Kamala Harris Becomes Latest 2020 Dem to Support a Green New Deal
Kamala Harris on Monday became the latest Democratic presidential contender to back a Green New Deal, in what has become a "litmus test" for 2020 hopefuls, according to the youth-led Sunrise Movement that helped launch the ambitious economic and climate proposal.
"I support a Green New Deal and I will tell you why," the California Senator said during a CNN town hall in Iowa. "Climate change is an existential threat and we have got to deal with the reality of it."
Harris also took aim at the climate skeptics in office.
"We have got to deal with the reality of the fact that there are people trying to peddle some ideas that we should deny it. They are peddling science fiction instead of what we should do, which is rely on science fact," she said at the town hall.
“I support a Green New Deal … Climate change is an existential threat to us and we have got to deal with the realit… https://t.co/TDr5B49Zig— CNN (@CNN)1548733428.0
The Green New Deal—made popular by freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)—aims to create a select committee of House members that would have the authority to "develop a detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan" to allow the United States to become carbon neutral and to "promote economic and environmental justice and equality."
The increasingly popular plan has been backed by at least 45 members of Congress and hundreds of environmental, social justice and political groups.
As for the names vying for the 2020 presidential ticket, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as well as former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro have also backed the Green New Deal, according to The Hill.
Climate change is an immediate and catastrophic threat to our future. And yes, it's real. We need to: ✅Get to net-… https://t.co/efyWTSlqOU— Kirsten Gillibrand (@Kirsten Gillibrand)1548366103.0
"It's becoming the new litmus test for every Presidential candidate: if you want to lead our nation and claim to represent young people, come out in FULL support of the Green New Deal," the Sunrise Movement tweeted after Gillibrand announced her support at a recent event in San Francisco.
"If mobilizing to confront the climate crisis is not one of your top 3 issues, it's going to be hard for our generation to take you seriously," the group also tweeted to the presidential contenders. "Embrace it, or thank u, next."
Last night, @Gillibrandny voiced support for the #GreenNewDeal at an event in San Francisco! It's becoming the new… https://t.co/jelUQaNxO8— Sunrise Movement 🌅 (@Sunrise Movement 🌅)1548381466.0
Sen. Warren, who appeared on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on Monday, explained how her newly proposed wealth tax plan can help fund Green New Deal policies.
"How about we invest that in a Green New Deal, to help protect this planet?" she said.
Also during the CNN town hall, Harris mentioned that the top two fastest-growing occupations on the Bureau of Labor Statistics list are installers for solar panels and wind turbine service technicians.
"We need those jobs to be created and filled because we need to be dedicated to that kind of work, and that's what a Green New Deal has to include," she said.
She then lamented, "Our planet is at great risk ... we have policymakers who are in the pockets of big oil and big coal (and) don't fully appreciate the fact that we are looking at something that is presenting an existential threat to our country.
"And, listen, all children need to be able to breathe clean air and drink clean water, and we've got to have a commitment to a policy that will allow that to happen for ourselves and our children and our grandchildren. And right now we don't," she concluded.
"The Best and Worst Midterm Results for the Environment" by Olivia Rosane for @EcoWatch: https://t.co/lk15e8lnUo— Michael E. Mann (@Michael E. Mann)1541605359.0
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Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.
When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."
Mounting Piles of Waste<p>It is not only the streets of Chatellerault where pandemic pollution is piling-up, but also the world's beaches and oceans. Once there, they can take up to 450 years to degrade and disappear.</p><p>Esther Röling, co-organizer of the annual Adventure Clean Up Challenge held on Hong Kong Island, has seen this waste firsthand. In October the sports challenge pitted teams against one another in a competition to remove trash from 13 hard-to-reach coastal areas around the city.</p><p>They find tons of both disposable and reusable masks, said Röling. "You wonder how it ended up there. Was it just thrown on the ground? Or was it in a garbage bag that broke open?"</p><p>Almost 10,000 kilometers away in Antibes on the sunny French Riviera, it's a similar picture. For the past few months, divers and clean-up volunteers working with an ocean clean-up non-profit called Operation Mer Propre have been collecting an increasing number of masks found on land and in the sea.</p><p>"Since the beginning of the lockdown when we started to count, we've reached 800, 900, [and now in total] 1000 masks," said co-founder Joko Peltier. </p><p>According to <a href="https://unctad.org/news/growing-plastic-pollution-wake-covid-19-how-trade-policy-can-help" target="_blank">UN estimates</a>, up to 75% of all coronavirus-related plastic could end up as waste in oceans and landfills.</p>
The Limits of Recycling<p>Yet not all are convinced the recycling of this waste is possible on a global scale. </p><p>"What those citizen groups are doing is really beneficial but once they collect it, it should just go to a landfill or an incinerator. They shouldn't necessarily expect it to get recycled," said Jonathan Krones, an industrial ecologist and visiting assistant professor of environmental studies at Boston College.</p><p>That's because mask recycling programs like Plaxtil are few and far between and most don't have the benefit of a readily adaptable production process. </p><p>Even in countries with solid recycling infrastructure, he says, the system is designed to separate out specific types of waste like bottles or cardboard.</p><p>"I imagine that it would be technically feasible to develop a separation process to filter out masks, but there simply aren't enough of them to make that economical," he said.</p><p>Collection is a big hurdle, he adds. Since each mask only weighs a fraction of a gram and they're scattered on roads or mixed with other trash, it is difficult and costly. </p><p>"You need a lot of raw material of the right quality to make investing in the recycling technology and the recycling system worthwhile," he said.<span></span><br></p>
Hemp, Sugar Cane and Sustainable Alternatives<p>Some projects are instead addressing the material used to make masks.</p><p>French company Geochanvre have created a mask made primarily from hemp, while in Australia, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are experimenting with a disposable product made from agricultural waste. </p><p>Biodegradable options are exciting alternatives to reduce the fossil fuels needed for the creation of plastic-based masks, said Krones, but they don't absolve the wearer from the responsibility of what happens afterwards. </p><p>Bio-based masks often need their own composing solutions, he explains, because in landfill they can produce high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane when anaerobic bacteria feeds on the organic material. Methane is known to be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.</p><p>"I think as long as we have in our mind that we want to have disposability, we're going to have to wrestle with a variety of different sorts of environmental tradeoffs," he said, adding that reusable, fabric masks are the best option available to most people.</p><p>Precimask is developing a clear face covering with an optional visor made from hard plastic, designed to be long-lasting.<br></p><p>Air enters either side of the cheeks through a technology normally found in pool filters and car exhaust systems, said company spokeswoman Juliette Chambet.</p><p>"We wanted to make ceramic-based filters that would be washable and cleanable, which would allow them to be reused as many times as desired without having to buy a new consumable or produce waste," she said. </p><p>Ultimately, encouraging mask wearers to think about the entire lifecycle of a mask is key, explains Neveu. </p><p>"We want people who put on the masks to realize that they are also responsible for the waste, he said. "It's not inevitable that this [pandemic] will become an environmental catastrophe.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-recycling-pollution-trash-pandemic/a-55707817" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649032193#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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