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12 Tweets Worth Noting on GOP Debate on Climate and Renewables
The GOP presidential debate last night took place at the University of Colorado Boulder. The theme of the debate was the economy, and it was moderated by CNBC. Just as with the previous debates, this one was criticized by environmentalists for not focusing enough on climate issues. Specifically, many on Twitter criticized the candidates for not discussing the huge economic impacts of climate change.
“Unchecked climate change will devastate our economy. Full stop," said Tom Steyer of NextGen Climate. "The Republican candidates haven’t presented a plan to address climate change—and so those candidates still aren't ready to be president. The next president simply cannot stand by as climate change hurts our economy, kills jobs and increases costs for American families.”
In the main debate, Chris Christie at least mentioned climate change and "broke the Republican field’s silence on clean energy by talking about the jobs wind and solar create in Iowa and across the nation," as the Sierra Club put it. Christie said he wants to see more investments in renewables from the private sector.
"We worked with the private sector to make solar affordable and available to businesses and individuals in our state," he said. "That's the way we deal with global warming—not through government intervention, not through government taxes, and for God's sake, don't send Washington another dime until they stop wasting the money they are already sending now." Christie also said he was interested in other energy sources, like oil, natural gas and wind.
In the earlier debate, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and former New York Gov. George Pataki both criticized their party for denying the science on climate change. Graham was asked by moderator Carl Quintanilla if he is "in the wrong party's debate" because of his views on climate change.
See what the senator has to say (question begins 50 seconds in):
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Pataki also fielded a question about his views on climate change. He started off by saying, "One of the things that troubles me about the Republican party is too often we challenge science that everyone accepts."
FactCheck did take issue with one of Pataki's claims, though. Pataki said, "There’s one country in the world that has fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the rest of the world. You know what that is? The United States. Our emissions are lower than they were in 1995."
Pataki said that the U.S. is the only country to have reduced its CO2 emissions since 1995. That’s not true—other countries, particularly in Europe, have reduced their emissions over the same time period, some by a greater margin than the U.S.
A spokesman for Pataki clarified in an email that he meant that “the U.S. is the only country in the world that actually emits less carbon than it did in 1995.”
The U.S. has reduced its CO2 emissions since 1995; according to the Energy Information Administration, U.S. emissions were about 5.32 billion metric tons in 1995, and 5.27 billion metric tons in 2012, the latest year with available data. But other countries have also seen CO2 emissions drop over that period.
For example, France’s emissions were about 373 million metric tons in 1995, and that fell to 365 million in 2012. Germany’s emissions fell from 891 million metric tons in 1995 to 788 million in 2012, a greater drop than the 50 million seen in the U.S. Italy, the United Kingdom, Nigeria and several other countries also saw emissions drop.
Because Huckabee is a minister who often speaks about the economy, and most other issues, as a moral issue, many on Twitter took digs at the former governor for not seeing climate change as a moral issue:
Bernie Sanders had this to say last night about the GOP rejecting climate science.
Many conservatives are making a strong case for climate action. Last month, 11 Republican members of Congress, led by Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY), introduced a resolution that put the climate challenge in a broader context of conservation, stewardship, innovation and conservatism. And recent polling from three prominent Republican pollsters shows that a majority of Republicans want climate action and support renewable energy.
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"The rapid pace of labour-saving technology brings into focus the possibility of a shorter working week for all, if deployed properly," Autonomy Director Will Stronge said, The Guardian reported. "However, while automation shows that less work is technically possible, the urgent pressures on the environment and on our available carbon budget show that reducing the working week is in fact necessary."
The report found that if the economies of Germany, Sweden and the UK maintain their current levels of carbon intensity and productivity, they would need to switch to a six, 12 and nine hour work week respectively if they wanted keep the rise in global temperatures to the below two degrees Celsius promised by the Paris agreement, The Independent reported.
The study based its conclusions on data from the UN and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) on greenhouse gas emissions per industry in all three countries.
The report comes as the group Momentum called on the UK's Labour Party to endorse a four-day work week.
"We welcome this attempt by Autonomy to grapple with the very real changes society will need to make in order to live within the limits of the planet," Emma Williams of the Four Day Week campaign said in a statement reported by The Independent. "In addition to improved well-being, enhanced gender equality and increased productivity, addressing climate change is another compelling reason we should all be working less."
Supporters of the idea linked it to calls in the U.S. and Europe for a Green New Deal that would decarbonize the economy while promoting equality and well-being.
"This new paper from Autonomy is a thought experiment that should give policymakers, activists and campaigners more ballast to make the case that a Green New Deal is absolutely necessary," Common Wealth think tank Director Mat Lawrence told The Independent. "The link between working time and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions has been proved by a number of studies. Using OECD data and relating it to our carbon budget, Autonomy have taken the step to show what that link means in terms of our working weeks."
Stronge also linked his report to calls for a Green New Deal.
"Becoming a green, sustainable society will require a number of strategies – a shorter working week being just one of them," he said, according to The Guardian. "This paper and the other nascent research in the field should give us plenty of food for thought when we consider how urgent a Green New Deal is and what it should look like."
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- Needed: A shorter work week – People's World ›