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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Dem Presidential Candidates Climate Policies Unveiled at Town Hall

The staff at Grist, one of the top environmental websites has a post, “How did Democrats fare at CNN’s climate town hall? We asked the experts.” The Grist staff notes that “Rather than arguing or talking over each other, the candidates actually had the time and space to speak substantively on this complex issue at CNN’s Climate Crisis Town Hall, discussing carbon taxes, geoengineering, lawsuits against the fossil fuel industry, and much more…So which Democratic candidates did the heavy lifting on climate policy and wowed us with their know-how?”

“I think Warren was the best by far,” noted Leah Stokes, a University of California at Santa Barbara political scientist. “She was so sharp. One point of weakness: her answer on nuclear was a little unclear. She sidestepped the issue of whether she’d extend the licenses of existing plants, which is what Sanders said he wouldn’t do. Nuclear is unpopular, so I think she was trying to thread a needle, but it left people saying she’s anti-nuclear. Otherwise, she knocked it out of the park.

Climate activist and cofounder of Zero Hour Jamie Margolin complained that “many candidates kept mentioning stupid late targets for net-zero carbon, like 2050, that are way, way past what we actually need in order to solve the climate crisis.”

At The Guardian, Emily Holden and Oliver Millman noted that “Bernie Sanders painted an apocalyptic future wreaked by the climate crisis and pledged to wage war on the fossil fuel industry,” while “Biden meanwhile pitched himself as the candidate who could lead negotiations with the diplomatic might of the US. He said his first step as president would be to call an international meeting to strengthen the Paris climate agreement…“We should be organizing the world, demanding change, we need a diplomat-in-chief,” Biden said. “Look what’s happening now in the Amazon, what’s going on? Nothing.”

At CNN politics, Meg Wagner, Dan Merica, Gregory Krieg and Eric Bradner noted some of the policies other candidates are advocating:

Kamala Harris said  “she would direct the Department of Justice to go after oil and gas companies who have directly impacted global warming. “They are causing harm and death in communities. And there has been no accountability…”

Amy Klobuchar called for a reversal to the Trump administration’s move to rollback regulations on methane emissions. “That is very dangerous,” she said of the administration’s move.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker said that people who don’t think nuclear power needs to be part of the fight against climate change — a group that includes many of his presidential opponents — “aren’t looking at the facts.” Booker said that he warmed to nuclear power after reading studies about it and talking to nuclear scientists about technological advancements “that make nuclear safer.”

Millman and Holden noted that “According to Yale University polling, the climate emergency is now the second most important voting issue for Democrats, behind healthcare. Among all voting Americans, nearly seven in 10 are worried about climate change, the highest ever recorded level of concern. There are strong bipartisan majorities in favour of setting pollution limits on industry, businesses, cars and trucks.”

Several of the Democratic presidential candidates received high scores from the League of Conservation Voters for their votes on environmental legislative proposals in 2018, including: Booker (100%); Harris (100); Warren (99); Klobuchar (96); O’Rourke (95); and Sanders (92).

One comment on “Dem Presidential Candidates Climate Policies Unveiled at Town Hall

  1. Victor on

    The nuclear licenses for current plants should be extended for the period of the energy transition and maybe just a bit longer. No 40 year extensions though.


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