Connect with us

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

By Benjy Sarlin

WASHINGTON — Democrats running for president have debated the Green New Deal for months, but a separate demand from climate advocates to aggressively restrict fossil fuel extraction is exposing new fissures within the field of primary candidates.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., unveiled a plan for public lands last week headlined by a moratorium on fossil fuel exploration. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., called for a similar ban as well.

“Any serious effort to address climate change must include public lands  —  fossil fuel extraction in these areas is responsible for nearly a quarter of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions,” Warren said in a Medium post outlining her plan.

The move drew cheers from activists in the “keep it in the ground” movement, a coalition of environmental activists who seek to block back mining, drilling and fracking operations in order to push the economy toward renewable energy more quickly.

“Keep it in the ground” supporters draw on the same arguments as the Green New Deal: According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world has only a limited window to slash greenhouse gas emissions to levels that are likely to head off a dangerous increase in global temperatures.

But the two causes, while closely related, are not identical. The Green New Deal resolution co-authored by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., called for sweeping investments in renewable energy, but kept silent on how to regulate fossil fuels. That omission prompted some criticism from groups like Greenpeace, which praised Warren and Sanders for their own plans.

The climate advocacy group 350.org is keeping a scorecard for 2020 candidates that grades them separately on their support for the Green New Deal and for “keep it in the ground” policies. “In order to actually achieve a Green New Deal, you have to transition off fossil fuels,” Thanu Yakupitiyage, U.S. communications manager for 350.org, told NBC News. “It’s implicit in the deal.”

Sens. Warren, Sanders and Kirsten Gillibrand have signed onto the “Keep It In The Ground Act,” a bill by Sen. Jeff Merkley that would block new oil, coal and gas leases on public land and waters. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., is backing onto a separate bill with Sanders that seeks “a mandatory fossil fuel phase-out” in the electricity sector by 2050. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., has tweeted that she opposes drilling on public land.

The issue is set to be a major divide in the general election. President Donald Trump has regularly disparaged climate science and renewable energy technology, while pushing for an expansion of coal, oil and gas and rolling back Obama-era regulations. Republicans have made the Green New Deal an early focus of their attacks.

But even among Democrats and climate-minded policymakers, keeping it in the ground is far from a default position.

Some argue natural gas, a booming industry in recent years, is an important component of any climate strategy because it displaces energy sources like coal that produce more pollution. On the political front, some Democrats worry about ceding ground on economic policy to Republicans, who cite oil and gas production as a source of job growth.

“I see these attempts to ban production of oil and gas on public lands more as a campaign ploy than a serious climate change strategy,” said Paul Bledsoe, a former climate aide to President Bill Clinton and strategic adviser at the centrist Progressive Policy Institute.

Within the 2020 Democratic field, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has made his ties to the oil and gas industry a key part of his campaign message, setting up a contrast with candidates like Warren and Sanders. Dubbed “Frackenlooper” by environmental critics in the state, he cites his work negotiating with gas companies to regulate methane leaks, a major source of climate emissions, as a national model.

“If climate change policy becomes synonymous in the U.S. psyche with higher utility bills, rising taxes and lost jobs, we will have missed our shot — and we might not get another one before it’s too late,” he wrote in an op-ed last month.

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, who recently announced a jobs-focused presidential campaign, has also praised the “immense climate-related benefits and economic benefits” of natural gas, a growing industry in his state.

Others are still working out their approach. Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, faced criticism for voting to lift a decades-old ban on oil exports, which environmental groups worried would discourage countries from transitioning to clean energy. O’Rourke’s campaign defended the move, arguing oil production faced stricter environmental regulations in America, but also said he now opposes lifting the ban under Trump.



Source link

Politics

Brexit betrayal: Margot James resigns to block Boris plan to prorogue parliament

Published

on

CULTURE minister Margot James has resigned after she voted in favour of a House of Commons amendment that makes it harder for the next Prime Minister to push through a no deal Brexit.

Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Trump snubs John McCain during bill signing intended to honor him

Published

on

WASHINGTON — Congress wanted to honor the ailing Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. President Donald Trump did not.

In extended remarks during a visit to Fort Drum in upstate New York to sign the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 — this year’s version of an annual bill that sets defense policy — Trump chose not to mention the former prisoner of war and Senate Armed Services Committee chairman who is battling brain cancer. He even omitted McCain’s name when citing the title of the bill.

The two men have long been fierce critics of each other, with McCain calling Trump’s supporters “crazies” in 2015 and Trump retaliating by questioning whether McCain, who was subjected to torture in a Vietnamese prison camp, is really a “war hero” because “he was captured.”

The snub at Fort Drum, home to the combat aviation brigade of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division, did not escape the notice of McCain’s allies.

“For those asking did I expect Trump to be an a—— today. No more than I expected it to be Monday,” Mark Salter, McCain’s longtime aide, wrote on Twitter.

McCain’s condition — dire enough that a recent HBO documentary on him was titled “John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls” — has not stopped Trump from deriding the Arizona senator at political rallies. Though Trump does not use his name, he tells crowds that he would have been able to repeal Obamacare if not for a thumbs-down sign from one senator — McCain.

The senator’s own statement included Trump’s name in the headline and in a preamble written by staff. But the words attributed to McCain did not.

“I’m very proud that the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 has been signed into law,” he said.

Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

How Remainer Hammond knifed Boris in the back over Brexit amendment just days before sack

Published

on

CHANCELLOR Philip Hammond has followed through on his threat to stop Boris Johnson suspending Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit by abstaining in today’s crunch vote on Dominic Grieve’s amendment – with Mr Johnson’s leadership rival Jeremy Hunt doing likewise.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending