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.”
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.
Castro says first executive order will be to recommit US to Paris Climate accords #WeThePeople19
— Tonya Riley (@TonyaJoRiley) April 1, 2019
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.
Asked about abolishing 60 vote threshold at #WeThePeople19, an animated Sen. @CoryBooker says w/out filibuster Dems would’ve “lost the battle” to McConnell on Obamacare. But if Dems win White House and progressives organize, he shouts, “no filibuster can stop us!” pic.twitter.com/OzrMQ9EVpp
— Philip Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) April 1, 2019
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.
.@amyklobuchar uses her last few minutes at the #WeThePeople19 Summit to talk about the importance of climate change. @Newsy pic.twitter.com/BsKXrbl3B5
— Willie James Inman (@WillieJames) April 1, 2019
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.
Beto O’Rourke on first 100 days in office: reinstate clean power plant rules and higher standards for vehicle emissions, also restore commitment to Paris climate agreement. #WeThePeople19
— Hayley Miller (@hayleymiller01) April 1, 2019
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.
This bit from @ewarren at the #WeThePeople19 summit is spot on. “You want a government that’s going to be responsive on climate change?…Not so long as the oil industry’s calling the shots in this town.” #NoFossilFuelMoney pic.twitter.com/NbRvC1JSDk
— David Turnbull (@david_turnbull) April 1, 2019
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.
“It’s not me. It’s us. No president can do it alone…The only way to defeat the power [of corporations] is to come together and say to Trump that those days of hatred and divisiveness are over.” — @BernieSanders #WeThePeople19 pic.twitter.com/11aFioowb3
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) April 1, 2019
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.
@jayinslee on why climate change is a winning issue: #WeThePeople19 pic.twitter.com/0NErGetizL
— Sierra Club Live (@SierraClubLive) April 1, 2019
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.
Gillibrand says she believes in publicly fundded elections. She also calls climate change the greatest threat to mankind today.
— Willie James Inman (@WillieJames) April 1, 2019
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.”
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.
Key Buttigieg policies, per aides (1/2):
— Electoral reform (DC statehood, no Electoral College)
— Plan 4 automation’s impact on jobs
— Improve US cybersecurity
— “Comprehensive” climate change plan
— EQUALITY Act
— M4A (but keep private insurance)https://t.co/v92gpQ7W4d
— Jeff Stein (@JStein_WaPo) April 2, 2019
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.
Climate change is an ever-growing threat to public health. Countless scientists have warned us — the time to act is now. It’s on us to fight to preserve our planet for future generations. https://t.co/DBwMIU8A7e
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) April 1, 2019
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.
Hickenlooper isn’t running away from his climate change record, but defends his 👎 on the Green New Deal: ‘I am a dreamer, I can dream. But I’m also a doer, and I think, especially w/ climate change, what start with these things we can get done right away’ https://t.co/gHeC3Yj7Av
— Dan Merica (@merica) April 1, 2019
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.
As we face a climate emergency, Donald Trump is using the presidency to help a foreign fossil fuel corporation unleash more carbon pollution. This huge gift to oil lobbyists is absolutely unacceptable. https://t.co/Lm8LatLdZw
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) March 30, 2019
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.”
New policy #7 – Lower the Voting Age to 16. Getting young people voting early makes them voters for life. Our politics will affect young people for decades to come. They should have a say in their own future. https://t.co/RbyqIu2qqY
— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) April 3, 2019
Senators Booker and Harris appeared together at the NAACP Image Awards, where Booker referenced their shared policy positions, including addressing climate change.