability to hear from candidates on dozens of issues of importance.” That might make sense if the D.N.C. were only planning two or three debates. It is planning 12; surely the party can afford to devote a twelfth of its debate time to the issue that threatens to throw human civilization into crisis.
Democrats are seriously tackling the climate crisis: No more half-measures or neoliberal compromises
At least seven 2020 candidates have serious climate plans — and they're not bowing to fossil-fuel interests
Already seven Democratic presidential hopefuls have offered detailed plans for confronting the climate crisis — including the two current (perceived) frontrunners, “moderate” Joe Biden and “progressive” Bernie Sanders, along with Elizabeth Warren, Beto O’Rourke, Jay Inslee, John Hickenlooper and John Delaney. (Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand have sponsored the Green New Deal resolution but have not yet released individual policies.)
Media coverage has predictably focused on the horse race: What significance the increased salience of the issue has with primary voters, how the plans and candidates differ from each other, and whether there will or will not be a separate debate on climate. (At this writing, the Democratic National Committee still says there won't be.)
But from a climate perspective, what’s revealing (and fascinating) is the degree to which the candidates and their plans are, at heart, indistinguishable. As a group, none of these climate planks harken back to Barack Obama’s “all of the above” genuflection to the enduring political power of fossil fuels. Nor do they resemble Hillary Clinton’s 2016 proposals, which focused almost entirely on renewable power — ambitious but narrow. They eschew the carbon-pricing emphasis of many Beltway economists and policy mavens. And they avoid the austerity frame that climate deniers have for so long used to dampen public support for clean energy. ...
But the Democratic candidates have also introduced some new ingredients, drawn heavily from the Green New Deal. Here’s what the emerging Democratic climate platform looks like, and why it’s important.