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.
Jay Inslee, 2020 Democrat battling Trump's climate 'degradation'
Clear Lake (United States) (AFP) - Rarely has a candidate gone far in a US presidential race highlighting a singular issue, but Democrat Jay Inslee is aiming to buck that trend with his commitment to tackling climate change.
Unless he does something to dramatically change his trajectory -- he has less than one percent support in polls -- Inslee, currently the governor of Washington state, likely will be an also-ran in the crowded race to decide who challenges President Donald Trump in 2020.
But what he has already achieved makes his candidacy worthy: launching a Democratic policy debate on climate change and how to prevent environmental disaster over the coming decades. ...
Trump, Inslee has stressed, has denied the climate crisis, ending important Obama-era regulations and pulling the United States out of the Paris climate accord.
And on Monday, Trump rolled back key provisions of the Endangered Species Act, the popular law that helped save the bald eagle and grizzly bear.
"I'll stand up against him on his weakest point, which is his environmental degradation," Inslee said.
US voters have rarely considered climate change a top-priority presidential election issue, but that is changing. An April CNN poll labeled it as the single most important issue to Democratic primary voters, topping health care.
Surge in young Republicans worried about the environment: survey
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A growing majority of U.S. Republicans, especially younger voters, are worried that human behavior is damaging the planet, according to a survey of global attitudes to the environment conducted by an Amsterdam-based polling agency.
President Donald Trump, a Republican, has said he will pull the United States out of the 2015 Paris climate accord involving nearly 200 countries and has reversed environmental protections put in place by his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama.
Trump skipped a meeting on climate change during last weekend’s G7 summit in France and said he would not let “dreams” undermine U.S. dominance in fossil fuel production.
The new report by Glocalities, which canvassed views worldwide, showed the number of U.S. Republicans who said they “agreed” or “strongly agreed” with the statement “I worry about the damage humans cause the planet” rose by 11 percentage points to 58% between 2014 and 2019.
The number of Republican voters aged 18-34 who are worried about the issue rose by 18 percentage points to 67%, said the poll, which also showed a 10 percentage point increase among all U.S. Republicans who said they tried “to live eco-consciously”.
“When looking deeper into the data it becomes clear that the highest rise in environmental concern (worldwide) is visible among younger Republicans,” said Glocalities pollster Martijn Lampert, who predicted that shifting views on the environment would influence the next U.S. election in 2020.
Quinnipiac University: Majority Of Voters Say Climate Change Is An Emergency Quinnipiac University Poll Finds
A majority of registered voters nationwide, 56 percent, say that climate change is an emergency, while 42 percent do not. Democrats say that climate change is an emergency 84 - 14 percent, independents say the same 63 - 36 percent, and Republicans say that climate change is not an emergency 81 - 18 percent. Among 18 to 34 year old voters, who may expect to be the most affected by climate change, 74 percent say that climate change is an emergency, while 24 percent do not.
Voters also think that the United States isn't doing enough to address climate change, with 67 percent of voters saying more needs to be done - a new high since the question was first asked by the Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pea-ack) University Poll in December 2015. An additional 20 percent say that the U.S. is doing enough to address climate change, and 8 percent saying that the U.S. is doing too much. Asked whether or not they are worried that they or someone in their family might be affected by an extreme weather event, 40 percent of voters say that they are worried, while 59 percent say that they are not worried.
"As fires in the Amazon rainforest serve as just the latest concern about the planet, there is a sense of urgency about climate change among American voters," said Mary Snow, Polling Analyst for the Quinnipiac University Poll. "More than half call it an emergency."
To which Trump replied, Fuck the law. I don't give a fuck about the law. I want my fucking money.
Democratic candidates are building momentum for a National Climate Bank ...
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has endorsed a National Climate Bank. South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg has proposed the creation of a $250 billion Clean Energy Bank. Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro has proposed a $200 billion Green Infrastructure Fund. Former Tex Rep. Beto O'Rourke plans to channel public investment through a "new dedicated finance entity." Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) calls for the expansion of the Department of Energy's Loan Program Office.
The common thread between these proposals is the establishment of a dedicated institution empowered to combine public funds with private investment, providing low-cost financing to clean energy projects and accelerating the transition of our energy sector away from fossil fuels.
This is precisely the model pioneered by existing Green Banks at the state and local level. These institutions have driven nearly $4 billion in clean energy investment in the U.S. over the past decade. They’ve proven themselves to be cost-effective yet powerful climate policy tools that also lower customers’ energy bills.
This is also the model that the National Climate Bank Act, introduced in the Senate this summer by Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Chris Van Hollen(D-Md.), draws on in establishing a National Climate Bank as an independent non-profit financial institution, and capitalizing it with $35 billion in federal funds. The bill presents the most detailed framework currently available for what such a large-scale Green Bank could look like in the U.S.
The Climate Bank would invest in projects including clean energy, energy efficiency, clean transportation, and the facilitation of the retirement of fossil-fueled power. In directing its investments, it would prioritize environmental justice and would generate economic benefits for communities affected by the transition away from fossil fuels.
A new CGC analysis of the National Climate Bank Act has found that, over its 30-year chartered life, the $35 billion Climate Bank could drive up to $1 trillion in total investment. It could do so using methods already proven by other comparable institutions, including commercial banks, global development banks and existing Green Banks.
Americans increasingly see climate change as a crisis, poll shows
A growing number of Americans describe climate change as a crisis, and two-thirds say President Trump is doing too little to tackle the problem.
The results, from a poll conducted by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), point to a growing disconnect between Americans worried about the warming planet and Trump administration officials, who have aggressively scaled back Obama-era environmental regulations and relinquished the nation’s role as a global leader in pushing for climate action.
The poll finds that a strong majority of Americans — about 8 in 10 — say that human activity is fueling climate change, and roughly half believe action is urgently needed within the next decade if humanity is to avert its worst effects. Nearly 4 in 10 now say climate change is a “crisis,” up from less than a quarter five years ago.
For example, while nearly half of adults say they would be willing to pay a $2 monthly tax on their electricity bills to help combat climate change, just over a quarter say they are willing to pay $10 extra each month. And while two-thirds support stricter fuel-efficiency standards for the nation’s cars and trucks, increases in the gas tax remain deeply unpopular.
Instead, clear majorities say they would prefer that climate initiatives be funded by increasing the taxes on wealthy households and on companies that burn fossil fuels. ...
The Post-KFF poll also comes in the midst of a quickening Democratic presidential campaign that has featured climate change as a central issue. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), who made climate action the centerpiece of his campaign, drew little support and recently dropped out of the race. But his focus on climate action lives on in the proposals of some of the remaining candidates.
Most Americans say climate change should be addressed now – CBS News poll
A majority of Americans think action needs to be taken right now to address climate change. Most consider it at least to be a serious problem — including more than a quarter who say it is a crisis. Seven in 10 think human activity contributes a lot or some to climate change, and most feel they have a personal responsibility to do something about it, although many say they cannot afford to. ...