Week in Review: April 26, 2019

Apr 26, 2019

From five back-to-back town halls on CNN and the She The People forum, the first-ever presidential forum focused on women of color, to new candidate announcements and campaign events in communities across the country–the climate crisis continued to be a top priority this week. Many candidates also marked Earth Day with a call for action.

Candidate Announcements

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D-DE) joined the race on Thursday with an announcement video. The New York Times noted “Biden’s advocacy for government action on climate change goes back more than 30 years: He introduced the Senate’s first climate change bill in 1986.”   Biden’s website has a more background on “Tackling climate change and pollution to protect our communities.”

Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) announced his campaign on Monday “emphasizing jobs, climate change and national security as core issues he’ll address.” Moulton wants to focus on “growing our economy, with the new jobs, the green jobs, the tech jobs, the advanced manufacturing jobs that are going to make us the world leader in the next century” and “tackling climate change and making sure that we have a planet without an expiration date.” Moulton headed to Iowa, where explained that he “wants America to be a global leader in producing green technology — like solar panels — to ‘address the challenges of the day in a way that brings more Americans to serve and ultimately grows our economy.’”


Climate at Events, In the Media, & On Social Media

At her town hall with CNN, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) made an urgent and personal case to take action on climate change noting, “The clock is ticking every day on this issue and every day that we fail to act will be to our collective consequence,” and adding, “I, to my core, know that the climate crisis is represents an existential threat to who we are as human beings.”


Former Governor John Hickenlooper (D-CO) expressed support for accelerating clean energy as well as some reservations, saying, “At some point, we want to get to as clean an energy system as possible. And that’s going to require all kinds of innovations, some of which we’ve never even seen to this day. It’ll take a while before we are completely free of all hydrocarbons.”


Governor Jay Inslee (D-WA) toured a solar facility in Nevada and highlighted that the clean energy economy “is not just a dream, it’s not just a fiction, it’s not just a rainbow. It’s real jobs producing real electricity for Nevada.” Inslee also challenged his primary opponents to a debate on solving the climate crisis, noting “During the 2016 presidential debates, just 5 minutes and 27 seconds were devoted to discussing climate change.”


Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) mentioned climate change as an example of standing up to Donald Trump during her CNN town hall, calling him out for denying the scientific consensus. When asked about communicating the urgency of climate change to rural communities, Senator Klobuchar pointed to the floods in Iowa and Missouri and the fires in the West to note that “Climate change isn’t happening 100 years from now. It’s happening right now.” Her response was later described as one of her “best moments.”


In Nevada, former Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) “emphasized environmental issues and cast climate change as one of the biggest issues facing the country, especially younger Americans,” and he said we should look at creating a moratorium for drilling on public lands, adding :If we continue to add to the problem and do not invest in the solution, which is going to renewable energy, then we will have squandered this limited time that is left to us.” O’Rourke also called for action climate change on Earth Day, which he noted will reduce pollution and create jobs.


Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) joined the candidates who are calling for a debate on climate change solutions, saying “This is an economic issue, a social justice issue, and a national security issue.”


At his CNN town hall, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) focused on the urgency of the climate crisis, noting that it is “an issue we cannot run away from.” He called for an aggressive transition from fossil fuels that helps retrain workers, invests in solar and wind energy, and rethinks our transportation systems. Senator Sanders also briefly mentioned the importance of climate change in answers relating to a new focus on foreign policy and whether we should impeach Trump. Sanders reiterated that the climate crisis is a national emergency at the She The People Forum and that we must work together to take on the institutions like fossil fuel companies so we can solve climate change equitably. Sanders also hosted a rally in Houston, where he explained “we’re not here to blame the workers in the fossil fuel industry. They are not our enemies, but what our enemy is, is climate change.”


Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA) committed to host an international meeting on climate change within the first 100 days, to invest in clean energy and to help workers in the fossil fuel industry transition to “green collar” jobs.


Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) touched on multiple specific policy proposals to combat the climate crisis during her town hall with CNN, including instituting a moratorium on new mining and drilling on federal lands and coasts. Warren pledged to create, “10,000 jobs for people who want to go spend a year in the national parks and the national forests to be able to give something back to the land,” and promised to make the U.S. a leader, “in the direction of a sustainable earth,” on day one.


Marianne Williamson tweeted her support of climate acton, noting “Dealing with the climate crisis is the greatest moral challenge of our generation.”


Andrew Yang  tweeted his plans to address the “massive wildfires out West” by designating more resources for prevention and to “align the incentives of states, developers, and homeowners to account for the dangers of megafires.”


At the She The People forum, the first-ever candidate forum designed for women of color, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) stressed the need for immediate action, saying “If you live in a community like mine, climate change isn’t just some future threat—it’s an urgent problem right now.” Booker, along two other senators, created an Environmental Justice Caucus in the U.S. Senate, underscoring that “The fact that communities of color, low income communities, and indigenous communities across the country disproportionately face environmental hazards and harmful pollutants on a daily basis has been ignored for far too long.” And at a water treatment facility in California, Booker noted “leadership finds solutions that benefit both our environment and our economy.”


Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN) discussed how his generation is ready for climate action at his CNN town hall, noting “The longer you’re planning to be here… the more you have at stake in the decisions that are going to be made, especially when climate change is largely going to dictate the economic opportunities.” Ahead of the town hall, Mayor Buttigieg named climate change as one of the three issues we have to deal with right now. And in a separate interview, Buttigieg stressed that climate change “is not theoretical, this is not just happening in the Arctic, this is happening in our neighborhoods” and in places like California, Puerto Rico, and Nebraska.


Former Secretary Julián Castro (D-TX) explained how addressing climate change can create opportunity, touting the clean energy job growth in Texas which is “reducing carbon emissions and protecting the planet, and also creating good jobs for people as the economy changes.” He noted that climate change is forcing migration and that his immigration proposal would “set aside slots for refugees who are fleeing from climate change specifically, which would be new in our country.” This week, Castro also showed his support of climate-focused debate, tweeting “I’m in!”


Former Congressman John Delaney (D-MD) tweeted about investing in technology to address climate change.


Ahead of of the She The People Forum, The Houston Chronicle described Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s (D-HI) climate record as “one of the more aggressive takes on climate change” and touted her “bill in Congress that would mandate an end to the use of fossil fuels for electricity by 2050 and ban hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling techniques known as fracking.”  In New Hampshire, Gabbard called out politicians who are not prioritizing climate change and other pressing issues.  


Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) showed her support for a debate on tackling climate change, saying it “would show the world that America intends to lead again on this issue.” On Earth Day, Gillibrand tweeted her support for “combatting the threat of climate change.”