Schiff calls out Mulvaney for not complying with subpoena to testify

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff on Saturday again called on White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and others to comply with congressional subpoenas and testify before Congress in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
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President Donald Trump announces his decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement in the Rose Garden at the White House June 1, 2017, in Washington, DC. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Several candidates say they will stop all new fossil fuel leases on public lands. To find out how 2020 Democratic candidates would use their presidential powers to address climate change, we sent six key questions to every campaign. This post includes seven candidates’ answers to the third question. You can find answers to the other five questions on the landing page. If Republicans control one or both houses of Congress and legislation stalls, what executive actions are you prepared to take to reduce carbon emissions? Joe Biden: On day one, [I] will sign a series of new executive orders with unprecedented reach that put us on the right track to address our climate crisis. These executive actions will focus on: Requiring aggressive methane pollution limits for new and existing oil and gas operations. Using the federal government procurement system — which spends $500 billion every year — to drive towards 100 percent clean energy and zero-emissions vehicles. Ensuring that all US government installations, buildings, and facilities are more efficient and climate-ready, harnessing the purchasing power and supply chains to drive innovation. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation — the fastest growing source of US climate pollution — by preserving and implementing the existing Clean Air Act, and developing rigorous new fuel economy standards aimed at ensuring 100 percent of new sales for light- and medium-duty vehicles will be electrified and annual improvements for heavy duty vehicles. Doubling down on the liquid fuels of the future, which make agriculture a key part of the solution to climate change. Advanced biofuels are now closer than ever as we begin to build the first plants for biofuels, creating jobs and new solutions to reduce emissions in planes, ocean-going vessels, and more. Saving consumers money and reduce emissions through new, aggressive appliance- and building-efficiency standards. Committing that every federal infrastructure investment should reduce climate pollution, and require any federal permitting decision to consider the effects of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Requiring public companies to disclose climate risks and the greenhouse gas emissions in their operations and supply chains. Protecting biodiversity, slowing extinction rates and helping leverage natural climate solutions by conserving 30% of America’s lands and waters by 2030. Protecting America’s natural treasures by permanently protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other areas impacted by President Trump’s attack on federal lands and waters, establishing national parks and monuments that reflect America’s natural heritage, banning new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters, modifying royalties to account for climate costs, and establishing targeted programs to enhance reforestation and develop renewables on federal lands and waters with the goal of doubling offshore wind by 2030. Elizabeth Warren: My plan for public lands includes signing an executive order on my first day as president that says no more drilling — a total moratorium on all new fossil fuel leases, including for drilling and fracking offshore and on public lands. I will reinstate the methane pollution rule to limit existing oil and gas projects from releasing harmful gases that poison our air and reinstitute the clean water rule to protect our lakes, rivers, and streams, and the drinking water they provide. I will get us back into the Paris climate accord and restore the vehicle emission standards and the Clean Power Plan. I will also use all the tools of international trade to lead the global effort to combat climate change. I will make being party to the Paris Climate Accord and ending fossil fuel subsidies preconditions for any trade deal. I will push for a multilateral trade agreement to protect green policies like subsidies for clean energy and I will impose a border carbon adjustment to charge a fee to imported goods made using carbon-intensive processes. There’s a lot a president can do herself. I intend to use every tool to take action to defeat our climate crisis. Bernie Sanders: The bottom line is that there is a climate emergency which demands a massive-scale mobilization to halt, reverse, and address its consequences and causes. As president, [I] will declare a national emergency on climate change and take immediate, large-scale action to reverse its effects. This is an existential threat and we will do whatever it takes to confront it. [I] will use executive authority to ban fossil fuel extraction on public lands, effectively ban fracking and mountaintop removal coal mining, ban offshore drilling, ban imports and exports of all fossil fuels, end all new federal fossil fuel infrastructure permits, aggressively regulate greenhouse gas emissions, use regulations to help us decarbonize our transportation and energy sectors, rejoin and strengthen the Paris Climate Agreement, and place a fee on imported carbon pollution-intensive goods. As president, [I] will impose sanctions on corporations and entities that threaten national and global emissions reduction goals. [I] will break up big agribusinesses that have a stranglehold on farmers and rural communities and negatively impact our environment, and enforce the Clear Air and Water Acts on large factory farms. And [I] will focus the federal government’s significant resources, including procurement, on transitioning to a 100 percent clean energy economy. Pete Buttigieg: I’d rejoin the Paris climate agreement and use every tool available to the President to regulate carbon emissions across economic sectors. I would also use the office to capitalize on the increasing interest in a carbon fee and dividend from some Republican Members of Congress. We need to remember that people are policy, so I would appoint leadership of the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, and other key places with people who actually believe in environmental protection and solving climate change. Lastly, we can’t overlook action at a local level, so I would convene local leaders for a Pittsburgh Climate Summit to build commitments and share strategies to tackle carbon emissions. Tom Steyer: I will not hesitate to use the emergency powers of the presidency to protect the American public from the climate crisis, just as I would use those powers to protect our country from a hostile military invasion. My plan will eliminate fossil fuel pollution from all sectors to achieve a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero global warming pollution by no later than 2045. This means massive and immediate mobilization to decarbonize every sector in an equitable way, including transitioning to clean electricity, setting strong standards for new buildings, retrofitting existing buildings to improve indoor air quality and energy efficiency, accelerating electric vehicle deployment and charging infrastructure, stopping methane leaks and eliminating the use and production of global warming super-pollutants, and efforts to expand new development while meeting pollution reduction goals. Every part of the executive branch of government will bring its rules, purchasing decisions, and agency staff in line with our global and domestic science-backed carbon emissions reduction goals. My administration will immediately stop issuing leases to coal, oil, and gas companies for mining and fracking on federal lands, offshore, and in the Arctic, and rapidly and responsibly phase out existing operations. We have the tools to lessen the effects of this climate crisis, and I will ensure that they are not delayed, wasted or misdirected. Amy Klobuchar: As part of [my] plan for the first 100 days of [my] presidency, [I have] committed to taking the following actions to address the climate crisis: Get the United States back in the international climate agreement on day one: On day one of [my] presidency [I] will get us back into the agreement, working so that the United States maintains global leadership to address the climate crisis. Restore the Clean Power Plan: To address the climate crisis, [I] will immediately bring back the goals established by the Clean Power Plan, which set emissions standards for states with respect to reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. Bring back the fuel-economy standards:[I] will immediately restore and strengthen our fuel economy standards, which are key to fighting climate change. The Trump administration has weakened the fuel-economy standards for cars and light trucks and has challenged the right of California and other states to follow more stringent standards. Reinstate the National Climate Assessment Advisory Committee to immediately start addressing the climate crisis: The National Climate Assessment Advisory Committee was charged with translating the findings of the National Climate Assessment into concrete goals. [I] will reinstate this committee that President Trump let expire. End the Trump Administration’s censoring of climate science: [I] will end the Trump administration efforts to censor climate science through actions like deleting climate-focused websites, removing the phrase “climate change” from reports, and preventing government scientists from attending conferences on climate change. Set ambitious goals to reduce the carbon footprint of the federal government: The federal government has a significant carbon footprint. As president, [I] will set ambitious goals to increase the efficiency of federal buildings, data centers, and vehicles, reduce water consumption, and increase the use of renewable energy. Undertake a comprehensive review and restore environmental protections repealed by the Trump Administration: The Trump Administration has revoked dozens of guidance documents and rules that protect people’s safety, health and the environment when it comes to our power plants, oil refineries, national parks and wildlife refuges, offshore drilling, pipelines, and oil and gas development. [I] will undertake a thorough review of all the repealed guidance and rules, and work to restore our environmental and safety protections. Mike Bloomberg: I will take a number of executive actions to cut carbon emissions, at the same time that we start the legislative process in Congress, regardless of party control, because we can’t afford to wait. Here are just a few examples: I will direct the Environmental Protection Agency to set strong standards for air pollution from both existing and new coal and gas power plants, as well as water pollution from hazardous coal waste. I will direct the EPA and the Department of Transportation to reinstate gas mileage and pollution standards for cars and trucks, and to set a timetable for aggressive new standards that will ensure all new cars are electric by 2035. I will direct the Department of Energy to create zero-pollution building codes and equipment standards, and work with the Federal Energy Regulation Commission and state utility regulators to build a 100 percent clean electricity grid. I will issue a moratorium on new leases for fossil fuel extraction on federal lands and in federal waters. And I will issue an order making environmental justice and equity a priority overseen by the White House, with a dedicated office in every agency. Combined with an ambitious approach to budget, tax, and appropriations bills, these actions can put the country on track for a 50% carbon reduction by 2030.
How 2020 Democrats will address climate change through foreign policy
A woman walks to her eroded shelter home near the Meghna river in Bangladesh on September 12, 2019. | Zakir Hossain Chowdhury/Barcroft Media/Getty Images Several ideas for improving climate security. To find out how Democratic 2020 candidates would use their presidential powers to address climate change, we sent six key questions to every campaign. This post includes seven candidates’ answers to the sixth question. You can find answers to the other five questions on the landing page. The Pentagon has called climate change a “threat multiplier” in international conflict. At the same time, climate change stands to have the worst impacts on countries that contributed least to the problem. How should the US brace for global climate chaos? And what will you do to help other countries prepare for the impending disruption? Joe Biden: To address our defense and intelligence leaders’ warnings about the threats climate change poses to global stability and security, [I] will elevate climate change as a national security priority. Specifically, [I] will: Commission a National Intelligence Estimate on national and economic security impacts from climate change, including water scarcity, increased risks of conflict, impacts on state fragility, and the security implications of resulting large-scale migrations. Direct the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to report to [me] annually on the impacts of climate change on defense posture, readiness, infrastructure, and threat picture, as well as the Defense Department’s strategy to manage those impacts. Direct the National Security Advisor, working with the Secretaries of Defense, State, Homeland Security, and others, to develop a comprehensive strategy to address the security implications of climate change. Invest in the climate resilience of our military bases and critical security infrastructure across the US and around the world to deal with the risk of climate change effects, including extreme weather events that caused over $8 billion in damages to Department of Defense bases in just the last year. [I] will direct the Secretaries of Defense and Energy to develop specific inventories of the most acute vulnerabilities in our critical infrastructure due to climate change, and prioritize upgrades, hardening, and resilience investments to mitigate them. In addition, [I] will recommit the US to the Green Climate Fund, fulfilling America’s pledge and enhancing our security by helping developing countries better manage the adverse effects of climate change, including conflict, migration, and state fragility. The US will also work with international financial institutions to pursue shared debt relief for countries provided that they use those funds for climate-friendly development. As president, [I] will rejoin the Paris Agreement. But simply rejoining is not enough. [I] will use every tool of American foreign policy to push the rest of the world to raise their ambitions alongside the US. Part of this effort includes providing “green debt relief” for developing countries that make climate commitments. Elizabeth Warren: I support returning to the Paris agreement — and then using that as a basis to go further. My Green Marshall Plan is a commitment to using all the tools in our diplomatic and economic arsenal to encourage other countries to purchase and deploy American-made clean energy technology. It includes a new federal office dedicated to selling American-made clean, renewable, and emission-free energy technology abroad and a $100 billion commitment to assisting countries to purchase and deploy this technology. In my plan to overhaul how Washington does trade, I will use all the tools of international trade to marshall global action on climate. I will re-enter the United States into the Paris Climate Accord and make being party to that agreement and fossil fuel subsidies preconditions for any trade agreement. I will push for a multilateral trade agreement to protect green policies like subsidies for clean energy and impose a border carbon adjustment to charge a fee to imported goods made using carbon-intensive processes. I also make clear that countries who can’t live up to these standards won’t be abandoned. I will commit to providing technical assistance to help countries improve. I will also require the Pentagon to achieve net zero carbon emissions for all its non-combat bases and infrastructure by 2030 — consistent with the objectives of the Green New Deal. I will invest billions of dollars into a new, 10-year research and development program focused on microgrids and advanced energy storage and direct the Pentagon to produce an annual report evaluating the climate vulnerability of every US military base at home and abroad. Bernie Sanders: [I] know the importance of American responsibility and leadership on climate change. As President, [I] will take that role seriously and bring a commitment to the rest of the world on behalf of the American people to promote peace and aggressively reduce our emissions in an effort to get the international community to agree to limit global emissions to keep us at or below 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming. This will ensure the US remains in a position of technological leadership and make us competitive on all sustainable energy technology to achieve our global goal of decarbonization by 2050. The US has for over a century spewed carbon pollution emissions into the atmosphere in order to gain economic standing in the world. Therefore, we have an outsized obligation to help less industrialized nations meet their targets while improving quality of life. We will reduce domestic emissions by at least 71 percent by 2030 and reduce emissions among less industrialized nations by 36 percent by 2030 — the total equivalent of reducing our domestic emissions by 161 percent. Despite the major shortcomings of the Paris climate agreement, one primary reason why the globe was able to come together to sign the Paris agreement was that major developed nations like the US finally recognized that they had an outsized role in the creation of the climate crisis, and an outsized obligation to less industrialized nations to help them achieve the same kind of carbon pollution emissions reductions while improving the quality of life in those countries. In order to help countries of the Global South with climate adaptation efforts, the US will invest $200 billion in the Green Climate Fund for the equitable transfer of renewable technologies, climate adaptation, and assistance in adopting sustainable energies. US leadership can ensure that the developing world secures reliable electricity, reduces poverty and pollution-related fatalities, creates greater net employment, and improves living standards — all while reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. [I] will bring together the leaders of the major industrialized nations with the goal of using the trillions of dollars our nations spend on misguided wars and weapons of mass destruction to instead work together internationally to combat our climate crisis and take on the fossil fuel industry. [I] recognize that the Pentagon is the largest institutional emitter of greenhouse gases in the world and that the US spends $81 billion annually to protect oil supplies and transport routes. We are uniquely positioned to lead the planet in a wholesale shift away from militarism. [I] also recognize that climate change will only accelerate the unrest and migration that we are seeing today. We must address the root causes of migration, including rewriting disastrous trade policies and implementing a humane foreign policy that strengths labor and environmental standards across the world. The US must live up to its ideals as a nation by welcoming those who seek refuge, including from climate disasters. Pete Buttigieg: Climate is a threat multiplier and a threat shifter. Some of the most urgent threats the US faces today — from crises that originate in Syria, Sudan, and countries in Central America — are made worse by the extra stresses put on those states by failing crops and other effects of climate change. We have both an obligation, alongside other big emitters of warming gases, and a strong national interest in reducing those dangers. We can help by contributing fully to the Green Climate Fund and other funds that are putting resources toward helping countries adapt, and by integrating prevention and mitigation strategies into our own foreign aid. Over the long haul, the best and only way to manage these problems is to stop and reverse climate change through serious action at home and globally as part of our foreign policy. Tom Steyer: Increased droughts and other climate-related disasters are spurring more violent conflicts and increasingly volatile political situations around the globe. Hundreds of millions of people around the world risk losing their homes and livelihoods to sea-level rise, extreme weather, and political conflict driven by climate impacts. The Commander-in-Chief must protect us from the immediate dangers of climate change and ensure our country’s prosperity but also help to reduce the causes of conflict globally and prevent mass human rights abuses that can arise in times of disaster or resource stress. To create a safer and more secure America, we must secure our military bases against extreme weather, and improve our systems to prevent and recover from disasters. We also need to reestablish the United States as a global economic and moral leader by leading the worldwide transition to clean energy, redoubling our commitments to international agreements such as the Paris Accord, providing international aid for disaster relief and for countries that are transitioning away from fossil fuels, and helping protect the human rights of the growing number of people displaced by disasters. Amy Klobuchar: As President [I] will elevate the voices of our military and security experts who have repeatedly warned that climate change will increase the risks of international conflict and humanitarian crises. [I] believe that we must work with our allies to support countries most affected by climate change, including addressing global food and water shortages, supporting climate resilient development, helping countries adapt to the effects of climate change, and preparing for the increased risk of natural disasters. Mike Bloomberg: President Trump doesn’t just deny that climate change is real – he has also weakened our most powerful tool in the fight against climate change: our international leadership. No single country can beat climate change, or handle its impacts – more refugees, more conflicts over water, more political instability – by acting alone. Confronting those threats requires strong alliances. President Trump has attacked and insulted our allies. I will work with them and restore our commitment to international cooperation, including on climate change. I have a robust plan with specific steps to restore U.S. leadership, rally the world to ambitious carbon reductions and cooperate to manage climate-related conflict that starts with rejoining the Paris Agreement, which I will do on day one.
Are 2020 Democratic candidates ready to scrap the filibuster to fight climate change?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrives at a rally outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on September 24, 2019. | Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images At least four candidates are in favor. To find out how 2020 Democratic candidates would use their presidential powers to address climate change, we sent six key questions to every campaign. This post includes seven candidates’ answers to the second question. You can find answers to the other five questions on the landing page. If Democrats win a narrow majority in the Senate, will you advocate for reforming or scrapping the filibuster? Joe Biden: [I do] not support ending the filibuster. Elizabeth Warren: As I’ve said before, if Republicans continue to [use] the same playbook they had under President Obama and try to block progress, we should get rid of the filibuster. Bernie Sanders: As was the case with workers’ rights, the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the gay rights movement and the environmental movement, the only way transformational change happens is when millions of people stand up and demand it. Before we even get to the issue of the filibuster, we need 50 senators who are prepared to do what we, as a nation, have a moral obligation to accomplish - and that is to pass Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and other major reforms we need. Once we have — and [I] believe it will be sooner than later — a Democratic majority that is prepared to take on the greed and the corruption of the fossil fuel industry and vote for these major reforms in the House and the Senate, we will pass them. That means enacting real filibuster reform, including the return to requiring a talking filibuster. It is not right that one senator can grind the entire legislative process to a halt. Further, the budget reconciliation process, with 50 votes, has been used time and time again to pass major pieces of legislation and that under our Constitution and the rules of the Senate, it is the vice president who determines what is and is not permissible under budget reconciliation. While a president does not have the power to abolish the filibuster, a vice president in [my] administration will determine that a Green New Deal can pass through the Senate under reconciliation and is not in violation of the rules. Pete Buttigieg: Yes. With the filibuster in place, any meaningful action to combat climate change will be even further out of reach. Tom Steyer: I will certainly advocate for scrapping the filibuster. This legislative roadblock is preventing us from fixing an inadequate healthcare system, boosting lagging wages, controlling student debt, and ending gun violence. The filibuster only serves to maintain the status-quo and uphold a broken political system. Amy Klobuchar: [I] would be willing to advocate for getting rid of the legislative filibuster if legislation is blocked. None of this will matter if Democrats don’t retake the majority Senate and [I am] focused on that. Mike Bloomberg: The filibuster has been overused and misused, and it is probably time to get rid of it.
How climate change ranks as a priority for 2020 Democratic presidential contenders
Climate change protesters disrupt Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden during a campaign event in Manchester, New Hampshire, on October 9, 2019. | Scott Eisen/Getty Images Several candidates say they would take action on day one of their administration. To find out how 2020 Democratic candidates would use their presidential powers to address climate change, we sent six key questions to every campaign. This post includes seven candidates’ answers to the first question. You can find answers to the other five questions on the landing page. A president has only 100 days or so in which to pass a few key priorities. Where does climate change fall on your list of priorities when you step into office? Joe Biden: [I] know there is no greater challenge facing our country and our world today than climate change. [I have] been clear that the United States needs to raise our ambitions on an epic scale, and lead the rest of the world to do the same. [I] would take immediate action on day one of my Administration to meet this challenge and ensure the US achieves a 100 percent clean energy economy and net-zero emissions no later than 2050. If we don’t get this right, nothing else matters. Elizabeth Warren: Climate change is a threat to the safety and health of Americans — and it disproportionately impacts our most vulnerable communities and communities of color. I will keep talking about plans to confront the crisis and a comprehensive, bold approach to addressing climate change would be a top priority in my Administration. I’ve already made clear that on my very first day as president, I will sign an executive order banning new fossil fuel leases and drilling offshore. I’ve put forward several proposals to confront our climate crisis head-on including my plan to make a $2 trillion investment over the next 10 years in green research, manufacturing, and exporting. It will also spur the kind of worldwide adoption of American-made clean energy technology needed to meet the international targets of the Green New Deal. And let’s be clear: Right now Washington works great for Big Oil but not for communities across the country concerned about the climate crisis. We need to rein in the economic and political power of giant corporations, their lobbyists, and the wealthy and well-connected. The first thing I would do as President is pass my anti-corruption bill to end lobbying as we know it and make our government and democracy work for everyone. Bernie Sanders: [I]believe climate change is the single greatest threat facing us today. According to top climate scientists, we must act immediately to dramatically cut our greenhouse gas emissions, or we will suffer irrevocable environmental and economic damage. We are long overdue for taking this threat seriously, due in large part to the hundreds of millions of dollars spent by multinational fossil fuel corporations to protect their profits and inaction and even denial from Republicans in Congress. [I]will do what it takes to avert climate disaster. We have many crises facing our country, from health care to education to income inequality, and [I] believe we must be able to “walk and chew bubblegum” at the same time in combating them. But climate change must be at the top of the list. We have a moral responsibility to leave our kids a planet that is healthy and habitable. We cannot afford to wait any longer. Pete Buttigieg: The timeline on climate has been decided by science, and the right time to get to net zero carbon emissions was yesterday. The next president can reverse the trajectory toward climate ruin that we’re on today. That’s why I will take immediate action to tackle this challenge head-on. Tom Steyer: Climate change is a crisis as big and urgent as any other that this country and our planet has faced. It demands our immediate attention on all levels of government and society. Our country needs a strong president who will make this a top priority. On my first day in office, I will declare the climate crisis a national emergency and use the emergency powers of the presidency to implement a plan to build a safer, more sustainable world, with or without Congress. This is truly a global crisis and it is long past time for the United States to take the lead in solving it. Amy Klobuchar: [I have] said climate change will be a top priority of [my] administration. In [my] announcement speech, [I] said that [I] will get the United States back into the international climate agreement on day one of [my] presidency, and [I have] announced several more immediate actions [I] will take in [my] first 100 days including restoring the Clean Power Plan, bringing back the fuel-economy standards, and putting forward sweeping legislation to combat the climate crisis. The legislation will include: A massive investment in green jobs and infrastructure Climate research and innovation Environmental justice programs Rural energy development and better, greener transportation Carbon pricing State, local, and private incentives for the immediate adoption and deployment of clean energy technologies Incentives and support for tougher building codes, appliance standards, buy clean, and climate resilience. It will put our country on a path to achieving 100 percent net-zero emissions no later than 2050 and fulfill our responsibility to our communities and workers who have helped power this country. Mike Bloomberg: Fighting climate change will be a top priority during my first 100 days in office and every day after that. My first act as president will be to re-join the Paris Climate Agreement. I will also take immediate executive action to reverse the damage done by President Trump, speed the transition to clean energy economy-wide, and put America on track to cut carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030. I will nominate committed climate leaders to head agencies and departments, and direct them to propose new pollution and energy standards to move our power and transportation and buildings toward clean energy. I’ll work with Congress to pass a budget with new funding for building energy upgrades and electric vehicle deployment, and quadruple investment in clean energy research and development. And I will work with Congress to pass infrastructure legislation that prioritizes electrifying our transportation system and buildings, expanding access to mass transit and other alternatives to cars, and converting our power system to clean energy.
What 2020 Democrats will do to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for climate change
Exxon Mobil chairman and CEO Darren Woods arrives for a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing, China on September 7, 2018. | Mark Schiefelbein/AFP/Getty Images Some candidates say they will hold polluters criminally accountable for their harm to the environment. To find out how 2020 Democratic candidates would use their presidential powers to address climate change, we sent six key questions to every campaign. This post includes seven candidates’ answers to the fifth question. You can find answers to the other five questions on the landing page. Right now there’s a nationwide push to hold fossil fuel companies accountable via lawsuits, shareholder resolutions, and divestment for their contributions to climate change and campaigns to mislead the public. Do you support these efforts? What do you see at the government’s role in holding polluters accountable? Joe Biden: [I] will take action against fossil fuel companies and other polluters who put profit over people and knowingly harm our environment and poison our communities’ air, land, and water, or conceal information regarding potential environmental and health risks. As president, [I] will hold polluters accountable. Plain and simple. Under the Trump Administration, the EPA has referred the fewest number of criminal anti-pollution cases to the Justice Department in 30 years. Allowing corporations to continue to pollute — affecting the health and safety of both their workers and surrounding communities — without consequences perpetuates an egregious abuse of power. [I] will direct [my] EPA and Justice Department to pursue these cases to the fullest extent permitted by law and, when needed, seek additional legislation as needed to hold corporate executives personally accountable — including jail time where merited. Elizabeth Warren: Yes, I do. I have introduced legislation to hold top corporate executives criminally accountable if, as a result of their negligence, companies pollute the air or cause harm to our environment. Bernie Sanders: Yes. [My] Green New Deal includes a comprehensive plan to hold fossil fuel executive accountable and end their greed once and for all. For decades, fossil fuel corporations knowingly destroyed our planet for short-term profits. The fossil fuel industry has known since as early as the 1970s that their products were contributing to climate change and that climate change is real, dangerous, and preventable. Yet, they kept going. Instead of working to find solutions to the coming crisis, the fossil fuel industry poured billions into funding climate denialism, hiring lobbyists to fight even the slightest government regulation and oversight, and contributing to politicians who would put the interests of fossil fuel executives over the safety and security of the planet. Fossil fuel corporations have fought to escape liability for the pollution and destruction caused by their greed. They have evaded taxes, desecrated tribal lands, exploited workers and poisoned communities. [I] believe this is criminal activity, and, when [I am] president, [I] will hold the fossil fuel industry accountable. Transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy cannot be done without standing up to fossil fuel corporations. As president, [I] will prosecute and sue the fossil fuel industry for the damage it has caused. When it was revealed in 2015 that the fossil fuel industry knew their actions were contributing to climate change decades ago, [I] sent a letter to then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking her to open a federal investigation to find out whether the industry violated the law. [I] will ensure that his Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission investigate these companies and bring suits — both criminal and civil — for any wrongdoing, just as the federal government did with the tobacco industry in the 1980s. These corporations and their executives should not get away with hiding the truth from the American people. They should also pay damages for the destruction they have knowingly caused. We will also support state and regional action to determine the projected harm to communities and pave the way for actions that remunerate devastated communities requiring care and repair and the dollars to do it. [I] will make the fossil fuel industry pay for their pollution by massively raising taxes on corporate polluters’ and investors’ fossil fuel income and wealth. We will raise penalties on pollution from fossil fuel energy generation. The EPA has historically under-enforced the existing penalties for polluting under the Clean Air Act. As president, [I] will raise and aggressively enforce those penalties. [I] will require remaining fossil fuel infrastructure owners to buy federal fossil fuel risk bonds to pay for disaster impacts at the local level. Federal risk bonds can then be paid to counties and municipalities when there are fossil fuel spills, explosions, or accidents. [I] will divest federal pensions from fossil fuels and use the Federal Reserve and other financial regulatory bodies to force and pressure and financial institutions, universities, insurance corporations, and large institutional investors still invested in or insuring fossil fuels to transition those investments to clean energy bonds. Pete Buttigieg: Climate change and climate security is the defining challenge of our generation. We should push for change through every available avenue. Corporate social responsibility means little if a company’s business practices are harming people, and we must have robust enforcement and serious accountability for wrongdoing. Tom Steyer: I strongly support the efforts to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for their corrupt actions to mislead and endanger the public — in fact, I’ve been directly involved in the divestment effort. I spent my years on Stanford University’s board successfully convincing them to dump coal holdings and pushing hard for full divestment from fossil fuels. It is time that we break the grip that these corporations have over our political system and strengthen laws that protect workers and the environment. In the past, once fossil fuel companies have gotten all the money they can out of a community or a piece of land they try to pull up stakes and move on without repairing the damage they’ve done in the process. This needs to stop. We need to step up enforcement and prosecute corrupt companies that poison our air and water. It is time that we tell these executives that they will not prevent us from taking action on the climate crisis, and create real — potentially criminal — consequences for actions they may have taken to knowingly spread false information and slow climate action. I will enact structural change that ends government giveaways to big corporate polluters, manages public resources for all Americans, and invests in a regenerative economy with good, clean jobs in fossil fuel communities. Amy Klobuchar: [I] support efforts to hold companies accountable for their contributions to climate change and campaigns to mislead the public. [I have] signed the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge and believe we also need aggressive campaign finance reform that takes on the political influence of special interests like the fossil fuel industry. Mike Bloomberg: Polluters should be accountable for cleaning up the damage they’ve done. That’s why we have environmental rules and regulations that include civil and criminal penalties. President Trump has slashed those rules to benefit special interests, and that puts public health and our environment at risk. I will reverse his rollbacks and strengthen rules, including those that allow the Department of Justice to bring civil and criminal cases against violators of environmental and other laws. We will also improve how companies measure and report climate risks and climate impacts. More transparency allows investors to make smarter decisions, which encourages investment in companies that are helping to lead the way on climate change – and it gives companies information they need to allocate resources in ways that protect our planet and our economy.
How 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls want to help communities vulnerable to climate change
Bela and Jaques Sebastiao begin the process of cleaning up their home after it was heavily damaged by Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida on October 17, 2018. | Raedle/Getty Images Elizabeth Warren says she’ll expand infrastructure to protect vulnerable communities from extreme weather events. To find out how 2020 Democratic candidates would use their presidential powers to address climate change, we sent six key questions to every campaign. This post includes seven candidates’ answers to the fourth question. You can find answers to the other five questions on the landing page. Some communities are more vulnerable to climate change than others. Some communities depend on fossil fuel industries more than others. What will you do to ensure that vulnerable communities are protected during the transition to clean energy? Joe Biden: [I understand] how vulnerable communities — particularly communities of color, tribal lands, and low-income communities — are disproportionately impacted by the climate emergency and pollution. We cannot turn a blind eye to the way in which environmental burdens and benefits have been distributed unevenly along racial and socioeconomic lines — not just with respect to climate change, but also pollution of our air, water, and land. The evidence of these disproportionate harms is clear. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, African Americans are almost three times more likely to die from asthma related causes than their white counterparts. And, nearly 1 in 2 of Latinos in the US live in counties where the air doesn’t meet EPA public health standards for smog according to Green Latinos. And according to the federal Government, 40 percent of the 567 federally recognized tribes in US live in Alaska where the rapid pace of rising temperatures and melting sea ice and glaciers threaten the critical infrastructure and traditional livelihoods in the state. We cannot let this continue. [I] will reinstate federal protections, rolled back by the Trump administration, that were designed to protect communities. He will make it a priority for all agencies to engage in community-driven approaches to develop solutions for environmental injustices affecting communities of color, low-income, and indigenous communities. [I] will: Hold polluters accountable. Under the Trump administration, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has referred the fewest number of criminal anti-pollution cases to the Justice Department in 30 years. Allowing corporations to continue to pollute — affecting the health and safety of both their workers and surrounding communities — without consequences perpetuates an egregious abuse of power. [I] will direct [my] EPA and Justice Department to pursue these cases to the fullest extent permitted by law and, when needed, seek additional legislation as needed to hold corporate executives personally accountable — including jail time where merited. Ensure access to safe drinking water for all communities. Communities across America are experiencing a water crisis, in water infrastructure, contamination, accessibility and so much more. Here in the US, from rural areas to cities, from Flint, Michigan to Merrimack, New Hampshire to Martin County, Kentucky, many Americans cannot safely drink their tap water. In much of the southwest and west, the problem is a lack of sufficient water, expected to exacerbate with a changing climate. [I] will make water infrastructure a top priority, for example, by establishing systems to monitor lead and other contaminants in our water supply and take necessary action to eliminate health risks, including holding polluters accountable and support communities in upgrading their systems. Ensure that communities harmed by climate change and pollution are the first to benefit from the Clean Economy Revolution. Low-income communities and communities of color don’t equally share in the benefits of well-paying job opportunities that result from our clean energy economy. For example, African Americans hold only 1 percent of energy jobs. As President, [I] will make sure these communities receive preference in competitive grant programs in the Clean Economy Revolution. And work to fulfill our obligation to all workers impacted by the energy transition and their communities, including coal miners and power plant workers. In addition, [I] will work to fulfill our obligation to all workers impacted by the energy transition and their communities, including coal miners and power plant workers. These communities powered decades of American economic growth, and they deserve our respect and support as we shift our country away from coal as an energy source. [I] will protect the pensions and health benefits that these workers have earned and invest in communities impacted by the climate transformation so that they, too, can succeed in the 21st century clean energy economy. More on [my] plan for coal and power plant communities is available at Elizabeth Warren: I support the Green New Deal, which seeks to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers. Specifically, I support the Green New Deal commitments to create high-quality union jobs that pay prevailing wages, hire local workers, offer training and advancement opportunities, and guarantee wage and benefit parity for workers affected by the transition to a non-fossil fuel economy. My plan for green manufacturing would inject a massive $2 trillion into green research, manufacturing, and exporting. An independent analysis found my plan would create 1.2 million good jobs right here at home. I also believe we need to work with farmers and ranchers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, invest in sustainable farming and land use practices and build a more sustainable food system so everyone has access to healthy food. We must also invest in hardened infrastructure to protect people, particularly vulnerable communities, from extreme weather events. I also believe it is essential to respect the government-to-government relationship between the federal government and tribal governments and to engage in meaningful consultation with tribal nations on policies affecting their lands. My plan for public lands includes a commitment to restoring national monuments targeted by the Trump Administration and formally incorporating tribal stakeholders in the management of public lands. I’m also a sponsor of the Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands Equitable Rebuild Act — a comprehensive plan for investing in and rebuilding these islands, including by making their electrical grids more renewable and resilient and making significant investments in infrastructure. Bernie Sanders: [My] Green New Deal is not only a serious climate plan, but an opportunity to uproot historical injustices and inequities to advance social, racial, and economic justice, including redressing the exclusion of black, brown, Native American, and other vulnerable communities from the programs that made up the original New Deal. As president, [I] will ensure an inclusive, comprehensive process from start to finish. Workers and communities on the frontline of fossil fuel extraction, transportation and use and those most vulnerable to climate impacts must be involved from the creation and implementation of regulations and protocols to the distribution of funds and carrying out the work of the Green New Deal. And we will follow the Principles of Environmental Justice adopted at the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit. The goals and outcomes of the Green New Deal should continue to be developed under the Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing with strong and consistent consultation with the communities most affected by the currently unequal enforcement of environmental laws. [I] will ensure justice for frontline communities – especially under-resourced groups, communities of color, Native Americans, people with disabilities, children and the elderly – to recover from, and prepare for, the climate impacts, including through a $40 billion Climate Justice Resiliency Fund. And providing those frontline and fenceline communities a just transition including real jobs, resilient infrastructure, economic development. [I] will invest $238 billion to clean up Superfund sites and $150 billion to clean up and revitalize brownfields, and other areas and communities that have been polluted by the fossil fuel, chemical and mining industries. We will spend $100 billion on fossil fuel well and mine cleanup. We will provide targeted regional economic development to communities especially in need of assistance during our transition to a clean energy economy. We will provide $130 billion for counties impacted by climate change with funding for water, broadband, and electric grid infrastructure investments. We will extend civil rights protections to ensure full access to the courts for poor and minority communities to seek legal protections by overturning the Sandoval Supreme Court decision that set an unreasonable burden of proof of racism for claims of environmental racism, including disparate and cumulative exposure to environmental health risks. We will fully survey and track pollution in vulnerable communities, ensure the creation and implementation of the Green New Deal is accessible to people with disabilities and non-English speakers, ensure equitable hiring standards, expand nutrition and home energy assistance programs, and much more to ensure that environmental justice is front and center as we transition to a 100 percent sustainable economy. And this plan will prioritize the fossil fuel workers who have powered our economy for more than a century and who have too often been neglected by corporations and politicians. We invest $1.3 trillion in a just transition to guarantee five years of a worker’s current salary, housing assistance, job training, health care, pension support, and priority job placement for any displaced worker, as well as early retirement support for those who choose it or can no longer work. We will do all of this and much more to ensure a just and equitable future for frontline and fence line communities including real jobs, resilient infrastructure, economic development. Pete Buttigieg: I believe that we’ve got to build a coalition to effectively combat climate change. There are some estimates that through better soil management, soil could capture a level of carbon equivalent to the output of the entire global transportation industry — we need to make sure farmers and rural America are a part of this solution. I would eliminate tax credits for fossil fuel companies, but dedicate funds to training workers in the industry for new careers. We also need to focus on resilience in vulnerable communities and build stronger infrastructure that can better withstand extreme weather. Tom Steyer: My Justice-Centered Climate Plan will not only provide clear air and water, but also honor the contributions and sacrifices of workers in fossil fuel industries and prioritize justice for communities that have been treated as environmental dumping grounds for far too long. While climate change affects us all, it hurts low income communities, indigenous peoples, and communities of color first and worst. I will implement a sustainable transition to clean energy that begins with creating a 50-state, community-led process to develop tailored local approaches that respond to the unique needs of communities. These community-led plans would see support from all levels of government. For example, the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps will effectively create 1 million jobs for young Americans, underemployed people, and displaced workers, and will work to diversify state and local economies currently dependent on fossil fuel revenues. Building a regenerative, diversified economy requires inclusivity that works to protect unions and workers entering new industries. Amy Klobuchar: As part of [my] sweeping climate change legislation, [I] will make sure climate resilient infrastructure investments will be targeted towards communities that are disproportionately affected by climate change, including communities of color and tribal communities. [I] also believe that we must fulfill our responsibility to our communities and workers who have helped power this country as we address the climate crisis and [my] legislation will include targeted financial support, job training, and direct federal investment that will create new jobs in communities that depend on fossil fuel industries. Mike Bloomberg: We will work to ensure no one is left behind by the transition to clean energy, including Americans in coal country and the low-income communities and communities of color who have been disproportionately affected by pollution from fossil fuels and the impacts of climate change. Coal helped to power America’s rise, but coal’s days are numbered and coal jobs aren’t coming back – and President Trump has given people in coal country nothing but empty promises. We’ll support career education and apprenticeship programs that help people in communities that have been dependent on fossil fuel jobs. We will work with cities and towns in those regions to invest in infrastructure, support small businesses, and create new jobs that pay good wages. And we’ll require that fossil fuel companies honor their benefit and pension promises to employees. We’ll also work to make every community resilient to the impacts of climate change, prioritizing environmental justice and starting with those that are most vulnerable. We’ll make sure that low-income communities see the benefits of a clean energy economy, including jobs and reduced pollution. We’ll create an Infrastructure Resilience Finance Corporation to strengthen communities against flooding, storms, and wildfires – and we’ll work to restore and strengthen our natural defenses, like wetlands and floodplains.
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