CNN's climate crisis town hall
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said Wednesday that successfully combating climate change might be “more challenging than” winning World War II.
The comment came early in Buttigieg’s town hall, when the South Bend, Indiana, mayor was seeking to explain how the country needed to be unified around the climate crisis in order to successfully combat it.
“This is the hardest thing we will have done in my lifetime as a country,” he said, “on par with winning World War II.”
Buttigieg then paused, and said, “Maybe more challenging than that.”
He added: “Does anybody really think we’re going to meet that goal if between now and 2050, we are still at each other’s throats? It won’t happen.”
Buttigieg, who often talks about the need to unite around difficult issues, said part of this unification may mean “bringing people to the table who haven’t felt they have been part of the process.”
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is next up at CNN's climate crisis town hall.
He's one of 10 Democratic candidates to take voter's questions tonight.
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren rejected the idea that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, her fellow 2020 contender, was more committed to the climate change fight because he is willing to spend trillions more on the issue.
“No,” Warren said bluntly.
“I’ve got plans. I have a $2 trillion plan, I have a $1 trillion plan picking up how we are going to cut carbon emissions by 70% by 2035. But we have to use all the tools in the tool box. This is not a moment where we just say, you know what, we just need to put some money on it, and we’ll fix it.”
Warren and Sanders are the two top progressives in the race and, while they are close friends, it is expected that they will have to clash at some point in the coming months.
Warren admitted that combatting climate change “takes money,” but she added that it also takes more than that.
“We need to be willing to use regulatory tools. That’s important,” she said. “We have to use our position internationally.”
Warren said, for that reason, her trade and foreign policy includes climate elements.
CNN's Chief Climate Correspondent Bill Weir asked Sen. Elizabeth Warren about what she would say to oil refinery workers, like the ones in Port Arthur, Texas, whose jobs depend on the oil industry.
"Even though they understand the problems, they would tell you, 'Please don't shut them down, because I will die of starvation before I die of pollution.' They're worried about jobs. What do you tell the pipe fitters and cafeteria workers in Port Arthur what will happen to them if these places go dark?" Weir asked.
Warren said she had two things she'd like to tell those workers.
"The first one is, that's not the only job in Port Arthur over the next 20 years," she said, adding that there will be union infrastructure in the city, which was hard hit by Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
Then she continued with her second point:
"Part two is who's making the real money off Port Arthur and those workers? Who's making that money? It's the investors, it's the Saudis who own this company. How is it in a democracy that we could have a handful of corporations that year after year keep dragging in bigger and bigger profits, while the oceans continue to rise, while your home disappears, while your children have asthma, while people die. That's not right."
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.