Beto O’Rourke Announces $5 Trillion Plan to Fight Climate Change
2020 Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke announced a $5 trillion plan to fight climate change Monday. The plan is O'Rourke's first major policy announcement and one of the most detailed climate policies outlined in the primaries so far, Reuters reported.
"We are announcing the most ambitious climate plan in the history of the United States," O'Rourke said in a Twitter video posted from Yosemite Valley while he was on his way to meet scientists in Yosemite National Park.
Heading into Yosemite National Park to talk about our historic climate action plan. Follow along throughout the day… https://t.co/poLQKPnUM2— Beto O'Rourke (@Beto O'Rourke)1556548160.0
O'Rourke's plan would see the U.S. reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and halving its emissions by 2030, and would mobilize trillions of dollars to make that happen. But some climate activists say his timeline is not fast enough.
The Sunrise Movement, the activist group that has led the charge for a Green New Deal, says the U.S. needs to reach net zero by 2030 if the world as a whole is to do the same by 2050, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says is necessary to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
"Beto claims to support the Green New Deal, but his plan is out of line with the timeline it lays out and the scale of action that scientists say is necessary to take here in the United States to give our generation a livable future," Sunrise Movement founder Varshini Prakash said, according to Reuters. The group also wants O'Rourke to sign the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge, Grist reported.
Sunrise Movement Statement in Response to @BetoORourke's Climate Plan: Thread: https://t.co/VzN9Uz6pz5— Sunrise Movement 🌅 (@Sunrise Movement 🌅)1556556627.0
More established green groups, like the League of Conservation Voters, applauded O'Rourke's vision, calling it "the kind of leadership we need from our next president," according to Grist.
Details of O'Rourke's plan include:
- Re-entering the Paris agreement.
- Reducing methane emissions from oil and gas production.
- Stopping new drilling leases on public lands.
- Reinstating pollution controls on power plants.
- Raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations to fund renewable energy development and infrastructure improvement.
O'Rourke plans to achieve his goals through a combination of executive orders and legislation, Grist reported, but he doesn't explain how he will push the legislation through a divided Congress:
Other climate-oriented 2020 candidates, like Washington Governor Jay Inslee, have advocated for eliminating the legislative filibuster, in addition to taking action through executive order. (The filibuster, a long-standing Senate rule that requires a supermajority to pass legislation, is a major obstacle between Democrats and their sweeping proposals to accomplish everything from climate to health care to gun reform.) O'Rourke makes no mention of the rule in his climate plan.
Inslee, who is making climate action the focus of his campaign, criticized O'Rourke's climate record and relationship with fossil fuel companies, The Huffington Post reported.
"Voters have a right to look closely at Democratic candidates' plans to separate rhetoric from results on climate change," Inslee's campaign manager Aisling Kerins said in a statement reported by The Huffington Post. "We will not defeat climate change with empty rhetoric, borrowed rhetoric, or by taking fossil fuel money. Beto O'Rourke will need to answer why he did not lead on climate change in Congress and why he voted on the side of oil companies to open up offshore drilling."
O'Rourke received $430,000 in donations from fossil fuel companies during his failed Senate bid in 2018.
In an interview Monday, MSNBC's Chris Hayes pushed O'Rourke on how he would pitch his plan to his oil-and-gas-producing home state.
"Those who work in the oil and gas industry, those who work in the fossil fuel industry [need to be] brought along as partners to make sure that we make this transition … to make the kind of bold change that we need," O'Rourke said, according to The Huffington Post.
Sweden's reindeer have a problem. In winter, they feed on lichens buried beneath the snow. But the climate crisis is making this difficult. Warmer temperatures mean moisture sometimes falls as rain instead of snow. When the air refreezes, a layer of ice forms between the reindeer and their meal, forcing them to wander further in search of ideal conditions. And sometimes, this means crossing busy roads.
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By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>
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