Ten 2020 hopefuls took to the stage in New York City Wednesday night for a climate town hall hosted by CNN. In a seven-hour marathon, the candidates discussed their climate plans, the fossil fuel industry, the Green New Deal, fracking, carbon neutrality and more. Climate activists had been pushing for an official debate on the climate crisis, but the Democratic National Committee rejected the proposal. In one of the night’s most memorable moments, Joe Biden was asked about his plans to attend a fundraiser hosted by fossil fuel executive Andrew Goldman today despite signing the “No Fossil Fuel Money” pledge. This is Anderson Cooper and Biden.
Anderson Cooper: “There is a fundraiser tomorrow night. It’s given by a guy named Andrew Goldman. He does hedge funds and stuff, but he also has a company called Western LNG, and their biggest project, which I think was announced in like 2018, is a floating liquefied facility for natural gas. It’s off the coast of British Columbia, and it’s going to provide Canadian gas to parts of northern Asia. So, what Andrew is saying is, if you’re going to a fundraiser that’s given in part by this guy who has a company that is pulling up natural gas, are you the right guy to go after these people?”
Joe Biden: “Well, I didn’t realize he does that. I was told — if you look at the SEC filings, he’s not listed as one of those executives. That’s what we look at: the SEC filings, who are those executives.”
Later in the evening, Senator Elizabeth Warren was questioned by CNN anchor Chris Cuomo about whether, as president, she would mandate the type of light bulbs Americans use.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “This is exactly what the fossil fuel industry hopes we’re all talking about. That’s what they want us to talk about: This is your problem. They want to be able to stir up a lot of controversy around your light bulbs, around your straws and around your cheeseburgers, when 70% of the pollution, of the carbon that we’re throwing into the air, comes from three industries, and we can set our targets and say, by 2028, 2030 and 2035, no more.”
Those three industries are buildings, electric power and oil, Warren said. And Bernie Sanders pledged to reject nuclear energy and invest in wind, solar and geothermal instead. At the town hall, he took aim at military spending.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “Maybe, just maybe, instead of spending a trillion-and-a-half dollars every single year on weapons of destruction designed to kill each other, maybe we pool those resources and we work together against our common enemy, which is climate change.”
We’ll host a roundtable discussion about the climate town hall after headlines.