CNN's climate crisis town hall
Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday rejected Sen. Bernie Sanders’ plan to move energy utilities toward public ownership.
Asked if she would back that piece of the Vermont senator’s climate plan, Warren questioned whether it would have the desired effect.
“Gosh, you know, I'm not sure that that's what gets you to the solution,” she said. “I'm perfectly willing to take on giant corporations, I think I've been known to do that once or twice. But for me, I think the way we get there is we just say (to fossil fuel companies), sorry guys, but by 2035 you’re done.”
Warren sought to redefine the problem, saying that she was open to enterprising private companies making money off innovative new technologies -- but not in a way that endangers public safety.
“If somebody wants wants to make a profit from building better solar panels and generating better battery storage, I'm not opposed to that,” Warren said. “What I'm opposed to, is when they do it in a way that hurts everybody else. You shouldn’t be able to externalize these costs. That's the problem with fossil fuels, right.”
But Warren also issued a warning to current energy producers and any other competitors with plans to enter the sector.
“We got to have tough rules,” she said. “And that means we have got to be willing to fight back against these giant industries. And that's where the whole thing starts for me, we put them on their back foot. Then we have a real chance to make the changes we need to make.”
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren said Wednesday that conversations around regulating light bulbs, banning plastic straws and cutting down on red meat are exactly what the fossil fuel industry wants people focused on as a way to distract from their impact on climate change.
“This is exactly what the fossil fuel industry hopes we’re all talking about,” Warren said. “That’s what they want us to talk about.”
Warren said that fossil fuels want people to think “this is your problem” and to “stir up a lot of controversy around your lightbulbs, around your straws and around your cheeseburgers.”
The reality, Warren argues, is that “70% of the pollution of the carbon that we’re throwing into the air comes from three industries and we can set our targets and say by 2028, 2030, and 2035, no more.”
Warren has advocated, by 2028, mandating carbon free building; by 2030, mandating carbon free cars and light-duty truck production; and, by 2035, mandating carbon free electricity generation.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren — asked about if the reality of the Green New Deal — said Trump's climate plans are a "nightmare."
CNN's Chris Cuomo asked Warren to envision a possible 2020 debate with her up against President Trump.
"You're on the debate stage. You're across from the President, and he says the Green New Deal is a dream because we're 60% right now on fossil fuels," Cuomo said.
Warren quipped: "I'm just saying, where he is right now is a nightmare."
Warren went on to say that we need to "dream big" now, since the US only accounts for about 20% of the climate crisis.
"We're only 20% of the problem. That's a big hunk of the problem, but there's another world out there that's 80% of this problem. So you bet that this is a moment where we better dream big and fight hard because that's how it is that we're going to make the changes we need to make," she said.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Wednesday that she would oppose nuclear energy as a way to combat climate change should she be elected president in 2020.
“We’re not going to build any nuclear power plants and we’re going to start weaning ourselves off nuclear energy and replacing it with renewable fuels,” Warren said, adding that she hopes to phase out nuclear power by 2035.
Warren said that while nuclear energy is not carbon-based – and therefore cleaner than some energy sources – there is a clear danger with storage.
“It has a lot of risks associated with it,” Warren said.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren just took the stage at CNN's climate crisis town hall.
She's one of 10 Democratic candidates participating in the 7-hour event event.
Bernie Sanders has put forth a series of plans -- on health care, student debt cancellation and the Green New Deal -- that, taken separately, would each represent a generational change to American domestic policy.
So what is his top priority?
Asked on Wednesday night which policy he would push first if elected, Sanders did not put one before any of the others.
“I have the radical idea that a sane Congress can walk and chew bubble gum at the same time,” Sanders said.
The way to make it all happen, he argued, is to elect lawmakers that support his platform.
“To my mind, it’s not prioritizing this over that. It is finally having a government which represents working families and the middle class, rather than wealthy campaign contributors,” Sanders said. “When you do that, things fall into place.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders was asked if he'd make curbing population growth through birth control a key part of his climate plan.
"The planet cannot sustain this growth," the voter said while asking the question.
Sanders said he would, and turned the conversation to women's rights.
"Women in the United States of Americas, by the way, have a right to control their own bodies and make reproductive decisions," he said.
"And the Mexico City agreement — which denies American aid to those organizations around the world that allow women to have abortions or even get involved in birth control — to me is totally absurd. So I think, especially in poor countries around the world where women do not necessarily want to have large numbers of babies and where they can have the opportunity through birth control to control the number of kids they have, it's something I very strongly support."
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was asked on Wednesday whether he would roll back Trump administration plans to overturn requirements on energy saving lightbulbs. He delivered an emphatic answer.
“Duh,” the senator explained with a slight smile.
Sanders added: “Look, one of the great things that’s happening and gives us some hope is that there has been an explosion in technology in many, many areas that if we have the political will to utilize that technology, we can maybe save the planet.”
Donald Trump’s administration lifted energy efficiency regulations for several common types of light bulbs on Wednesday, which critics believe is the administration’s latest assault on efforts to combat climate change and energy use.
Sanders pivoted from the lighthearted answer and made the case for making climate change an international issue.
“Maybe, just maybe, instead of spending a trillion and a half dollars every single year on weapons of destruction designed to kill each other, maybe we pool those resources and we work together against our common enemy, which is climate change,” Sanders said.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is now taking questions from voters about the climate crisis.
He's the sixth Democratic candidiate tonight to participate in the 7-hour event.