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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.
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.
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.
- Beto O'Rourke's Climate Change Plan Is Blandly Inoffensive ›
- Environmental Group Slams Beto O'Rourke's Climate-Change Plan ... ›
- Why Activists Are Blasting Beto O'Rourke's Climate Change Plan ›
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."