Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Which 2020 Candidates Make the Grade When it Comes to Climate Action?

Popular
Which 2020 Candidates Make the Grade When it Comes to Climate Action?

ay Inslee of Washington state photographed on Monday, May 13, 2019, on Bainbridge Island, Washington.


The Washington Post
/
Contributor / Getty Images

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is at the top of the class, and former Vice President Joe Biden is struggling near the bottom with a D minus. Those are the results of Greenpeace USA's #Climate2020 Scorecard, the latest tool designed to rate the 2020 presidential candidates based on their plans for tackling the climate crisis.

The scorecard, released Thursday, graded the candidates on a 1 to 100 scale based on two main criteria: their support for a Green New Deal and their commitment to ending the use of fossil fuels, NBC News reported.


"We are in a climate emergency. Yet for the last several elections, even the majority of politicians who claim to care about our future have done little more than say they believe the climate crisis is real," Greenpeace USA Climate Campaign Director Janet Redman said in a statement reported by NBC News. "That doesn't cut it anymore. In 2020, true climate leadership means nothing less than saying 'yes' to a Green New Deal and 'no' to fossil fuels."

The scores were based on positions and legislation the candidates had supported since 2013. Inslee, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard also filled out a 29-question survey on their positions. Candidates were also given credit for refusing donations from the fossil fuel industry.

Inslee topped the charts with an A minus.

"Gov. Inslee has championed bold climate action for years. He has laid out the most detailed plan of any candidate so far that's right in line with a Green New Deal, and championed bold action as Governor of Washington State. His 2020 climate plan would invest $3 trillion over ten years to achieve 100 percent clean power by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2045, while prioritizing investments for frontline, Indigenous, and low-income communities," the scorecard said.

He was followed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Booker, who both earned B pluses. Biden was fourth from last, above only former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who also earned a D minus, and Republicans Bill Weld, a former Massachusetts governor, and Donald Trump, who both earned Fs.

The full tally is as follows:

  1. Jay Inslee, A-
  2. Bernie Sanders, B+
  3. Cory Booker, B+
  4. Kirsten Gillibrand, B
  5. Elizabeth Warren, B
  6. Tulsi Gabbard, B
  7. Beto O'Rourke, B-
  8. Marianne Williamson, C
  9. Pete Buttigieg, C
  10. Kamala Harris, C-
  11. Eric Swalwell, C-
  12. Amy Klobuchar, C-
  13. John Delaney, D+
  14. Andrew Yang, D+
  15. Julian Castro, D+
  16. Tim Ryan, D-
  17. Joe Biden, D-
  18. John Hickenlooper, D-
  19. Bill Weld, F
  20. Donald Trump, F

Greenpeace USA spokesman Ryan Schleeter told NBC News that Biden's low score "is primarily due to lack of info," since he has yet to release a comprehensive climate plan, something he had promised by the end of May, according to The Huffington Post.

"If he wants to translate his front-runner status in the polls to actual leadership on climate, we need him to come out with a bold, concrete plan in line with the scale of the crisis we're facing," Redman told Bloomberg News.

However, the scorecard is designed to push all the candidates, not just Biden. Greenpeace encouraged those reading the scores to either "praise" or "shame" candidates for strong or weak plans.

"If we push each candidate often and altogether, we have a HUGE opportunity to make real climate action a priority this primary season," the organization wrote.

Greenpeace's scorecard uses a similar metric to 350 Action's 2020 Climate Test, released in March. That test grades candidates on three criteria: support for a Green New Deal, commitment to keeping fossil fuels in the ground and refusing fossil fuel money. However, the test is less detailed, simply giving candidates a thumbs up for each box they tick. Biden currently has not signed the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge, and the group lists his positions on the Green New Deal and ending fossil fuel use as unknown.


A net-casting ogre-faced spider. CBG Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics / CC BY-SA 3.0

Just in time for Halloween, scientists at Cornell University have published some frightening research, especially if you're an insect!

The ghoulishly named ogre-faced spider can "hear" with its legs and use that ability to catch insects flying behind it, the study published in Current Biology Thursday concluded.

"Spiders are sensitive to airborne sound," Cornell professor emeritus Dr. Charles Walcott, who was not involved with the study, told the Cornell Chronicle. "That's the big message really."

The net-casting, ogre-faced spider (Deinopis spinosa) has a unique hunting strategy, as study coauthor Cornell University postdoctoral researcher Jay Stafstrom explained in a video.

They hunt only at night using a special kind of web: an A-shaped frame made from non-sticky silk that supports a fuzzy rectangle that they hold with their front forelegs and use to trap prey.

They do this in two ways. In a maneuver called a "forward strike," they pounce down on prey moving beneath them on the ground. This is enabled by their large eyes — the biggest of any spider. These eyes give them 2,000 times the night vision that we have, Science explained.

But the spiders can also perform a move called the "backward strike," Stafstrom explained, in which they reach their legs behind them and catch insects flying through the air.

"So here comes a flying bug and somehow the spider gets information on the sound direction and its distance. The spiders time the 200-millisecond leap if the fly is within its capture zone – much like an over-the-shoulder catch. The spider gets its prey. They're accurate," coauthor Ronald Hoy, the D & D Joslovitz Merksamer Professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior in the College of Arts and Sciences, told the Cornell Chronicle.

What the researchers wanted to understand was how the spiders could tell what was moving behind them when they have no ears.

It isn't a question of peripheral vision. In a 2016 study, the same team blindfolded the spiders and sent them out to hunt, Science explained. This prevented the spiders from making their forward strikes, but they were still able to catch prey using the backwards strike. The researchers thought the spiders were "hearing" their prey with the sensors on the tips of their legs. All spiders have these sensors, but scientists had previously thought they were only able to detect vibrations through surfaces, not sounds in the air.

To test how well the ogre-faced spiders could actually hear, the researchers conducted a two-part experiment.

First, they inserted electrodes into removed spider legs and into the brains of intact spiders. They put the spiders and the legs into a vibration-proof booth and played sounds from two meters (approximately 6.5 feet) away. The spiders and the legs responded to sounds from 100 hertz to 10,000 hertz.

Next, they played the five sounds that had triggered the biggest response to 25 spiders in the wild and 51 spiders in the lab. More than half the spiders did the "backward strike" move when they heard sounds that have a lower frequency similar to insect wing beats. When the higher frequency sounds were played, the spiders did not move. This suggests the higher frequencies may mimic the sounds of predators like birds.

University of Cincinnati spider behavioral ecologist George Uetz told Science that the results were a "surprise" that indicated science has much to learn about spiders as a whole. Because all spiders have these receptors on their legs, it is possible that all spiders can hear. This theory was first put forward by Walcott 60 years ago, but was dismissed at the time, according to the Cornell Chronicle. But studies of other spiders have turned up further evidence since. A 2016 study found that a kind of jumping spider can pick up sonic vibrations in the air.

"We don't know diddly about spiders," Uetz told Science. "They are much more complex than people ever thought they were."

Learning more provides scientists with an opportunity to study their sensory abilities in order to improve technology like bio-sensors, directional microphones and visual processing algorithms, Stafstrom told CNN.

Hoy agreed.

"The point is any understudied, underappreciated group has fascinating lives, even a yucky spider, and we can learn something from it," he told CNN.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Financial institutions in New York state will now have to consider the climate-related risks of their planning strategies. Ramy Majouji / WikiMedia Commons

By Brett Wilkins

Regulators in New York state announced Thursday that banks and other financial services companies are expected to plan and prepare for risks posed by the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less

Trending

There are many different CBD oil brands in today's market. But, figuring out which brand is the best and which brand has the strongest oil might feel challenging and confusing. Our simple guide to the strongest CBD oils will point you in the right direction.

Read More Show Less
The left image shows the OSIRIS-REx collector head hovering over the Sample Return Capsule (SRC) after the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism arm moved it into the proper position for capture. The right image shows the collector head secured onto the capture ring in the SRC. NASA / Goddard / University of Arizona / Lockheed Martin

A NASA spacecraft has successfully collected a sample from the Bennu asteroid more than 200 million miles away from Earth. The samples were safely stored and will be preserved for scientists to study after the spacecraft drops them over the Utah desert in 2023, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Read More Show Less
Exxon Mobil Refinery is seen from the top of the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on March 5, 2017. WClarke / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 4.0

Exxon Mobil will lay off an estimated 14,000 workers, about 15% of its global workforce, including 1,900 workers in the U.S., the company announced Thursday.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch