Week In Review: April 5, 2019

Climate on the Campaign Trail

From an agriculture-focused forum in rural Iowa to the progressive We The People summit in DC — and at many stops in between — presidential candidates shared their thoughts and ideas on climate action in many ways this week.

Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) announced his campaign for president on The View, where he advocated for harnessing the opportunities in clean energy and electric vehicles. He added, “you need the innovation and the power of the free market” to green the economy. Ryan supports the Paris climate agreement, noting that it was “not anywhere close to what we need to do.”   

We The People Membership Summit

Climate change came up throughout the democracy-focused Summit in Washington, DC. Watch the candidates’ speeches and their Q&A sessions on MSNBC’s Facebook page, part 1 and part 2.

Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro (D-TX) spoke first, and in his opening remarks he reiterated his intention to recommit to the Paris climate agreement on day one.  

Senator Cory Booker (D- NJ) talked about his support for the Green New Deal, among other progressive policies, in response to a question about the reforming the filibuster.  

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) also expressed her support for recommitting to the Paris climate agreement on day one in her opening remarks. When told she had two minutes left, Klobuchar chose to zero in on climate change, detailing campaign events on climate in Florida and California and sharing the story of a family in Iowa losing their home to flooding.  Klobuchar’s campaign released a video sharing their story.

Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) said he would prioritize addressing climate change in the first 100 days of his presidency, acknowledging that the Paris climate agreement could be even more ambitious. O’Rourke also noted the strength of the clean energy economy and credited young people for elevating the fight for climate action.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) repeated previous statements decrying how Washington works well for Big Oil but not for those of us working to address climate change. Warren added that we have to take action to limit the power of the fossil fuel industry.  

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spoke out against corruption and the power of corporations, including the fossil fuel industry efforts to deny climate change and block action. Sanders also made the case for creating an economy that works for all people, in part by making our energy sector more efficient and sustainable.  

Governor Jay Inslee (D-WA) connected the issues of climate change and the economy, calling for a just transition that addresses income inequality and takes into account the communities dealing with the brunt of pollution. Inslee also spoke about why climate change is a winning issue.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said climate change is “the greatest threat to humanity” and noted the impacts of wildfires in California, Superstorm Sandy in New York, and storms across the country. Gillibrand called the Green New Deal a great starting point because it invests in infrastructure, creates green jobs, and protects clean air and water.     

The Heartland Forum

In Iowa, candidates “outlined rural-focused policies that would support small farmers, bolster labor unions and combat climate change.” Here is a recap of the ways climate change came up during and around the forum.

Senator Warren noted that farmers can play a key role in combating climate change and warned that “we’re running out of time.”

In response to audience concerns about agribusiness policies fueling pollution and climate change, Secretary Castro vowed to help protect farms and the environment by appointing people “who believe in environmental protection.”

Former Congressman John Delaney (D-MD) shared his plans for increasing rural investment in areas like climate-resilient infrastructure. Ahead of the forum, Delaney released a climate plan, which includes a carbon fee, increasing the Department of Energy’s budget, and redirecting the fossil fuel industry’s tax subsidies.

Senator Klobuchar praised farmers for their environmental stewardship and committed to “battle climate change and its implications for agricultural land.”

On the Campaign Trail

Candidates were also pushing for climate action in many other ways.

Campaigning in Massachusetts, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN) earned the “biggest cheers of the night” when he spoke about the urgent need to act on climate. Buttigieg also focused on addressing climate change as a national security issue in a recent interview.

Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) called out climate science deniers for blocking action at a campaign stop in northern Nevada. In a tweet, Harris also made the connection between climate change and public health in a call for action.

Former Governor John Hickenlooper (D-CO) continued to campaign on climate action, stressing the need for global action on Meet The Press and touting his record of reducing methane pollution in Colorado.  

In an op-ed focused on agriculture, Senator Sanders said he would enact the Green New Deal to help protect farms from the impacts of climate change.

Andrew Yang announced a new proposal to lower the age for voting eligibility to 16 years old, which he believes “would increase attentiveness to long-term problems like climate change.”

Senators Booker and Harris appeared together at the NAACP Image Awards, where Booker referenced their shared policy positions, including addressing climate change. 

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