The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
What Kyrsten Sinema’s Historic Win Could Mean for the Environment
A little less than a week after the midterm election, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema has edged out Republican Martha McSally to become Arizona's first female Senator and the first openly bisexual member of Congress, The Guardian reported. She is the first Democrat to win an Arizona Senate seat since 1976.
Sinema, who has served in the House of Representatives since 2013, has moved to the right since her early days as a Green party activist. During the 2018 midterm campaign, she promoted herself as an independent aisle-crosser in the tradition of late Arizona Republican Senator John McCain.
"As long as I've served Arizona, I've worked to help others see our common humanity & find common ground. That's the same approach I'll take to representing our great state in the Senate, where I'll be an independent voice for all Arizonans," she said in a tweet announcing her win.
But even if she has distanced herself from her Green party roots—the environment does not feature among the "priorities" listed on her Senate campaign page—Simena's win is likely a net positive for the environment. As a Congresswoman, she earned a 2017 score of 80 percent and a lifetime score of 78 percent from the League of Conservation Voters. Her opponent, McSally, also a House member, earned a 2017 score of 11 percent and a lifetime score of 6.
In response to the questions from The Republic, Sinema said she supports "thoughtful and reasonable approaches to reduce climate pollution while ensuring Arizona families and businesses have affordable, reliable energy to power our economy into the future."
She said she has supported more solar energy development and "common sense policies like the renewable tax credit, energy efficiency incentives, and state-level renewable portfolios that reduce emissions and provide a smooth transition to cleaner sources of energy."
McSally, on the other hand, took the opportunity to criticize steps taken by former President Barack Obama to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. She did not deny climate science, but still said she had "fought against" regulations meant to address it.
"Crushing regulations, such as the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the United States, only serve as federal overreaches that further burden Arizona's small businesses and farmers and harm those in poverty with increased utility bills," McSally said in an email.
However, Sinema's desire to emphasize working with Republicans has sometimes caused her to waffle on the causes of climate change. In a televised debate with McSally, a listener asked the candidates if they believed climate change was a "man-made problem" and what they would do to combat it, particularly when it comes to preserving Arizona's water.
"Well, I do believe that climate change is real, and I think it doesn't make a lot of sense for us to spend time debating how we got to the place that we are today. What does make sense is for individuals who have the ability to make a difference moving forward to work together to make that difference," she said. She then promised to work with Arizona Senator Jon Kyl, the Republican appointed to fill in for McCain after his death, on water conservation in the state.
McSally did not answer with her opinion on climate change specifically, but talked about the importance of water before moving on to address issues related to the military and to criticize Sinema for anti-war statements made in 2003.
You can see the video here:
McSally and Sinema debate for U.S. Senate seat in Arizona: climate change www.youtube.com
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
A dire new report issued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) found that the climate crisis is on a worrying trajectory as the crisis's hallmarks — sea level rise, ice loss and extreme weather — all increased over the last five years, which will end as the warmest five-year period on record.
By Peter Gleick
War is a miserable thing. It kills and maims soldiers and civilians. It destroys infrastructure, cultures and communities. It worsens poverty and development challenges. And it damages and cripples vital ecological and environmental resources.
Hundreds of activists gathered in the Swiss Alps on Sunday to mourn the loss of Pizol, a glacier that has steadily retreated over the last decade as temperatures have warmed the mountain tops, according to CNN.
Vice President Mike Pence sparked outrage on social media Saturday when he traveled in the first-ever motorcade to drive down the streets of Michigan's car-free Mackinac Island, HuffPost reported.
By Shawn Radcliffe
- As illnesses and deaths linked to vaping continue to rise, health officials urge people to stop using e-cigarettes.
- Officials report 8 deaths have been linked to lung illnesses related to vaping.
- Vitamin E acetate is one compound officials are investigating as a potential cause for the outbreak.
By Julia Conley
As organizers behind Friday's Global Climate Strike reported that four million children and adults attended marches and rallies all over the world — making it the biggest climate protest ever — they assured leaders who have been reticent to take bold climate action that the campaigners' work is far from over.