Bernie Sanders Slams GOP for Ignoring 'Planetary Crisis' of Climate Change
In terms of climate change, "I did not hear anybody say 'Oh, This is a planetary crisis, we have got to do something,'" the insurgent Democratic presidential candidate told CNN after the GOP showdown.
.@BernieSanders slams GOP for not addressing climate change, childhood poverty, racial justice http://t.co/6OZtrfIwim http://t.co/y6epzwbSx2— CNN Politics (@CNN Politics)1442493168.0
Sanders continued to criticize the Republican candidates' hands-off approach to climate. "Really, the federal government should not do something? No scientist that I know believes that. What they think is that if we don't act now this advanced situation will become much worse in later years."
Bernie also live tweeted the CNN debate with the #DebateWithBernie hashtag, delighting his Twitter followers and receiving tens of thousands retweets and favorites for several of his digital missives.
Sanders, who believes there should be an entire debate devoted to the environment, sent some tweets criticizing the radio silence on the issue.
Still waiting. Will they ever talk about climate change as a foreign policy issue? Or talk about it all? #DebateWithBernie— Bernie Sanders (@Bernie Sanders)1442450663.0
Kasich: "Let's get to issues." How about income inequality, climate change and childhood poverty? Think they'll discuss? #DebateWithBernie— Bernie Sanders (@Bernie Sanders)1442449693.0
Rubio knows California has a drought. Will he have the courage to connect that to climate change or reject the science? #DebateWithBernie— Bernie Sanders (@Bernie Sanders)1442448970.0
(For what it's worth, Rubio, a known climate flip-flopper, clarified during the brief climate segment that he's no longer "skeptical" of climate change. He's just skeptical of green policies, claiming it "will not do a thing to cure California of the drought" and will "make America a harder place to create jobs." Oh, okay but totally wrong.)
Tired of the rambling, the feisty 74-year-old turned off the TV around 10:30 p.m. and perhaps missed it when the debate moderators finally switched to the topic of climate change.
Does anyone know... when will this debate finally end? #DebateWithBernie— Bernie Sanders (@Bernie Sanders)1442456552.0
Thank you all. I've had it. I'm going home. Talk to you soon. #DebateWithBernie— Bernie Sanders (@Bernie Sanders)1442456679.0
Sanders is recognized for his glowing record on climate change. Last month, the Vermont senator told CNN’s State of the Union, “I think environmentalists deserve a debate so we could talk about how we move aggressively to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel.”
Fellow Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted some thoughts about last night's lack of climate coverage too:
You don’t have to be a scientist to know that climate change is an urgent challenge that threatens us all. We need to act.— Hillary Clinton (@Hillary Clinton)1442457830.0
For a bunch of people who don't believe in acting on climate change, the Republican candidates seem committed to recycling ideas. #GOPdebate— Hillary Clinton (@Hillary Clinton)1442459605.0
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One of nature's epic events is underway: Monarch butterflies' fall migration. Departing from all across the United States and Canada, the butterflies travel up to 2,500 miles to cluster at the same locations in Mexico or along the Pacific Coast where their great-grandparents spent the previous winter.
Millions of People Care About Monarchs<p>I will never forget the sights and sounds the first time I visited monarchs' overwintering sites in Mexico. Our guide pointed in the distance to what looked like hanging branches covered with dead leaves. But then I saw the leaves flash orange every so often, revealing what were actually thousands of tightly packed butterflies. The monarchs made their most striking sounds in the Sun, when they burst from the trees in massive fluttering plumes or landed on the ground in the tussle of mating.</p><p>Decades of educational outreach by teachers, researchers and hobbyists has cultivated a generation of monarch admirers who want to help preserve this phenomenon. This global network has helped restore not only monarchs' summer breeding habitat by planting milkweed, but also general pollinator habitat by planting nectaring flowers across North America.</p><p>Scientists have calculated that restoring the monarch population to a stable level of about 120 million butterflies will require <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/icad.12198" target="_blank">planting 1.6 billion new milkweed stems</a>. And they need them fast. This is too large a target to achieve through grassroots efforts alone. A <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/CCAA.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">new plan</a>, announced in the spring of 2020, is designed to help fill the gap.</p>
Pros and Cons of Regulation<p>The top-down strategy for saving monarchs gained energy in 2014, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service <a href="https://www.fws.gov/southeast/pdf/petition/monarch.pdf" target="_blank">proposed</a> listing them as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A decision is expected in December 2020.</p><p>Listing a species as endangered or threatened <a href="https://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/listing.pdf" target="_blank">triggers restrictions</a> on "taking" (hunting, collecting or killing), transporting or selling it, and on activities that negatively affect its habitat. Listing monarchs would impose restrictions on landowners in areas where monarchs are found, over vast swaths of land in the U.S.</p><p>In my opinion, this is not a reason to avoid a listing. However, a "threatened" listing might inadvertently threaten one of the best conservation tools that we have: public education.</p><p>It would severely restrict common practices, such as rearing monarchs in classrooms and back yards, as well as scientific research. Anyone who wants to take monarchs and milkweed for these purposes would have to apply for special permits. But these efforts have had a multigenerational educational impact, and they should be protected. Few public campaigns have been more successful at raising awareness of conservation issues.</p>
<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="91165203d4ec0efc30e4632a00fdf57d"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KilPRvjbMrA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
The Rescue Attempt<p>To preempt the need for this kind of regulation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved a <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/pdfs/Monarch%20CCAA-CCA%20Public%20Comment%20Documents/Monarch-Nationwide_CCAA-CCA_Draft.pdf" target="_blank">Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement for Monarch Butterflies</a>. Under this plan, "rights-of-way" landowners – energy and transportation companies and private owners – commit to restoring and creating millions of acres of pollinator habitat that have been decimated by land development and herbicide use in the past half-century.</p><p>The agreement was spearheaded by the <a href="http://rightofway.erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank">Rights-of-Way Habitat Working Group</a>, a collaboration between the University of Illinois Chicago's <a href="https://erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Energy Resources Center</a>, the Fish and Wildlife Service and over 40 organizations from the energy and transportation sectors. These sectors control "rights-of-way" corridors such as lands near power lines, oil pipelines, railroad tracks and interstates, all valuable to monarch habitat restoration.</p><p>Under the plan, partners voluntarily agree to commit a percentage of their land to host protected monarch habitat. In exchange, general operations on their land that might directly harm monarchs or destroy milkweed will not be subject to the enhanced regulation of the Endangered Species Act – protection that would last for 25 years if monarchs are listed as threatened. The agreement is expected to create up to 2.3 million acres of new protected habitat, which ideally would avoid the need for a "threatened" listing.</p>
A Model for Collaboration<p>This agreement could be one of the few specific interventions that is big enough to allow researchers to quantify its impact on the size of the monarch population. Even if the agreement produces only 20% of its 2.3 million acre goal, this would still yield nearly half a million acres of new protected habitat. This would provide a powerful test of the role of declining breeding and nectaring habitat compared to other challenges to monarchs, such as climate change or pollution.</p><p>Scientists hope that data from this agreement will be made publicly available, like projects in the <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/MCD.html" target="_blank">Monarch Conservation Database</a>, which has tracked smaller on-the-ground conservation efforts since 2014. With this information we can continue to develop powerful new models with better accuracy for determining how different habitat factors, such as the number of milkweed stems or nectaring flowers on a landscape scale, affect the monarch population.</p><p>North America's monarch butterfly migration is one of the most awe-inspiring feats in the natural world. If this rescue plan succeeds, it could become a model for bridging different interests to achieve a common conservation goal.</p>
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