Climate Crisis Gets 15 Minutes Total in First Two Nights of Dem Debates
The Green New Deal — the ambitious plan to transition the U.S. away from fossil fuels while providing green jobs and reducing inequality — got its first mention during the second night of the Democratic primary debates Thursday.
While 14 candidates have thrown their support behind the idea, according to 350 Action's 2020 Climate Test, California Senator Kamala Harris was the first to endorse it on the debate stage, The Atlantic reported.
When asked about her climate change plans, Harris corrected moderator Chuck Todd, saying the proper term was "climate crisis" because "it's an existential threat to us as a species."
"That's why I support a Green New Deal," she said. "It's why on day one as president, I will reenter us into the Paris agreement."
However, Atlantic writer Robinson Meyer noted that she offered no details on what a Green New Deal would look like before switching to a discussion of President Donald Trump's handling of North Korea.
"There's a marked difference in the fluidity of the way moderators and candidates talk about climate change versus how they talk about other issues," Time writer Justin Worland responded in a Tweet.
There's a marked difference in the fluidity of the way moderators and candidates talk about climate change versus how they talk about other issues https://t.co/bjZdlYzybU— Justin Worland (@JustinWorland) June 28, 2019
Overall, the second half of the Democratic debate was another disappointment for climate action advocates, who have called on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to hold a climate-focused debate. So far more than 200,000 people have signed a petition demanding such a debate, as HuffPost reported, but DNC Chair Tom Perez has refused.
The first debate on Wednesday, which saw half of the crowded primary field face off, only dedicated around seven minutes to the issue. The second half of candidates discussed it for around eight minutes Thursday, according to climate-focused candidate and Washington Governor Jay Inslee.
Eight minutes tonight. Seven minutes last night. Fifteen minutes in four hours. The @DNC will not address the climate crisis with the urgency it requires. We must hold a #ClimateDebate. Now. #DemDebate2— Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) June 28, 2019
The climate-focused part of Thursday's debate also saw South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Vice President Joe Biden and former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper offer ideas.
Buttigieg promised a carbon price and emphasized the role that rural America could play by instituting carbon-trapping farming practices, HuffPost reported.
"This is not just happening in the Arctic ice caps. This is happening in the middle of our country," he said, according to The Washington Post.
Biden said that even if Congress would not back him, he would add 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations across the U.S. and earmark billions towards scientific research. He also emphasized his international experience as vice president, saying he would return the U.S. to the Paris agreement and encourage other countries to increase their commitments.
"We have to have someone who knows how to corral the rest of the world," Biden said, according to The Washington Post.
Hickenlooper was actually the first candidate to mention the Green New Deal, according to The Atlantic, but he dismissed the idea as socialism, HuffPost reported. He said he would work with the oil and gas industry to reduce emissions as quickly as possible.
Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders took the opposite approach to the fossil fuel industry.
"Scientists tells us we have 12 years before irreversible damage. We have to come together against this common enemy, and transition the world off fossil fuels," he said, according to the Sunrise Movement.
"Scientists tells us we have 12 years before irreversible damage. We have to comer together against this common enemy, and transition the world off fossil fuels." —@BernieSanders— Sunrise Movement 🌅 (@sunrisemvmt) June 28, 2019
yes boi #DemDebate2 #ClimateDebate pic.twitter.com/8yrONbmHYA
Candidates also had a chance to show how much they prioritized climate when Todd asked them what they would seek to accomplish if they could do only one thing, The Guardian reported.
Colorado Senator Michael Bennet and Hickenlooper both said climate change, while author Marianne Williamson said she would call the prime minister of New Zealand to get her advice on dealing with the climate crisis. Businessman Andrew Yang said he would institute a universal basic income, which would help address climate change.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Loveday Wright and Stuart Braun
After a Japanese-owned oil tanker struck a reef off Mauritius on July 25, a prolonged period of inaction is threatening to become an ecological disaster.
<div id="bb0a7" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e5aefc0fff61ab1aea2f4b03c5399864"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1291765757013983238" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">The #oilspill is devastating but I want to honour the community mobilisation at the Mahebourg waterfront today (to… https://t.co/UWFkZFdjdi</div> — Fabiola Monty (@Fabiola Monty)<a href="https://twitter.com/LFabiolaMonty/statuses/1291765757013983238">1596815930.0</a></blockquote></div><p>"Booms are made of nylon mesh filled with #sugarcane straws all hand-stitched by Mauritian volunteers, empty plastic bottles used as buoys," described Mauritian journalist Zeenat Hansrod in a tweet. </p>
How to Tackle Oil Spills<p>The method for tackling oil spills depends on several factors, including the type and amount of oil in question, location and weather conditions.</p><p>"Once the oil comes to shore, the more intensive the cleaning technique. You can risk causing further damage," said Nicky Cariglia, an independent consultant at Marittima, who specializes in marine pollution. </p><p>"If you wanted to remove all traces of oil, the techniques available become increasingly aggressive the less oil that remains. In mangroves, you would have the added risk of causing damage by trampling," Cariglia told DW. Highly sensitive mangrove ecosystems line the Mauritius east coast that is threatened by the current spill.</p><p>Because oil normally has a lower density than water, it floats on the surface of the ocean. This means that for clean-up action to be most effective, it should happen very quickly after a spill, before the oil disperses. </p>
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When Europeans first arrived in North America, Atlantic puffins were common on islands in the Gulf of Maine. But hunters killed many of the birds for food or for feathers to adorn ladies' hats. By the 1800s, the population in Maine had plummeted.
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A "major" natural gas explosion killed two people and seriously injured at least seven in Baltimore, Maryland Monday morning.
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By Alex Kirby
The temperature of the Arctic matters to the entire world: it helps to keep the global climate fairly cool. Scientists now say that by 2035 there could be an end to Arctic sea ice.
Melt Ponds Crucial<p>"The prospect of loss of sea ice by 2035 should really be focusing all our minds on achieving a low-carbon world as soon as humanly feasible."</p><p><a href="http://www.reading.ac.uk/search/search-staff-details.aspx?id=10813" target="_blank">Dr. David Schroeder from the University of Reading</a>, UK, who co-led the implementation of the melt pond scheme in the climate model, says, "This shows just how important sea ice processes like melt ponds are in the Arctic, and why it is crucial that they are incorporated into climate models."</p><p>The extent of the areas <a href="https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/seaice/characteristics/formation.html" target="_blank">sea ice</a> covers varies between summer and winter. If more solar energy is absorbed at the surface, and temperatures rise further, a cycle of warming and melting occurs during summer months.</p><p>When the ice forms, the ocean water beneath becomes saltier and denser than the surrounding ocean. Saltier water sinks and moves along the ocean bottom towards the equator, while warm water from mid-depths to the surface travels from the equator towards the poles.</p><p>Scientists refer to this process as the ocean's global "conveyor-belt." Changes to the volume of sea ice can disrupt normal ocean circulation, with consequences for global climate. </p>
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