tv Earth Day Environmental Protection CSPAN April 22, 2019 10:01am-10:41am EDT
start but answer that quickly. guest: i think most people would argue that the president has been pretty probing -- that the press is been pretty probing of donald trump including people in it administration. thank you both for the conversation this morning. we will bring you over to the national press club, the cofounder of earth day, environmentalist denis hayes will be talking about the 50th anniversary of earth they which is next year and he will be the earth a vote for effort ahead of the 2020 presidential election. live coverage here on c-span. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] the united states will completely with drop in the paris climate agreement next year. there is a crisis of plastic waste in our ocean.
to wish our guest today a happy 49th birthday. hayesrs ago in 1970, helped launch the first earth day. the earth was listed as an endangered species. los angeles was routinely enveloped in thick smog and cleveland was so polluted it caught fire. , 20he first earth day million people participated in demonstrations in the effort launched a sweeping series of policy changes in the united states including the clean air act, the clean water act and the establishment of the environmental protection agency. is chairman of earth day which focuses attention on the state of the earth's hell just health. as he looks for his golden anniversary, he is focused on what he says is the biggest
threat or plants health, climate change. he wants next year's 50th aniversary to produce unprecedented global outpouring of outrage over climate change and other global threats. we will hear more about those plans this morning so please join me in welcoming dennis hayes to the national press club. [applause] mr. hayes we plan to engage people in 90 countries and we have made these claims before and often done so with some level of trepidation and in
every case, it has proven to be more modest than what actually transpired. for the first earth day, we hope to have millions and then had 20 million. earth day 1990, we aspired to 100 countries and 100 million people, at the end, we had 20 million people in 100 -- in 140 countries. i'm hoping was again in 2020 we will blow past our goals. more important, 2020 will mark the time when global carbon emissions stopped growing and begin to decline. centuries,an two annual carbon emissions have been growing and they have their highest level ever in 2018. carbon emissions actually accelerated after a scientific consensus had developed around climate change. mankind has put more carbon into the atmosphere in the 30 years 1998.98 -- since
although president trump has taken a wrecking ball to international climate and scoffed at the review science and appointed the two worst epa administrators in history and pledged to resist a a dead coal industry, i'm confident the end is in sight step when conditions are right, people are ready to demand change in america can turn on a dime. it recently happened in the united states on gay marriage. more recently it happened in new zealand on gun control. it happened globally on the ozone hole. the 20 million americans are turned out in 1970 catapulted the environment from a second tier issue to a top-tier issue in politics. throughout that spring, events focused on air and water pollution, toxic oil spilled, pesticides, bring rivers, led extinct species and we saturated the public consciousness.
seven of the dirty dozen incumbent members of congress went down in defeat where the environment provided the margin of victory. these included the chair of the house public works committee. that have been unthinkable in 1969 became unstoppable by the end of 1970. within just five years of that first earth day, america past the clean air act, the clean water act, the endangered species act, the occupational health and safety act, the safe drinking water act, establish the epa, them lead based paint, dazzling bands leading reset cafe mileage standards for automobiles and pass the substance control act and the recovery act and the national act.t -- forest at an we launched an revolution in the way america does business. ,onsider just the clean air act despite the passionate opposition of the oil industry,
the coal industry, the automobile industry, the electric utility industry, the steel industry and others, the clean air act passed the senate unanimously and the house with just one dissenting vote. when richard nixon the toad the clean water act in 1972, the senate voted 52-12 to override his veto and the house voted 247-23. the difference between 1970 and 19 629 was the difference between night and day. it was not limited to the government, millions of people began choosing their homes, jobs, cars, their diets, even choosing how many children to have based on environmental values. why do we believe that 2020 will be for climate what 1970 was for other environmental issues? 1969, we have a supersaturated social situation. every recent poll shows a strong majorities believe climate change is real and has a human
fingerprint. the lavishly funded multi-year disinformation campaign funded by the fossil fuel industry, most notably exxon, has been thoroughly discredited. every pollcades, that showed a large majorities of the public favor a swift transition to 100% clean, renewable energy sources. as in 1970, the young people who have to live with the problem are stirring. the student strikes inspired by a 16-year-old mobilized 1.6 million strikers in 125 nations on march 15, another international strike is being organized for may 24. smaller strikes in individual committees are taking place. ipcc has reports that grows densely grown more forceful. the most recent one concluded that for there to be any reasonable hope of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, humankind must reduce our
emissions by 50% by 2030. that is as close to a clarion call for action as you'll ever find in a responsible scientific report. constellationn a -- and a constellation of other religious leaders are addressing this as a moral issue. headed cities and states including california representing 1.3 billion people and nearly 40% of the global economy, have pledged to reduce their emissions by 80-90% by 2050. washington, d.c. has pledged to byrenewable 100% by 90 -- 2032, the most ambitious target in the nation. the solutions project has developed roadmap showing all 50 states in 139 nations can achieve 100% clean. groupimate action 100+ with more than $32 trillion of investments under management are
pressuring the 100 largest companies with major carbon footprints to align their spending with what's needed to limit warming to two degrees. a few companies including some giants like google, ikea and mars have pledged to swiftly achieve 100% clean. more than 6000 corporations now report their carbon footprints to the carbon disclosure project once you begin measuring something, you can manage it all sto. conservation biologists site climate change is a driver of extinction. on the upbeat side of all of this, the cost of battery storage has fallen so precipitously over the last few years that in most places, 100% renewable energy solution is now the cheapest, healthiest, most resilient option as well as the one least dependent on the political whims of foreign sources of supply. the electric automobile revolution launch by tesla is starting -- is spreading like
wildfire. virtually every car company will have electric cars by the end this year and prices are falling and charging times are shrinking and personal cars, buses and trucks are all on the cusp of a revolution. opportunity lies in taking green buildings to scale. a sick story commercial building that i developed in seattle uses less than half as much energy as the lead platinum building and generates more electricity from rooftop solar. the cloudiest major city in , generates more than it uses. it's the most comparable building in the city and has been operating in the black since the day it opened. this is not rocket science. this is smart design and it simply about priorities, it's a developers telling their architects, engineers and contractors that i want this building to perform in a way that's responsible with sustainable future. deeplyl is to invest
inefficiency and electrify everything and produce all the electricity from renewable sources. finally, what will be earth day campaign itself look like? earth day which you should view as a meme rather than a vent will do its best to make sure public consciousness is against saturated with climate solutions. regional organizers will catalyze coalitions in cities to create their own events and we will work with national and state education associations to get climate programs focused on , herions into every school children already understand the threats, we need to make sure they also know what's needed to make sure that they have some hope. seniors.o enlist historically most movements are powered by you. certainly the first one was.
activists from the 1960's and 1970's are now retired. our values are intact and we have more leisure time than we have had in decades and some of us feel guilty about our failure to make progress on climate period we were in power. i play for the emergence of a green grey movement. experts will work with partners to get climate solutions programs into museums, libraries -- libraries, zoos and athletic venues and with soccer officials two weeks ago on the athletic venues, we are with this messiah people this afternoon to talk about museums. the gap between the five mostly wealthy and the destitute has never been greater here and in most of the world. an energy resolution could consolidate more wealth and even -- in even furans are it can be structured to promote greater equity. earth day will work with this -- disadvantaged amenities to make sure the well-being that the core of this country in the dust
of the world. to list the next generation of amar metal activist, we have to engage with social media platforms and we will be jointly announcing their major year-long partnership with twitter later today. we also hope to work closely with instagram, interest, tumbler, we chat facebook and others who have not been invented yet. we plan to enlist an army of digital natives to convey memorable messages reaching the largest possible audience of their peers. has a bright of options for individuals to modify their individual consumption to significantly reduce their carbon impact. we have an alliance, a joy dem helpnce with nwei to people live their values. later this year come earth day network will release a citizen's science at, downloadable to any smart phone. this challenge apple make it easy for anyone to upload from crowdquestions
sourced data from around the world. there's an effort designed around the american elections in 2020 but also the elections that will be held over the next two years in 60 other nations to make sure that climate becomes a top-tier issue, one of the two or three issues on which people vote. thatim is to achieve catapulting of climate at the same time we are working with partner organizations to register new voters and make sure they turnout at the polls. the goal for earth day 2020 is to mobilize the broadest possible movement, is designed to inspire hope in people who know their political and economic systems have been failing the planet but who have been -- and who can be aroused to enact change. happy to take any questions that you may have --
>> let's go with the first questioner. in theked about vote 2020 u.s. elections and around the world. are you advocating for candidates or policies? how will that look? to hayes we will be trying make every candidate address climate as a priority issue. for the last several elections, we have tried to get one question on climate introduced into the presidential debates and failed. this time, we want a presidential debate that is devoted to climate so that people don't just give a rhetorical flourish but have to address in detail what it is they want to do. working with a wide variety of partner organizations, some of which are pacs and folks who endorsed candidates based on the records and pledges. we are a c3 to we will provide the context within that -- within which that will flourish. >> to question from the audience
on moment but one more -- i have seen some criticism of earth day among environmentalists who say it's ,ecome more of an event celebration and less of a policy driven issue, something like national ice cream day. it sounds like you're looking to change that the what you say to that criticism? if you're to ask folks who were involved in movements for human rights, for peace, for any number of road social issues, whether they would like to have a worldwide day, if theor one plan focuses on their issues and they are resoundingly debated but in the end, if you believe we are rational creatures and believe in democracy, that debate will produce good results. i think everyone of them would leave at it. the environmental movement is blessed with this event. does sure, many things it
are just introducing people to the issues. you take a sixth grader out and they pick up and recycle some aluminum cans and perhaps plants and trees. at first step is to step down a long journey. i know any number of people who planted a tree when they were in grade school for day who took their children out to see that tree one it was 25 or 30 years old and i'm sure they will take their grandchildren to see that tree. it's a wide variety of things for a wide bright of different people. we definitely want this one to have an impact beyond just the introductory impact. we have run out of time. it's time now to move aggressively on climate. >> any questions out here? >> since you will be accepting donations, are there any restrictions? some energy companies are claiming they are all about
dealing with the problem. mr. hayes: for those who might not have heard, is whether there is restrictions on donations. given our theme that we will not be having exxon and peabody eating down our doors to make contributions to was good if they do, we will turn it down, just as we turn down a contribution from exxon back in 1970. what are referred to as a giggle test. sourcetake a look at the of the contribution and you say my lord, what were they thinking, of course we will turn it down. you may have touched on this but are you working with conservation biologists to adjust the issue of increasing extinction? forle have great affection their favorite issues.
trying tof you're leverage that especially with children. and the follow-on question, are you going to address the koch brothers sponsorship of many exhibitions to the smithsonian and other national museums? the first question is easier. yes, we're working closely with conservation organizations and the principal theme of earth day as you might've seen from the polar bear downstairs [laughter] is on extinction. we now are facing literally an epidemic of extinction. it's proceeding as a rate approximately 1000 times the background rate before the evolution of homo sapiens. it's caused by variety of factors for most conservation biologist would say one is habitat loss and the others climate change. the two interact with each other.
that's an important part of our message. seen a fairmount of coverage of polar bears and extinction, there has been somewhat less coverage of the impact on human beings and particularly on the destitute of the world. we will also try to focus as much attention as we can on it. -- as weigration become desiccated and people can no longer live in a place like bangladesh brother other coastal communities, they have to go someplace. that is causing incredible political tensions that we want to queue up as a climate issue, not just a political issue. we will be working closely with a wide variety of museums. i don't believe the koch brothers will be sponsoring anything that we are working on with museums.
we are trying to run an adventure on climate. >> anybody else? >> i have another question. you mentioned the bullet foundation will be a very environmentally friendly building. i'm interested in what you are learning from that that can be used in old buildings like this. you cannot knock down buildings and create a holder set of buildings. are you bringing those lessons? clear,es: let me be we're not creating the bullet center, it was completed five years ago. it has been characterized by world architecture as one of the grizzlies in the world. our tenants are not greenpeace. they are commercial tenants and be -- and despite all of that,
we use less than half the energy per square foot of the leed platinum building in the cloudiest major city in the contiguous 48 states. anda six to restructure, produce more electricity than the building uses on average basis. if we can do it in seattle, what's up the next? [laughter] it's been fully tenanted and it cost no more conventional -- no more than a conventional office building. we don't have a parking right for automobiles and that was a great saving on a major transit route from downtown seattle. we have a garage for bicycles and rapid access to rapid transit. the lessons learned are interesting. even seattle which is a green city, they were probably two dozen laws and regulations
against building the kind of building we built. probably the biggest challenge to this was persuading the regulators and the city council to let us build a super green building. that would be our challenge throughout the country. by mobilizing and megan people understand that this is we will sweep away a number of those prescriptive regulations in favor of performance regulations. a great deal of flexibility to creative architects and engineers as long as they meet tough performance standards. >> can you give us an example of what would have been barred? this will undercut something about our roof. out over thends sites -- of the building. there is a lot of surface area around the circumference of the building. that's owned by the city.
under american common law, whoever owns property owns it from the center of the earth up to the full extent of the universe. if you are building over a sidewalk on the city has to give your permission. the city wanted to charge a something like $65,000 per year to extend our roof for the sidewalks and we tried to say you got these strong promotional things encouraging solar energy and by doing that you're making it impossible. we cannot be net zero positive. not only that, because it rains will bein seattle, roof providing a public amenities we got a change. it's a lot of tiny things like that. thatu mentioned washington, d.c. is committed to becoming 100% and renewable and that sounds pretty ambitious and a little unrealistic. is that possible? mr. hayes: if you are saying
possible technically, i suppose yes. is it highly probable? a lot of these goals are aspirational goals. thing you seeof with the green new deal. it talks really about power and not about energy. that means they are talking of electricity. it's enormously ambitious for electricity and probably impossible for energy. whenever you cite something that sounds almost impossible, if you get close to it, it's a success. it's kennedy's aspiration to get a man on the moon in 10 years and a minimum and 11 years or 13 years or 15 years, would that have been a failure?
it was a grand goal that serve to inspire people to move aggressively toward it. i suspect that's what going on in d.c. >> there is an enormous amount of outrage going on in society and around the world especially among young people. the first earth day was born out of outrage happening in energy of the antiwar movement and the environmental area. my question is -- how have things changed and how do you see the role of young people changing around the world? you said you were an old timer. you mobilize the first earth day. what opportunities are there to channel this outrage and do actionableeaningful, and deliverable? mr. hayes: often the toughest
things to get attention. done with these future fridays has been to capture the world's attention and doing it with student the lonedoing it with individual sitting on a park bench in front of the united nations, even through the storms of december and january. and doing it by stepping out into traffic in london and causing the mayor of london to say could they be disruptive and they say no, this is our future. is's change the policy who so we don't have to do this. one of the things about eating young if you are both young, -- oned and hopeful, things about being young is if you are young, outraged and hopeful, you don't know what's impossible. therefore you go out and do it. >> any more questions?
>> thank you for being here. can you tell me about the epa today? [laughter] there is a two day conference starting tomorrow at american university on the future of the epa. there will be several bipartisan former epa administrator's who will address that topic with detail and sophistication. clearly, it has been catastrophic, the worst to administrators in history appointed by the trump administration. it's funny but we are now considering what has gone on with the supreme court and h,arting to think of gorsuc it's hard. administration under their leaders, one was thrown in the slammer, it got
about as bleak as we thought it could get. then bill ruckelshaus came in and inspire the agency and brought in a whole bunch of new people and revitalized it and it started going again. when we passed the laws i talked about in the early 1970's, they were brand-new approaches to thanks. you didn't know what would work or didn't work. .oon we would pass this the stuff that to work, we would amend and that's how the system functions. after the reagan years, things became so polarized, we became afraid to go back to modifications and make things even better. we all concurred they would because congress might very well use that opportunity to make it work. if we can create an election once again were the environment becomes a voting issue, then we can go back and not only get the epa revitalized in a new administration but be able to go in and make sure all of the laws which are not a superb and their
impact and have alienated people who should have been their friends can be made better. want this to be the last question but some people think that nuclear is a viable alternative with new technologies. your thoughts? this is one of those cases where there is a dream out there that people have for the future that is being used to sell something that doesn't yet exist. what they are trying to sell right now are light water reactors. there is no way america can rely upon any technology as a core part of its energy future that is unprepared to share with the rest of the world and there's something away to share a complete nuclear fuel cycle for the current reactors without having significant threats of weapons corporations -- proliferation.
there is nothing iran is doing to have an independent fuel cycle. there are reactors that would make proliferation difficult and would burn up much of the waste which should be inherently safe. none of them exist. everything is on paper. the committee will be divided and appointment some of those things to exist because some people, myself among them, are word about that technology. i think the principal answer is simply without getting into the , wastey of plutonium storage and potential accidents and chernobyl and what have you, they peripherally -- they proliferate around the world but i think economics and timing will be the driving factors for the perceivable future. , acan put up a wind turbine wind farm in a matter of a couple of years. we put the solar panels all over
the roof my building in a matter of weeks. from the time you decide to go ahead, a long time before that, but from the time you decide to go ahead, it will be 10-20 years to build a nuclear power plant today. problemnot solved this but if we have not solved it, it will be too late. i'm wondering if you're working with the national governors association? they seem to be more receptive to aggressive climate action in particular. closeres: pre-much the the governmental entity is to the people, the stronger it tends to be in these things, the greatest progress in grades commitments have been at the state level. i'm on the board of his organization. i don't know about all of the staff contacts made with the various organizations but i know we have had outreach to the mayors and over the next several
months, we reach out to governors as well. i'm not sure of the status of that. internationally, moving at all levels of government, there's an emphasis upon those who are responsive to citizen pressure is the core of this campaign. i will give you one small example -- it's very different in some ways and more modest inherent to building a circular economy. earth day in his early days was often put together in communities like ecology center's as part of their budgets money from recycling. the people put their aluminum cans or newspapers and glass into the back seat their two-tone automobile and drove it to colleges and i was stupid. you're spending far more energy than you are saving. but it was like an environmental sacrament. we had to have curbside recycling. decided in 1990 and we
that would be a theme. with found a couple of cities that had good curbside recycling programs going like san jose, california and seattle. without the ordinances and took and to the league of cities conference of mayors and said in a couple of years, there will be a big earth day in your city and you will be invited to speak and it will be nice if you had something you can announce that was a great victory. here are two ordinances that work, went to adopt one? 1989u take a look, between and 1992, an explosion of curbside recycling programs and a dramatic increase in the amount of materials recycled in the united states because of simply making it easy for mayors to do something that was responsive for their citizen demands. all of that was in itself a huge change for los angeles under sam on a pleasant if you elect him, you will no longer have to segregate your garbage. now people are prepared to
separate out the things that can and should be recycled and recycled and recycled. >> what is your take on the development goals and are the earth day goals aligned with those? mr. hayes: the sustainable development calls which are vastly better than elsewhere in the world than they are in united states make a great deal of sense. dimension,hat equity the degree of emphasis i refer to in my remarks but also they contain the dramatic commitment to efficient, renewable future and is perfectly aligned with what we're trying to do. the secretary-general of the united nations rather famously aggressively -- failing to move aggressively on climate change is not only immoral, it's suicidal. i think we are in alignment with that. >> can i go back to recycling for a moment? are you concerned about the
future of recycling waste on the current economics and china no longer wanting to do that? -- weyes: we have never should have never been sending our recyclables to china. we should take care of that ourselves and they should take care of their own. the reason they won't is we were sending them a lot of contaminated stuff so they weren't able to use it. container ship full of recyclable material would go to a landfill in china. they got fed up with that. if we will move to a true circular economy, we need to address it in a more comprehensive way than curbside recycling. cities including half of seattle, it has led to putting your recyclables in one container and having some kind of mechanical process using magnets and blowing the plastics out to separate it. that has not worked. it's mostly because people
recycled glass in the same containers, glass breaks and the shards contaminate the rest of the load. any paper that has glass shards and it becomes landfill. we are to have to do this in a way that's much more comprehensive. that's not our theme right now. that was her theme a few years ago and we will get back to the circular economy in the future but right now the focus is climate. do you have any more questions? we will take just a moment to let you all know about some upcoming events at the press club. 1230 p.m., noon, at we will have larry kudlow, the president's top economic advisor friday, the owner of bread. bread -- panera we also have a nationwide event to help raise money and awareness for a journalist named austin tice who is being held in
syria. you can come to the restaurant here and some of what you spend will be donated to a fund or you can look on the website and find a restaurant near you. please go there and look for a place to eat on may 2 to help out the journalist in need. thank you very much dennis hayes for being here. we are all adjourned. [laughter] [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
up the are wrapping queue and they were dennis hayes and he also appeared on "washington journal" this morning and we will look at his remarks and watch as much of this before the white house easter egg role begins and it will be hosted by the president and first lady here on c-span. host: we will speak with one of the cofounders of earth day, dennis hayes, but here's the first other cofounder, senator gaylord nelson on the eve of the first earth day, 49 years ago.