Ahead of GOP Debate, NextGen Climate Invokes Ronald Reagan to Urge 50% Renewables by 2030
Tonight marks the second Republican presidential primary debate. It will be hosted by CNN and held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. The climate advocacy group, NextGen Climate, is using this opportunity to call on CNN's Jake Tapper, who will moderate the debate, to ask candidates about their plan for renewable energy. NextGen is invoking the words of Ronald Reagan, who has achieved sainthood among many conservative politicians, in their latest ad campaign.
The ad, “Common Sense,” will run as part of a six-figure buy targeting Republican voters on CNN.com, Fox.com and other video channels. It features President Ronald Reagan's call to protect our environment and secure our children’s future during his 1986 State of the Union address. “Preservation of our environment is not a liberal or conservative challenge—it’s common sense,” Reagan told Congress in 1986. “Let us be sure that those who come after us will say of us in our time we did everything that could be done.”
NextGen is urging CNN moderator Jake Tapper to "ask Republican presidential candidates how they plan to secure our country’s future by laying out a plan to achieve more than 50 percent clean energy by 2030, putting us on a pathway to a completely clean energy economy. Republican candidates would be wise to lay out a plan, as polling shows that a majority of Republican voters in key presidential swing states support this goal, and 74 percent of voters under 35 are more likely to vote for a presidential candidate who lays out a plan to achieve #50by30."
At the first GOP primary debate last month in Cleveland, Ohio, climate change and other pressing environmental issues barely got a mention. Lindsey Graham was the only candidate who made mention of climate change, even acknowledging that the science is settled (something many of the other candidates refuse to do). But the issue only came up because Fox News moderator Bill Hemmer brought climate change up in a negative way saying to Lindsey Graham, “You worked with Democrats and President Obama when it came to climate change—something you know is extremely unpopular with conservative Republicans. How can they trust you based on that record?”
NextGen is calling on Republicans to stop treating this as a partisan issue. "Both Republicans and Democrats have a responsibility to America’s children. Even Reagan, a conservative president and Republican Party hero, recognized that protecting our environment for the next generation should be an easy choice for our country."
It should be noted, though, that Reagan's words did not always reflect his actions. He removed the solar panels that Jimmy Carter installed on the White House roof (new panels were installed by President Obama in 2010). Reagan also "gutted the research and development budgets for renewable energy at the then-fledgling U.S. Department of Energy and eliminated tax breaks for the deployment of wind turbines and solar technologies," according to Scientific American.
Still, many conservatives have pushed for a ramp up in renewable energy in recent years including the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum, Conservatives for Energy Freedom and other conservative groups.
Watch NextGen Climate's ad here:
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By Naomi Larsson
For centuries, the delicate silver dove has been a symbol of love and fidelity.
Biodiversity and Habitat Loss<p>Their near extinction is a symbol of the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/global-biodiversity-outlook-targets-extinction-summit-new-york-pledge/a-54932895" target="_blank">biodiversity crisis</a> in the UK, largely driven by habitat destruction. Britain is now one of the countries with the most <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/future-of-UK-nature#:~:text=The%20UK%20is%20one%20of,than%20half%20are%20in%20decline" target="_blank">depleted nature</a> in the world according to the World Wildlife Fund. Half its plant and animal species are in decline and more than <a href="https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/let-nature-sing-wales/#:~:text=a%20natural%20tragedy.-,Over%2040%20million%20birds%20have%20vanished%20from%20UK%20skies%20in,unaware%20of%20the%20impending%20danger" target="_blank">40 million birds</a> have vanished in just half a century.</p><p>"[Turtle doves] are the canary in the [coal] mine because there are all these other species before it and after it," said Tree. "It's an umbrella for all the other species that are heading that way."</p><p>Turtle doves migrate south through Europe to sub-Saharan Africa between July and September, ending up in dry woodland and farmland areas of countries like Mali and Senegal for winter. </p><p>Droughts in West Africa and the Sahel region are believed to have contributed to the fall in turtle dove species recorded in northern Europe, with low rainfall reducing supplies of the seeds and insects the birds rely on for energy for the long journey home.</p>
Conservation and Farming<p><a href="https://www.operationturtledove.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Operation Turtle Dove,</a> a partnership project of charities including the Essex Wildlife trust, works with landowners and farmers to actively build turtle dove habitat.</p><p>Outten works with <a href="https://www.ebws.org.uk/birdsites/blue-house-farm-ewt-north-fambridge" target="_blank">Blue House Farm</a>, a 660-acre nature reserve in the UK county of Essex, where they have replicated weedy fallow plots. </p><p>"We work on it every year to make sure it's in the condition it needs to be with plants such as clovers and black medic," Outten said. "These plants are native to the landscape and produce the seed the birds feed on." </p><p>The birds eat a wide range of seeds from various plants that would have been abundant 50 or 100 years ago, added Guy Anderson, program manager for species recovery with The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). </p><p>"But it's simply true that with the gradual process of <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/farming-without-pesticides-how-can-we-make-agriculture-greener/a-52216796" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">intensifying our agricultural production</a>, the availability of those seeds has dropped and dropped," said Anderson.</p><p>Part of the project includes supplementary feeding — providing sources of food in the form of seed or grain. Under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in England, farmers can receive financial support to create a turtle dove habitat. </p><p>Though they haven't recorded an increase in doves across the sites in the four years of working on the project, Outten said they are seeing improvements in how landowners and farmers manage habitat for the birds. </p>
A Turtle Dove Haven<p>The 3,500-acre Knepp Estate in West Sussex is another project taking a different approach and one of the few places where turtle dove numbers are increasing.</p><p>Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell converted their intensively farmed land into a rewilding project almost 20 years ago. They have let the land return to nature.</p><p>Just one year after they'd finished <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/uks-most-talented-architects-are-not-human/a-35952128" target="_blank">rewilding</a> the southern part of their property, they heard turtle doves for the first time. It's now a breeding hotspot for the birds with an estimated 19 pairs. Knepp is also home to <a href="https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/rewilding/rewilding-projects/knepp-estate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2% of the UK's population</a> of nightingales. </p><p>Tree is critical of supplementary feeding schemes that, in her view, are short term. She questions the chances of turtle doves getting to feed on scattered seeds before other mammals eat them first.</p>
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