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tv   World Resources Institute Climate Change Discussions  CSPAN  April 9, 2019 6:59am-8:57am EDT

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once tv was three giant networks and a government supported service called pbs then in 1979 a small network with an unusual name rolled out a big idea. let viewers decide all on their own what was important to them. c-span opened the doors to washington policymaking for all to see bringing unfiltered content from congress and beyond. in the age of power to the people, this was true of people power. in the 40 years since the landscape has cle there is no monolithic media broadcasting due to stars or things. c-span's big idea is more relevant today than ever, no government money support c-span. it's not part of washington, it
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is a service by your cable or satellite provider on television, online, your unfiltered view so you can make up your own mind. next representative kathy castor and former senator carlos cabello talk about climate change and what congress can do to address the issue. this was hosted by the world resources institute. >> good afternoon. thank you for attending the form on reenergizing climate action on capitol hill. if you are looking for discussion on clinical symptoms of psychological disorders you are in the wrong room or maybe not. my name is dan.
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i'm the us director of us resources, a few minutes of introduction and framing remarks before turning the stage over to amy harder who will interview kathy castor of the house select activity on the climate crisis followed by a discussion with carlos cabello who founded the bipartisan climate solutions caucus and was the first republican in a decade to introduce a bill to seriously attack climate change. after these opening conversations we will turn to a panel discussion focusing on what it will take to d carbonized the power sector. i want to thank the panel for joining us, appreciate it. we plan to have additional forms in the future that will
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touch on additional topics such as transportation, infrastructure, managing tradition for workers and communities trying to bring in additional perspectives as we do that. stay tuned for future announcements. for those not familiar with world resources we are a nonpartisan global policy research and innovation institute on a mission to foster change that protect earth's environment and capacity to provide the needs and aspirations of current and future generations. we work on 7 global challenges, all of which link directly or indirectly to the topic we are here to discuss today. our approach is grounded in science and data, we help policymakers from all parties demand implement solutions and communicate ideas to
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decision-makers and the public. we leverage partnerships to spread approaches that work, scale it. in the united states wor is focused on making progress against climate change by working with business, cities, states and the federal government and encouraging them to act at all these levels in ways that support and complement each other. here inside the beltway it is easy to forget the critical role played by these national actors but in an analysis done by wri last year for america's pledge shows implementing their commitments would lead to 17% reduction in us emissions by 2025 with no further action from washington. with deeper and broader commitments we could see reductions of 24% which was within striking distance of the
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pledge the united states made as part of the paris agreement and some good news coming in recent months we have seen exciting developments at the subnational level. growing number of states set ambitious clean electricity targets like 50% by 2030, or 100% by 2050 or earlier. carbon pricing is expanding to more states and sectors and states are cooperating more intensively through the us climate alliance which is grown over 23 governors committed to the goals of the paris agreement. they have represented 50% of the us population and 60% of gdp. at the federal level climate change has reemerged as a top priority on capitol hill and the conversation has matured from whether to take action to
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how. the emergence of the green new deal has inspired unprecedented activism and sparked a lively debate about the future of climate action in congress in the context of economic and social equity. in addition to the broad goals and principles enunciated in the green new deal resolution we are seeing more concrete legislative proposals including two carbon pricing bills by representative cabello and his fellow former republican francis rooney, representative castor, the primary sponsor of hr 9 focusing on keeping the united states and the paris agreement and meeting our commitment and holding other countries accountable. on the senate side lamar alexander has proposed a new manhattan project focusing on energy r&d and senator smith plans to introduce an ambitious
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clean energy standard bill shortly. we've seen and dividend proposal and discussion of $1 trillion climate start infrastructure plan. reflecting on this activity, let 1000 climate proposals bloom and that captures where we are right now. there is a hunger for solutions to the climate crisis and how to realize them and that is what we are here to talk about today. there are seats in the middle of people want to slide in. we want to keep the conversation interactive. we don't want you to check email on your phones but we want you to take them out and take part in a poll on this platform. we will be using this platform for asking questions to the panelists. if you go to slideoh.com and
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type in event code 350, here is the question. when should the united states aim to achieve a 0 carbon electricity sector? the results are coming in. how many people have applied? okay. this is a pretty ambitious group. by 2030 having the plurality the nobody has a majority, sort of like the brexit situation. this is obviously a key question and we will delve into it more deeply in the panel. it is my honor to introduce our
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featured speaker representative kathy castor representing florida's 14 congressional district which includes tampa and hillsborough county. castor is a national leader in clean energy, environmental justice and coastal protection. she was recently appointed to chair the select committee on the climate crisis which held its first hearing last week. i am very thankful to amy harder for moderating the discussion today. amy is one of the top journalists on energy and climate issues. she's widely respected across the political spectrum is uniquely balanced and influential voice. she covers climate and energy issues as part of a regular column for x he is called harder line. without further a do please welcome amy and kathy. [applause]
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>> good afternoon, great to be here. thank you for taking the time to be here. this is one of the first if not the first appearance since you've been chairwoman of the committee so thank you for that. you have a tough job. you are leading a select committee with no subpoena power, no legislative power which leads to criticism that it is just for messaging and 2020 political purposes. democrats leading the permanent committees are getting a little bit over the jurisdiction issues. the loudest democrats and progressive activists don't think you are doing enough. a lot of republicans think climate change isn't a problem. i always republicans are shifting their are still a lot on capitol hill talking on other issues on this issue. how do you break through all that noise and try to make a tangible difference with this
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committee? >> thank you to wri for hosting this discussion. this is my first public appearance as chair of the climate crisis committee and i want to thank you. i tuned into your axial synergy report every morning and it is quite enlightening. you have broad jurisdiction your self but thank you. so nancy pelosi, whose flagship issue has always been climate change going back to when she held the gavel the first go around, she knew at the outset of this new congress that we didn't have time to waste and the standing committees, each of them have an important role to play in developing policy proposals and holding hearings
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on the topic of climate, we intend the climate crisis select committee to be the umbrella that helps keep track of what is going on in congress and help build the narrative for ambitious action. we had our first hearing last week and we went right to generation climate, the young people who are at their wits end, shaking a fist washington saying come on, the planet is burning, what are you going to do about it? we have four young people who are leaders in the climate movement to come to capitol hill, a little different from your typical congressional committee hearing, always hearing a much older demographic and not quite as diverse. we want our first panel to reflect the generation that is going to bear the burden and
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find the solution. the specific charge of the to issue a report to congress and the american people that summarizes the bold action plan, to push the other committees and the congress to do what we can do now, to reduce carbon pollution and begin the mitigation and adaptation policies but we anticipate the boulder action may have to wait for the next president. >> as a reminder for those on the live stream, to ask questions for both congresswomen and congressman cabello which i will get to later. i will be checking my phone. so please be thinking about
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that as well. you had one hearing. you talked about the plan to hold more hearings. and some criticism has been it is a prop for the 2020 presidential candidates, can you respond to that? >> the field hearings we will have will be solution oriented. we will pursue some highlighting of the problem but the science is in. we don't have to spend a lot of time on is climate change happening? what we need to spend time on are the solutions to reduce carbon pollution and begin to build more resilient communities. how we get resources to our community, look for us to see the cutting-edge work going on in wind power across the country. >> is that going to be iowa?
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>> anyone is suspect. we don't want that to happen. >> maybe texas. >> probably both. they are in the forefront. it is in the dialogue i see from my colleagues in texas. i served on the energy and commerce committee and they used to never talk about wind power, i hear them talking a lot more about it. >> the question indicated a debate about the intensity of the world and the carbon energy transition. some of the goals laid out in the green new deal, are somewhat unrealistic. for example, there's a debate about what degree nuclear power should be included. where do you come in on that? do you think the plants at risk
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of shutting down, to get us closer to the 0 carbon rules? >> this is an issue we examine and it is clear nuclear power is a carbon free source and we need to maintain the plants in a safe fashion. if you go back to the state of florida in my neighborhood we had a nuclear plant in crystal river where the electric utility wanted to update it and ratepayers that we will pass advance recovery sees so you will pay in advance for us to fix the nuclear power plant. they broke the plant. ratepayers ended up on the hook for millions of dollars without one kilowatt hour of energy
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produced. that would be money better spent in building solar panel where we have the most potential in the sunshine state or more on energy efficiency. >> would you consider holding a hearing in pennsylvania where the big debate in ohio where that is the state legislature -- >> we have to investigate. we have to take these issues head on and we need everyone's help. there are significant issues on communities that are impacted. and truly addressing the climate crisis is going to be a just transition for many of the communities that are fossil fuel based.
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what will happen, and how to make that just transition? >> the audience is informed on these controversial technologies. the others carbon capture and storage, where you capture carbon from a coal plant or use something like an ethanol plant. in this room at the bait, is that something that is important or is it just a way to further the fossil fuel age which is the main criticism of it? >> it has got to be a balance. in my neck of the woods we have a coal powered plant, if i go on to tampa bay, there is the big tampa electric, the coal-fired power plants, they richly announced they are going to shut down two of the four coal-fired engines and go to combined cycle, that put in more fractal gas.
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on the one hand it seems like they are just guaranteeing fossil fuels burn well on into the future and it would seem a better more cost-effective issue to double down on renewable energy, but those things will have to be brought into balance and the role of the select committee right now today is not to draw those right lines and make hard and fast declarations but we don't have time to waste, to reduce carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 and his audiences we better do better than that. >> what would you vote for? perhaps you did vote.
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>> we've got to be as aggressive as possible. >> 2030 or 2050? >> it is largely what we will be looking at over the next year, and in the meantime, pressing the trump administration to do better and thankfully we have state and local communities and businesses and academic centers in the lead. it is long past time for the united states federal government to have a bold plan of action. >> those asking questions you can vote for questions you like and ask for. this is very much democracy and encourage you to vote. one question i am seeing come up that i want to ask about, given a drive for urgent action, what type of legislation or policy would you
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consider in the committee that can have an impact today. >> a bunch of low hanging fruit, when you stay on track to fuel economy standards for the vehicles, something the automobile manufacturers didn't ask for, the trump administration to throw that out the window. consumers are hungry for those solutions and we have got to begin a more transition to clean electric vehicles. make sure state and local communities are planning for infrastructure deployment and make sure america keeps its edge in the world as the leader in how we manufacture for all vehicles, and speaker pelosi and the democratic caucus very high on rebuilding america and
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a large portion of that will be devoted, and a big portion of that will be planning for electric vehicles, transit and hopefully building across the center. >> 7 votes is the most at this moment. i will ask it. the decarbonization is not only about electricity but also industry and transportation. and raise your hand if you drive an electric car. raise your hand if you drive a gasoline powered car. and who doesn't drive a car at all? that is -- those on live stream, i would say no cars
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cloud wins it which is surprising and reminds us of the bubble we all live in. in washington dc i don't have a car, but i grew up in a tiny little town in a cattle ranch. i have a keen awareness of the impact of gasoline and things like that. what are your thoughts about greening electricity and industry sections without causing too high gasoline prices? >> i think they are exciting. in our lifetime we will see a major transition in the vehicles the we drive. we could spare it on with federal politics, and the infrastructure and deployment, and the pressure on fuel
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economy standards and the transition is not rapidly, the younger generation will be my age, entirely different on how they get around. one of the major problems is air travel. we have to look and make sure we are pouring additional dollars into r&d at our levels in the transportation sector and electricity sector as well. the national labs are the best. i don't think we've done a very good job taking that research
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and deploying it. we have to invest more money to make sure of that. >> we will hear from former congressman cabello to give insight into the republican mind on this issue. how important is bipartisanship to achieving big climate policy? i did a column that showed some forthcoming research that shows very little policy gets through washington without bipartisan support. there were the tax cuts and obamacare but most of the time you need bipartisan support. it you can get big policy support without republican support at how will that happen? and do you hope to get republicans on board? >> if you are going to have legislation, new law and the scale we need to tackle the crisis, we've got to aim to be as bipartisan as possible. i have been around long enough
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to know that is a tall order. i am heartened by the fact when you look at opinion surveys across the country it is fairly bipartisan that they want bold solutions now and it seems my republican friends, they are not reflecting political will. certainly having the president as the denier in chief is no help at all but that will come around shortly. i think, i hear a lot of bipartisan discussion of adaptation, mitigation, the costs are really adding up. carlos and i come from the state of florida and people, their property insurance, their flood insurance is higher, their electric bills are higher because summers are longer and
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harder. so much costs are up but wait a minute, if i had some of this to invest in clean energy technology, if i had a little tax credits put solar panels on the roof and have my neighbors join in and help me, this could go a long way so i don't think we are at the tipping point with republicans in congress right now but i think i am very hopeful we can get there. maybe it is a matter of what do you need for adaptation and mitigation in your communities to make the transition, for clean energy jobs of the future. >> that brings me to the relationship you cultivated on capitol hill. have you found common ground with congressman graves, the republican on your committee?
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adaptation is one question from louisiana. are you hopeful for bipartisan conversations? there was not so much of that. >> i don't know, ranking member graves from louisiana very well, we will spend a lot of time together and districts that faced similar issues with coastal, more wetlands loss out of his district, coastal louisiana, new orleans and just about anywhere else. if that doesn't drive you to the negotiating table i don't know what will. >> alexandria ocasio cortez, the green new deal? >> i was hoping she was going to come on to the committee.
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we haven't talked a lot about policy. i was hoping she would come to the committee and after the speaker appointed her to financial services, and oversight, she really did feel she had her hands full. all the democrats in the caucus, with bold solutions. hr 9 talking about low hanging fruit. hr 9 is the climate action now act that i filed a couple weeks ago that says america is going to keep its commitment we made in the paris climate agreement. we are not going to break promises and demonstrate international leadership.
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we have almost 200 cosponsors. i wish we had some republican cosponsors. i hope you will encourage new members of congress to support that. it was passed out of the energy and commerce committee last week, on thursday and marked up in the foreign affairs committee and likely come to the floor before april. >> do you plan on holding a hearing on the green new deal? >> the select committee on the climate crisis is in essence the committee that will put meat on the bone of the bold and ambitious climate policy. it will be limited likely to energy policy and transition, some others in the green new deal are outside our purview but this is going to be ambitious and i can already
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predict the work product from the select committee that will come out a year from now will have very aggressive goals. >> do you think the green new deal should not include things like the federal jobs guarantee and universal healthcare? >> those are important value statements for what they intended. those are not the primary issues. >> we are not doing the big effort of participating. and democracy you have to vote and given the united states historic opportunity in the climate crisis what you believe is the role in helping resettle climate refugees? >> that is a good question. i hope we can get into examining that. we are in the midst of the worst refugee crisis since world war ii whether you are
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talking about europe or africa or on the doorstep out of central america. and the immigration policy, and the blip on the screen with the administration, america will continue to lead the world and work with allies on these things. >> how do you hope to do things like that in the face of the trump administration? >> kudos to all of the states, local governments, ngos, students who are actively protesting for change, thank you to everyone taking up the slack where leadership at the federal level -- we will be -- really, we cannot tackle the climate crisis unless we have consistent policy from the
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federal level, one that is based on all of your opinions and input from all the stakeholders and based on science. we have the fourth climate, the latest ipcc report. that gives us the goals and framework we need. now we have to get busy on crafting those policies. >> one last audience question. what are your thoughts on carbon removal? you take carbon out of the air as opposed to the smokestack, that is gaining attention in circles that all of us live in. i have likened it to my production for the planet. it is a little bit icky but drives home the point. is this part of the solution? >> i hope we can develop some innovative technology along those lines, whether that is the best place to put it,
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private-sector entrepreneurs, probably the case for now the private sector will lead on that. america is the largest funder of basic science. all of that feeds into technological advances and innovation and we have to keep those -- >> one last lightning round question, something i will be asking anybody else on stage, a head start on how you will answer it. make the following prediction come in 5 years congress will impact major climate policy. >> yes. >> thank you for your time. [applause] >> do you have anything? >> i look forward to hearing about the hearings.
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congressman cabello, thank you for your time here as well. we got a brief bio but as a reminder he was the author of the first big carbon tax climate policy bill introduced by a republican in a decade and founded the bipartisan climate solutions caucus. he lost his race last year due to a lot of other issues but if you ask those people who hate carbon taxes they will quickly attribute it to that. one thing i remember about his race that shows you the nature of politics, and advertising, the democratic moment with dirty coal mining. it shows the imports of climate change initiatives for the district that are the tip of florida.
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the caucus is mostly not with your publicly. can you tell us without violating private conversations, would love to get an inside look at what you are hearing and where the republican caucus is. >> thank you for this opportunity and i want to thank wri for having me. kathy is gone but i will say being from florida it is wonderful that we have a floridian, wonderful and appropriate we have a floridian carrying the select committee. we are light years away from where we are at the end of the last congress and the last congress is a lot of work on this issue. carbon pricing bill and the climate solutions caucus to have 45 republicans and 45 democrats, despite all those
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successes, a lot of republicans were getting to the point where they were acknowledging the threat, the seriousness of the issue which is important. what you are seeing now is the evolution has continued and republicans are starting to not just talk about solutions, but a few of them as we saw earlier have actually proposed solutions. i understand for those of us who get how urgent and important this is, are inpatient, we might be frustrated, but thinking about congress and the way congress typically functions and evolves this is actually significant. we are in a much better place today than we were just a few weeks ago. i think you are going to see over the coming month more and more republicans take risks so to speak, on this issue because the greatest fear any member of congress has is to have a
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serious primary challenge. when i say risks, political risks. a lot of very conservative districts, it is hard for those that are exclusively concerned about reelection, it is hard to take these steps but you have some leading indicators, people like lamar alexander, like matt gates, the most conservative florida district and is leading in his own way on this issue so it is hard to say where exactly the conference is today but it's easy and obvious to say the conference is moving in the right direction. >> the emerging republican position is to support innovation. we saw that with the green real deal, what he called it.
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and senator alexander, innovation was the key term. innovation doesn't fall from the sky. you need money or market incentive or an economist would argue both but do you think innovation by itself is enough to make the difference with climate change that you think there should be? >> i don't but i do think these republican proposals, number one, when they talk about innovation and r&d that means the federal government has to spend resources, invest in mitigating climate change, this is significant for house and senate republicans. what is most relevant is you can see the beginning of what a bipartisan agreement would look like and republicans really owning this innovation, in position, can describe that as
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a win in a potential bipartisan agreement and on the other side of that, there might be carbon pricing or other policies that will help perhaps fund the research and development and it could be a fiscally responsible bill as well so innovation alone is not enough. some of the proposals your thing on the far left are not realistic, not plausible. where we meet in the middle is what matters most. >> a reminder to the audience and those online, if you keep questions, and vote for questions, we have very few votes. i'm encouraging good democracy. you made a comment about far left policies. do you mean the green new deal? >> certainly. the green new deal is not a plan to reduce carbon emissions.
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it is a liberal vision for our country's economy with climate policy as an accessory. the great value in the green new deal, the great contribution is it has elevated this issue. everyone is talking about it. the other great contribution it has made is congressional republicans must always have something they can oppose and the green new deal is certainly made for congressional republicans to oppose. the good news is that after a republican expresses opposition to the green new deal the next question from good reporters like you is okay, what are you for? that is what republicans are in search of. the fact they are searching for that, some have already found some answers, is very good news and an indicator that we are approaching or at least moving
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towards a bipartisan solution. >> a lot of questions look at what is behind this historical opposition from republican oppositions. do you think it is ideology, or any climate solution requires some sort of larger government role? as this person asks is it millions of dollars to the fossil fuel energy invested into cycling the debate? what is it that is preventing republicans, and another thing, putting on my devils advocate hat for this event, one of their concerns about higher cost of energy which is a legitimate question but there are a lot of other issues including lobbying influence. what is it, what power, how are things going to change to release the opposition? >> i have my theory.
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decades ago the question of environmental policy is a scientific or issue of science and over time became a question of culture and i believe this started in the wake of the 2000 election which at the time was the most contentious in our country's history. not anymore. after that election former vice president gore became the face of the environmental movement. he also made a number of predictions that didn't pan out and i wish -- i don't criticize the former vice president for his work on the issue. it is very noble and should be applauded. i wish when he embarked on that journey he would have done it with a republican partner
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because this issue is too important for anyone to try to own entirely. you have to share it if you want good policy. after that election a lot of republicans reached the conclusion that if al gore is for something we must all oppose it and over the years many different interest groups reinforced that idea and that's how we got to the point where we were three or four years ago which i think was rock-bottom. when i got to congress, three or four house republicans were willing to even say the words climate change and we started the process of the politicizing or undoing the polarization that had resulted and that i think was born out of vice president gore's activism which again i don't criticize, i just think it offers a good explanation for how we ended up in such an unfortunate place.
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>> good follow-up to that question is a question from the audience. how are republicans going to credibly change their message on climate change when they've campaigned for decades on bad-faith arguments? i want to piggyback on that to offer my own twisted version of that question which is if your goal is to address climate change to you want to demonize the party or do you want to work with whoever you can? how do you balance that with a history of not having good faith on this issue? >> that is a good question and i think for at least some republicans they probably cannot turn back because they made some pretty definitive statements over the years. but when i read the op-ed by ranking member walden, former
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chairman upton. and representative shimkus, i said he is an obvious example, one of those three kind of reversing the position they held a decade ago. for some it will be difficult or impossible. and republicans in congress don't have a long history of votes and statements on this issue and are more free to adopt responsible position and you've seen that over the last few months, congressman gonzalez of ohio who made positive statements in the assigned committee, congressman walt of florida and others.
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some of this will be the product of a new republicans coming into the congress because this divide is in many ways generational and we see that in polling. a lot of young republicans, gen x republicans believe we need to act on climate. >> the question i'm seeing permeates throughout the questions online that i also have on my list is separation between acknowledging climate change is real and the problem and something should be done, supporting the broad idea of innovation, very few republicans supporting carbon pricing. my conversations on and off the record with republicans and their staffers is too far for them. one question quickly is you think carbon pricing is an essential part of the equation and if yes why do you think
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these members are not going to support better do you think they will change their position? >> i think carbon pricing is a natural component of any bipartisan agreement so i can understand why a lot of republicans who i know from conversations are comfortable or at least open to the idea of carbon pricing, why they don't want to adopt that because that is a potential trade-off with democrats. if you want to build a fiscally responsible bill which theoretically is a priority for republicans carbon pricing is a wonderful pay for which gives you a double benefit. the revenue and accelerated reduction in carbon emissions so i don't expect there to be a rush of republicans to carbon pricing but it is a component many republicans could support as part of a compromise because
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it is a market-based approach which recognizes the real cost in the economy, and it are now ready today at a sign of price to it and trust american consumers to do the rest of the work and another major concern and legitimate concern for republicans is when we sign these agreements we actually keep our word and other countries don't and that puts our economy at a disadvantage. carbon pricing with a border adjustment element doesn't require you to trust anyone because i guarantee you the chinese and indians and everyone else is going to want to continue doing business with our country and if you adjust for carbon pricing at the border, it will be months before they adopt their own carbon pricing scheme to be at parity with the united states. i just think even if a lot of
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republicans don't embrace it immediately it is a policy solution many will be comfortable with. >> another quick question for those in the audience, raise your hand if you think carbon pricing should be part of the solution to addressing climate change. the biggest majority we have had so far. carbon prices, you do, the public doesn't so much. at least that is the evidence recently. very blue state, most of it. voting down a proposal for a lot of reasons, into fighting it. anecdotal evidence meaning talking to my family who they acknowledge climate change is real and is concerned about about my driver -- my sister drives 80 miles to work and is concerned about gasoline prices. how do you address these
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concerns by people who have to drive cars? we all live in a bubble and should realize that. how do you address these concerns? at the heart of it, it will cause some increase in prices. how do you address that? >> i think what a lot of voters want is fairness and they will not be taking advantage of. and working on my legislation taking a year to produce and we specifically thought about people like your sister, which does not come naturally to me, a fairly urban area. we know americans live in rural parts of the country cannot afford the fuel efficient vehicles a lot of people in urban areas can't and they have
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to drive more, they live in rural parts of the country. what we did our bill was repeal the gasoline tax as a way to say we want to be fair, we are not going to double tax the lowest income people in our country and that was a way to show fairness or to be fair. there were other proposals to return all the revenues in the form of a dividend. that is transparent, honest, simple to understand. i don't know how popular it will be in congress because members of congress like to spend money and if it comes in and out it is no fun, it is like social security, and nothing exciting about that. it is another fair proposal. we also took so many in the coal industry in the legislation because it is true and sometimes people on the left come off sounding insensitive like we got to get rid of coal. there are a lot of people and
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families and towns, and if you want to get closer to solutions, that -- i think that any bill should not be characterized or defined by the pricing component. i tell people my bill is an infrastructure bill, tax reform bill and revenue neutral doesn't add to the deficit because we price carbon and this is not a bill that was seriously considered by either chamber but puts on the shelf something people can look back to. >> republicans, a political question. how do we overcome the risk of being primary? no one can expect members to take a suicide mission.
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how do you blend the politics, bipartisanship in congress, how do you face the risk of being primary? >> bottom line is you have to lead, you have to own the issues, have to get in front of them, explain to people this is increasingly a local issue with you are a farmer or living in a coastal community or depend on a scheme for your livelihood. this is a local issue and it will affect people in their everyday lives and you go out and explain that to people. in south florida it is easier because we are so at risk. city of miami beach involves a sophisticated pump system, the city of miami did is $200 million bond issue to deal with title flooding and other sea
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level rise related challenges. those are the things you have to .2, this is a challenge, a problem we face as a society. we have that action to be fair, it is reasonable and it must be bipartisan. >> my last question for you. in 5 years congress will have passed a big climate policy. >> the answer is yes. i will tell you why. every factor. every force that influences this debate, was pushing in the right direction, whether it was the media and growing coverage of this issue. i was on a meet the press show at the end of last year, the first sunday morning show entirely dedicated to this
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issue. you have changing politics. a lot of younger voters demanding action both republican and democrat and independent. you have forces, people reaching out to each other having conversations. and the real-life effects of climate change are waking people up to this reality. every single factor you can imagine with the exception of the white house -- is pushing in the right direction. when i was in congress the last two years a lot of the president's comments and actions and pushed republicans to join the climate solutions caucus, to be identified with comments and policy proposals but that inadvertently ended up helping us in our mission. >> thank you, i invite the
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panelists to get that set up. [applause]
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>> thank you to everyone tuning in online, thank you for sticking around. i want to thank our affiliates on the screen and i want to introduce some briefly here. policy director of the union of concerned scientists and next to her marion hicks, beyond coal campaign, the director of the beyond coal campaign at the sierra club and the us director
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of the world resources institute and next to him karen palmer, resources for the future, senior fellow and director of the future of power initiatives. thank you for being here today. i hope you enjoyed the interviewed and lawmakers. a brief couple minutes to respond to a question about what you have been focusing on and i will start with you. and with existing nuclear reactors, to what degree are you comparing the message about conveying messages about nuclear power to activists and politicians pushing the green new deal and other progressive climate policies? >> the union of concerned scientists has for a long time, and one of the things we try to highlight, the nuclear power
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dilemma, unfortunately, nuclear power plant in the united states are coming under market pressure primarily because of the low cost of natural gas as well as increasing energy efficiency and slowing cost of renewables. we are seeing nuclear plants retiring, and be replaced by natural gas. and i am we have a third of nuclear plants the right now are pressured to retire and if they all were to retire by as much as 6% due to emissions in the power sector so from a climate perspective that is a real challenge as we point out the need for careful approach that tries to keep these plants
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online through assuring they are operating safely, not being given unlimited, endless amounts of money but open their financial books and give money in accordance with what is needed to stay online. .. online. that to us is having this approach, prioritizing zero carbon and it's a core solution to the climate challenge. >> as a reminder to the audience, if you're run please be writing down your questions and voting for them. also please join in on the conversation on twitter. some of you have already been doing that but please keep it up. maryom anne, your beyond coal campaign has the goal of a limited coal within 11 years while the green new deal goal of
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history calling to eliminate all carbon in that same timeframe. are you would there's an increasing gap between the rhetoric and goals and reality of what's possible? >> thank you very much for all your great reporting and thanks wri for having me. it's an honor to be here. the sierra club, one of our niches in an environment of movement is we have democratically elected board of directorsro as elected our 3 million members and supporters, and they've adopted the goal of getting all fossil fuels off the power grid by 2030. and so the beyond coal campaign has been working for over a decade to first stop a wave of 200 new coal coal plants that were proposed during the george w. bush years, which again, with many, many partner organizations, with many grassroots folks all of the control word about climate change, water pollution, air pollution, public health, first stop this new coal plantss and then turned to the existing
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fleet of coal plants and i live in west virginia so i very much take to heart the comments about doing this in a way that doesn't leak people behind. that's an important part of the green new deal, but we are at the point now where we have over half the coal plants in the united states, 287, announced to retire. given the urgency of the climate crisis and the pollution becomet comes not just from coal but also gas extraction and production and burning, we are working in earnest to try to get electric grid in this country powered with renewable energy by 2030. given the progress we've made over the past decade, yes, it's a lot to go but i think it's also possible. . >> there is no doubt that the
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gas revolution created a lot of changes in the electric sector for sure and created a lot of competition for both. reality right now, is that we have a race in front of us for who will own america's energy in the future. and we're doing everything we can to make sure renewable energy and storage goes on tradewinds that race because we had the biggest change in how we make a last electricity in america right now and the biggest change since industrial revolution brinkley. it is a decision being made at states, cities, state decision-makers, all the folks that are part of those decisions. the future is up for grabs and were doing everything we can to make sure that renewable energy grabs the future. >> what would you say is a blind spot in the debate of decarbonization with the electricity sector but also perhaps the blind spots in transportation and industrial
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sector? >> i don't know if it's a blind spot, but one of the things that we need to consider is as for decarbonization the sector we will probably see a significant increase or need to see an increase in total electricity band. as we apply transportation, buildings and industry. if we could see a 50% increase or more depending how successful we are. but even with that, studies show that transportation and buildings and industry will need more electricity. that could be a good thing. but it is something we have to plan for. that probably means -- one of the big points might be on transmission.
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as we go to more renewables and more electricity to decarbonized not just the power sector but the entire economy. will the more transmission. there will be a lot of issues around siding, and new technology that can help with that if we use the d.c. lines that are cost-effective different underground than above. that would really help avoid some of the fights that we are already seeing. but those are issues we need to bring into the conversation. >> karen, how do you say the price of carbon is any price on policy? >> i think it's crucial to climate policy because i think we talk a lot about the different technologies that will need to come on board and need to decarbonized. it is very hard to predict what the solutions are going to be so having a price on carbon is a way to for days and incentive
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into produce at all margins wherever they occur. having said that, it also provides revenue that can be used to address various concerns coming up. the impact on consumers as well. it creates a body of revenue either through a carbon tax or trade. i also think that we should not necessarily think that that is going to be specific sufficient. particularly giving the ambitious of what we need to do and how quickly we need it done. that we will need programs related to research and development and we will probably also need other types of policies to encourage technology in a carbon tax can provide revenue for achieving those goals as well. >> the good thing about having one microphone for all four of them is that they cannot talk over each other.
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[laughter] i think cnn should employ that strategy. the question for all of you, we touched on previous conversations, but a question on carbon technology. former vice president al gore told me at the un clinic in poland last december that is nonsense. do you agree with that and why or why not? >> i don't think it's nonsense, i think it's important to not rule out any technology and provide incentives to these mechanisms. i think that because there is such a bold challenge right now that we need to keep a lot of options on the table and i would not want to rule it out at this point. >> i agree with karen on that. what i would add is that carbon capture was initially discussed
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a decade or so ago. the focus was on coal and keeping the coal industry alive and anything away from coal. that's very unlikely and if you had a technology neutral of carbon tax or new standard, and that the zero carbon technologies compete with each other, we would expect renewable fees of vast majority in the u.s. electricity generation. but the last 5%, 20%, depends on economics. it is very valuable to have a technology that is this possible. that is where carbon capture can play a important role. it suggests it will likely be on natural gas. the other place for carbon capture could be crucial as for carbon maximu removal.
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when it started three years ago which we should've we would be need to talk about removing it from the atmosphere. now we have to have this conversation. there's a lot that we can do when natural climate solutions but there's only so much land in the world and we could kee -- is going to be a significant role for removing and capturing. >> a couple of thoughts on that from my perspective. there are a lot of other problems associated with policy development that carbon capture does not address. if you're the mom of a child with asthma living your coal plant, or fear of coal ash related led and mercury in your
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water, a pipeline threatening waste in your drinking water, there are many reasons that people are opposed to fossil fuel and supportive of renewable energy. that is addressing the carbon problem that it doesn't address. mountains being blown up in appalachia for example. that is one factor. the other, we have utilities around the country who are doing rrsps, nipsco, indiana, and are finding that new solar research, new wind is cheaper than running existing coal plants. so utility in indiana is going to retire is coal plants and read replace them entirely wit
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with -- the cost of carbon capture in this world without affordable abundant energy. i think from the sierra club view we will focus on advocacy dollars in resources into doubling down on renewables. >> i agree with the earlier sentence. carbon capture could have a role i think the challenge is when we get into this magical thinking arena where we think it is going to solve our problems. the first solution is wrapping up in any energy efficiency. a lot of renewable systems pointed out energy efficiency. the car sector in particular is one that is right for these solutions. in fact we might need carbon capture in the storage. we really need it and that industrial specter because it might be hard to.
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we have so many cost-effective solutions, double digits, and renewable energy and et cetera, battery technology, there is no reason that we shouldn't drive is first possible to get to net zero deploy these resources. we must invest in making carbon capture and storage more cost-effective, bringing down the cost of the new role for sector dollars and initiatives to help drive down the cost of technology if it is to be a solution. >> will question from the audience that leads to a related question i have. most of the discussions here today have been on the u.s. currently focus on domestic action. what did the u.s. do to support developing countries. that is a good way to discuss as well here. the marginal cost of adding when
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solar is cheaper than a coal plant but in pieces like south east asia, electricity is ramping up soft. i did a story about john kerry's effort to get ne vietnam off co. there's two people billion people living in southeast asia. the may reverse that, there's 350 million people that live here in america have six times as much electricity than the 2 billion people that love and southeast asia. i would argue that people need to have electricity first and foremost in the next question, former secretary of state john kerry, heidi make that as clean as possible. . . .
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and get access to clean forms of energy where possible. we know that air and water pollution are killing millions around the world. there's lots of near-term reasons in addition to climb to want to move away from fossil fuel dependency. what u.s. should i be doing is get the world on natural gas which is where we seem to be headed. we're also becoming, where number one exporter of oil. we're also foisting this on the rest of the world. those types of actions are not
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in the direction of the transition period the u.s. and other rich countries, with a great deal of responsibility because in many of these places the contribution to global warming emissions has been so small, and yet places like mozambique that was just hit by a terrible flood, these countries are i really struggld with the and packs so we have to invest in protecting communitie communities. the use can be a leader and we should be a leader on this. >> i agree with the comments about not getting the world hooked on gas. i will just add i've had the tremendous honor and privilege of meeting the leading coal activists for most of the countries and continents around the world where they're facing either ways of the proposed new coal plants are pollution from existing coal plants.
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you name the country, you name the continent, even in the most difficult and oppressive political regimes, people are standing up to the coal industry and its incredibly heroic and inspiring. for all the same reasons people and that if you're because of air pollution, water pollution, climate change but also a lot of these countries get the added effect of the economics that in india, for example, big investments in coal which are not quickly getting passed over by cheap renewable energy are suddenly coming back politically to have caused for those who pushed for these big investments of public resources in coal that now cannot compete even before they turn the switch on. i think the dynamics around the world for shifting very quickly and there are a lot of folks who could see now in europe and u.s. of the parts of the world that there is another solution and is not only clean but it's cheaper and they are racing to that
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solution. >> i agree. one nice things about being at wri it is truly a global organization. half our staff are outside the united states. we have operations in china, india, brazil, indonesia. the conversation really is changing. one of the projects that we co-lead is new climate economy work which shows on a global basis clean energy transition offers a $26 trillion economic growth opportunity. the conversation, it still within the u.n. circle, you get a little bit of developing countries because the problem, you should pay to clean it up. but in country the conversation is much more about gee, actually a low carbon path is the only path to economic development. for example, internation like vietnam is one of the countries that has been pre-committed to
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coal. we released a report based from the new climate economy collaborative in indonesia that really flips that on its head and shows the low carbon path is the better, more rapid path to economic development. that's the case that we have to make globally -- >> does that include natural gas? >> no. i mean, there may be a role for natural gas as a transition fuel but really this is focused on transition that is consistent with 1.5-degree target, which means if your using metric as it's not for long. >> i guess the one thing i would add is that in the rural context in really, countries in the early stages of developing, i think there's opportunities for lessons from the distributed
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energy movement that's going on here for ways you could deploy renewables in the context and so to bypass the big investment in transition that would be needed to do with bringing the coal-fired, gas fired power to folks. you have perhaps events in places that are not elected by jeff of relatively low expectations about reliability, perhaps some power is better and things, innovations with respect to storage and things can accompany those investments. >> a lightning rod question for the panel. to what degree, yes or no, do you think natural gas a transition fuel? >> yes. >> i think at this point it's a detour. i think we built, and your skull of a natural gas infrastructure we're going to need, and it's time to start switching to zero carbon sources.
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>> no. >> not in the u.s. i think as dan says, we have built up what we need. some of this will need to stand line made with ccs but uncontrolled natural gas has no rule in 1.5 the world. >> you said no in the u.s. but may be in other countries? >> i think a very short transition period unfortunately we've not left room for transition in countries that don't have the resources the u.s. and other rich nations have. with gobbled up that carbon space. so if that is a transition and needs to be a short one. we in the ritual need to grade the space for the transition in the carbon budget. >> came and wanted to say something. >> one question that i'm uncertain about is the role of biogas in this transition period and so i would just add that into the mix of it in terms of that being a source of gas that
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might make sense. >> one very popular audience question is of course political related. you can't ever leave this town, such a politically driven ten. we still avoid your nap before the election, but it's always talking about. that question is if you could submit one climate related question and we can save for the purposes of this question a democratic primary debate, what would it be? >> what is your -- what is your position on -- what is your vision for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and confronting the climate challenge, and what role does the price on carbon plate in that vision? >> watcher plan getting to net zero emissions before the middle of the century? >> what's your plan for getting all fossil fuels off the power grid by 2030 and providing hs transition for workers and
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communities that event historically dependent on fossil fuels? >> what's your vision for a bold climate that is also equitable taking into account the fact that for many frontline communities that aboard a disproportionate burden of our pollution from our dependence on fossil fuels as well as communities that will need help with the just transition as a move away from from them? >> the green new deal which we haven't talked about that much, i think it's good. we don't want it to take all the oxygen but, of course, it is emerging as the default progressive democratic candidate position on climate change, even though it's pretty much whatever visit i of the beholder. another lightning round question for the panel. on a scale of one to ten, one been your head, and then you love it, how do you feel about the green new deal given what we know about it today?
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>> i think it sparked an incredible amount of conversation here in d.c. pixel on that score i would give it at least an eight. the details are yet to come and the details are very important especially fun at bi-partisanly to get some of those pieces quickly. to me in terms of a vision and the conversation it sparked, high point, but now the hard work begins. >> for me personally i would say ten. the way i think about the green new deal is we have to make this transition. we have to tackle the climate crisis and we're going to do it in a way that we don't think anybody behind. and everybody gets to share andn the benefits of the clean energy economy. and i'm so excited by all the energy behind it, and the fact it has finally put this issue back on the front burner here in washington. >> i'm going to agree with rachel. i think i will pick her, told
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agree with the comment. >> are you taking an eight? >> i picking an eight for the reasons she gives. one thing i would add is added to the conversation, this notion that our ambition should not necessarily be limited in terms of public investment, there's a big debate could be had about what role it plays, how big a role it plays, but it's what it says, while a great carbon pricing should be a key component of a comprehensive solution, the green new deal conversation sort of said maybe we shouldn't limit our ambition in terms of what the public investment is to the revenue that you would get from carbon pricing. i think that's a really useful note basically. we're facing an existential crisis, we need to spend what we need to spend to solve it. lots of debates to be had about
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how this plays out but that really helped reshape the debate. >> so i'll stop start by sayinn it was a teaching assistant and grad school i was doing as a hard greater sum going to give it a seven and going to say that i share a lot of accolades in terms of bringing this issue to the fore and getting a lot of conversations started. everybody gets asked this question by reporters who works in this area and you have to have an opinion about the issues and that's important for our elected leaders and the rest of us. i also think it has a little bit of lyrical brilliance in terms of the other issues, bringing other issues that people really care about into the mix and sort of i think about those, now,, think that having a job and health care, those all important issues and it helps to build a
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coalition because i also agree we are going to need to bring the public along. it's not what i think the responsibility of our elected leaders to deal with the quite technical issues associated with designing a climate policy. it's also important to listen to other people around the country, and that's part of what this new proposal and vision engaging people on. >> it sounds like you think it's good the green new deal has the component of universal healthcare and federal job security, correct? >> for a conversation. do i think that the policies coming out of the committees are going to do with those issues? not initially. they are important for society but it's important for getting the conversation going and having it be broader. i think that the aspirations that are in there about getting particular point by particular points in time are ambitious. they are more ambitious than the
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state of california. they are more ambition than what sweden is doing and they're starting from a more renewable . come starting point. but i think it's useful to have ambitious goals and it's getting the conversation could. >> i wanted jump on something rachel said, , this idea bipartisanship. the green new deal is taking off among democrats and progressives. i think i saw at iowa caucus bold account 85% of democrats in that state support it. there was another poll by yale the found republicans supported it as well as democrats. take that pole with a grain of salt because it only included parts of the proposal. at least in washington the green new deal has become deeply polarizing. august and karbala headed at that as well and kathy castor did to a lesser extent. i think the inclusion -- brick carvalho -- representative curbelo, the ambition in the proposal also has contributed to
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this polarization. what are some ideas you guys have for trying to make this a bipartisan issue? i guess that's a twofold question did not want to think any republicans to address climate change? if yes, how do you hope to get that? if no, how do you hope to get around that? governor inslee has talked about getting rid of the filibuster, things like that. >> so i do think you need bipartisan support for for a py because i think it needs to last a long time and there's a lot of political ups and downs in washington. something that has by partisan support is probably likely to be bigger and broader and more sustainable, i think, going forward.
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i don't quite know what the recipe for bipartisanship is when the democrats have a plan and the republicans don't. and i think in this upcoming election that's what voters will be looking for is the plan, actions. the urgency especially for young people, especially for people who felt the impacts of climate change which people are now feeling or people are living with fossil fuel pollution is only going to escalate. i don't know this is a generation of folks have wait around for ever for the of the site have a plan.
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i believe completely this has to happen in a bipartisan way. earlier we heard them .2 avenues of bipartisanship. there's very white agreement around renewable energy, clean energy in this country whether it's a red state blue state. that's a great evident to move forward some of these new technologies like energy storage could be real avenues of moving forward. climate resilience and adaptation unfortunately the impacts of climate change already around us, billions of dollars with the damage around the country. people are looking for solutions. i think this is an obvious place for bipartisan work together to get thing i would say, i'm not a beltway insiders have just say out and the rest of the country the issues that people are thinking about our health, jobs. these are connected to climate. we can have an ambitious climate policy that is about creating jobs as we transition away from fossil fuels, taking care of
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communities. we can be wrapping up forms of energy that are not as polluting. that means a great deal to communities, predominately committees of cold and low-income communities that bear the brunt of pollution. there is an appetite out there in the country raised on the daily lived experiences to move us in this direction. our leaders hopefully will finally deleting the constituents based on what they want versus the tribal loyalties that seem to sit inside the beltway. >> that's a good segue to audience questions i've also been having on my list. one is how do we make sure decarbonization is just? i think your we have two to make competing forces. get impacts of climate change itself hit for people and often people of -- at the same time energy costs also impact the same people.
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how do you ensure that this is done in a way that impacts those people least? does it require policies like federal job security and things like that or is a way to do it without wrapping it up with all these other huge policies? >> let's remember the original new deal was not one policy that everything package and passed overnight. it was a decade-long enterprise and the remaining aspects to building support for different pieces of it. i don't think anyone here is naïve to think everything in the green new deal resolution is going to be packaged into one policy. but what is true that our country is simultaneously dealing with the climate crisis as well as real crisis in inequality. and we see it in different ways around the country weather comes to health outcomes or job outcomes. and yes, we can have different
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approaches that manage to get us to not just the climate safe future but a better future where all americans can participate in this clean energy economy, this climate resilient economy. this is part of the broader struggle that our country is experiencing now and a number of issues where for the first time in a long while our people are waking up and recognizing you know what, the civil rights movement isn't over. we didn't just passed a bill and everything became good overnight. we still as a country are grappling with long legacies and real implications in people's lives. that includes where people live right now and exposure to climate impacts, as well as their ability to cope with those impacts because of either not having the resources or having other challenges like health challenges, et cetera. so really we are looking for solutions that don't just talk
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climate change in the corner but solve it in an equitable way that brings along society with it. that's according to get in the report as well where the idc says records this is not just about the technological fix. this is about the social economic transition and transformation. that's the vision. we need politicians that will be bold enough to lay out the vision of the future, and people really want to move toward. >> him him when we mentioned earlier the partisan nature in washington i think you look to the state and use different story. illinois but now there's a piece of legislation moving there called the future energy jobs act that would really increase the states and patient on renewable energy, put on a very old and rapid path towards the carbonized the power sector and it was created a coalition of environmental justice frontline labor department organizations and has very solid real policy
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components about making sure that the clean energy economy benefits committees of comfort that fossil fuel workers have a transition pathway. california the seat of los angeles just made the decision it's not going to reinvest in refurbishing three big crack gas plant. was to spend that $2 billion on renewable energy distributed energy, can be sold, a host of solutions that are both designed to be clean and just and address racial and economic disparities. i think we're seeing about the very concrete, real forward motion on this from the states which is the same place where the senior leadership to retire 287 coal plants in this country and i think those places are giving us a taste of the fact -- it's not just possible but it actually builds power, builds
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coalitions and creates momentum in a places with her doing the hard work of figuring these things out. >> i was going to add actually jew of examples from california. i told a great we need to look to the states to see how this can work. in california the carbon pricing system which is a cap-and-trade system requires that 35% of the revenue from selling pollution allowances have to be invested in projects that benefit disadvantaged communities and at least 25% directly in those communities. also along with the reauthorization of the cap-and-trade program from 2020-2030 which passed a very ambitious program to specifically focus on localized air pollution so that were making sure we are addressing the most polluted neighborhoods at the same time we're lowering overall greenhouse gas emissions.
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often that means focusing on diesel emissions, in particular freight corridors or focusing on places that have been in the backyard of energy generation in the past and moving to cleaner sources. it's a question of very intentionally building those kinds of policies into the framework that can address those issues. >> on your point about the bipartisanship issue, and in illinois, for example, it's a good example of how it has been bipartisanship on keeping open the nuclear power plants there. i think the sierra club has been supportive of those efforts at least at the state level. the question again for the panel, lightning round to the extent possible. do you support, generally speaking, keeping open and
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passing policy to keep open economically struggling but otherwise operating safely nuclear power plants such as three-mile island in pennsylvania? >> i think that one way to do that that would be cost effective would be to expand the renewable portfolio standards policies to be broader and more technology neutral, , like a cln energy standard type of approach. the federal level sender smith is getting me to propose something like that. and i think -- senator smith. it's a way of fighting an incentive that will encourage those plans to stay online if there operated cost effectively. i think that would be the mechanism perhaps by which that could happen. lots of ways you could design those policies.
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>> i'm going to agree with that. also note caucuses on his working on house version of the bills i think that's a very interesting proposal that could have a lot of benefits -- congressman lieu hann. we really have benefited a lot from even the concern site does work this route report. their report on nuclear dilemma is really extremely helpful,, well done, very carefully researched. so basically defer to them on that. we do not take positions on any individual plants or state policies around that. >> at the midget mention of ase sierra club is democratically run, board of directors elected by all members. part of our energy policy is opposition to nuclear power so that's the organizational position of the sierra club. we also have lots of chapters folks dealing with competent situations around state
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legislation about whole package of energy decisions. and so we look to those folks for the leadership, whether it's illinois facilities of the folks who have been in the state houses for decades, who are the ones having to read every line of the legislation figure out a path forward. we try to have a process for those folks when dealing with those are decisions that respects the local leadership on the ground. >> yes. for plants that are operating safely as a first-line solution, and robust price on carbon oh low carbon electricity standard would be the ultimate way to go. in the absence of federal policy we are seeing states stepping in with solution. our own view on that is these should that be unlimited and amounts of money in terms of time. they should be done on a case by case basis for the at the safety
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record of the plant. there should be incentive for an efficiency and renewables as well as for just transition for workers who might be working in those plans with it to retire. ultimately the equity piece of it is important because the cost of keeping the online are often being passed through to ratepayers and so there are some real equity dimensions of handling the challenge in that way, especially for low income or fixed income households. so we do need to take the aspects into account as well in our current climate where as we saw to our analysis in the nuclear dilemma report, the plants that are retiring earlier being replaced by fossil fuel generation sources, natural gas primarily. so from a climate perspective that is a very, very challenging situation. >> sans just looking to the questions question fantasy a lot of
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commonality come to what extent 100% renewable electricity here in the united states is possible. click yes or no come to think it's possible? >> 100% zero carbon, yes. 0% renewable i think we can get up to 90% plus but it's alaska -- the last mythic it's challenge. force is not a one and done think by 2050. 2050. but directly in with climate change is, the work of this entire century. so maybe not by 2050 but that's not a reason to go it out over time. we have storage technologies improving, et cetera. for 25th i would say very close not 100%. >> i would say yes it's possible, recognizing that if we only know how to get 80% of the way they are now bit by the time we get to that 80% there will have been so much innovation along the way that last 20 and
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the last 10% will come into focus. that's been my experience working in electric sector when i started people said get half of our electricity from coal, it's always been that way, it's always going to be that way. if we change that everyone's lights will go out and have one's electricity bills will skyrocket. here we are, getting less than a quarter of our electricity uncle this this year in just ten years from have to a quarter electricity bills have state look at everyone's lights have stayed on at a think we would see innovation in that last 10% that we close the gap. >> that's largely because of natural gas, the recent white prices have gone up. i was just an abstract and their prices are all of the map partly because they don't have natural gas. >> will again, i think also again you have excel, you have these utilities that are finding when you do rfps for wind and solar with storage that's come in cheaper than the cost of an existing coal plants. i think that was true to think
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that is changing under our feet and we just as you know cross that tipping point last year when new renewables became cheaper than running an existing coal plant. that's new and those are some new economic wins at outback and some new momentum we have the we didn't have before that we can now take advantage of. >> so i say yes, it is technically feasible but unlikely to be economically sensible. the last, we do know how much, 20, ten, maybe only 5%, it would depend on the region, is very difficult to get to zero carbon that way. to me the goal is zero carbon and that's what we should focus on. >> i think the fact we're going to need to electrify some other sectors of the economy, some other energy and in particular transportation, baby space heating and water and space cooling affords an opportunity because those consumption of electricity are things that could be scheduled or
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incentivized to happen at times when renewables are abundant and thereby raise the value of those renewables in the marketplace and deal with some of the intermittency issues. kelly get to 100%? i don't know but i think we can get further if we tried to work on providing incentive for that demand to happen when renewables are going to be abundant. >> here's a question with the most votes so far and it's related to psychology so good on you, anonymous, for being relevant geographically speaking. but, in fact, this huge body of resources on psychosis, change and fasten if you want to go into a rabbit hole. the question is how to make climate change relatable and more important, easily understandable to break down barriers? >> well, i think it's starting to happen with all of the
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effects that are happening around, things like sea level rise, more frequent flyers, more frequent storms. those are things people can relate to -- fires. as kathy castor said earlier your insurance bills are starting to go up and i think that as those stories start to permit on social media or in other forums, that that will help make the potential threats associate with the change in climate more real to people and that's part of, part of how it happens. >> not an expert. >> two things. catherine hale is a climate scientist who just gave a ted talk about this. basically said the number one most important thing you can do is talk about it actually, just talk about it with your families and people in your social circles. that alone can start, you know, percolating out broadly amongst our networks. and who's going to be talking to
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us about it is our kids. my daughter is eight. she just participated in the climate strike. she stood up and gave her first speech of her life and it wasn't even in town. i didn't put her up to it. she's worried about her future pictures worried about the polar bears. she's worried about, you know, the weather. and i think if we are not talking to it, a lot of peoples kids are talking to them about. i think your site with these climate strikes and that could be maybe the thing that actually gets people talking about in a way we haven't before. >> i think it comes down to people seeing it in their daily lives and, unfortunately, now it is touching peoples daily lives in so many ways with these extreme events that we are seeing. i agree with mary anne. my kids, my son is an elementary school, my daughter is in middle school. they completely relate. their generation is exactly what this is about. they know what's at stake, and
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that's why they're out in the streets on strike. they cannot understand why the adults have taken on this problem and dealt with it. so maybe relating to climate change is an old people problem. maybe we just got our generation, it's a generational divide because of the young people completely relate to it, and the implications it has for the future. >> do think a lot of people who raise their hands think the don't drive cars, you're probably on the younger side, younger than 30, maybe even younger than 3025. i often written about how climate change is fundamentally a different phenomenon than, say, gay rights or gay marriage and things like that. one big reason for that is you don't have immediate, if we get a price on carbon tomorrow we lock in some which warming effects are going to happen. there's this idea we accept big
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change in now, relatively speaking, for any more change impact later. another psychology related question. how will you convince people to make big changes when the impact is going to be diffuse and hard to come down? >> people are looking for change. they're looking for change in the quality of life, access to jobs. they of public health concerns. there are a lot of near-term and if it's a climate action. we don't have to wait until 2050. and we make this huge shift to renewable energy that will bring a lot of jobs, economic benefits and health public benefits here and now. this is true in the developing world. this is why countries like india and china are investing so heavily in cleaner forms of energy. people are literally dying in cities from exposure to
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pollution. i think there's a great case to be made in the near term about the benefits of doing this. the other thing is that a lot of things we can be doing on the climate resilience side as well they can have near-term benefits. we can be designing our infrastructure, upgraded hardware structure that is desperately in need of investment anyway. but upgrading in a climate resilient way. you get the new infrastructure investment that there are also climate resilient. it's the 21st we need to be talking about here -- the twofer. >> speaking to my supply community issues fighting against mountaintop when moving. i realized it's not just about once in my region where i live that are being blown up. at the departing with air pollution and other people are data with another coal ash spill happen. my editor point was start connecting the dots that eventually led me to climate and
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i think whether it's through some exposure to the health and property damages the fossil fuel pollution or it's because you get solar panels and get an electric car you think they're so cool and fun and amazing, recognizing that everybody has that privilege and luxury but a lot of people do. just a simple soul or panels on to reduce their electric bill and they've tried to be a good person the mechanic it drawn in to out all of this works and why does everyone have solar panels, and why is our energy policy make this easy for anyone? it is a real psychological challenge to get people to care about something so big and broad, and were your individual actions feel like they may not add up, and think a lot of people can honestly get a little ambivalent and stock there, but i think it's part of the least my job is never good for people were there come into this because this an entry point that help connect the dots to the
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bigger picture. >> i think these cases where the climate solution is just better is really important. i don't know anybody who has an electric car who would consider going back to a gasoline powered car. it's just better. there are exceptions. there's a taxi driver in d.c. who got low range electric car and infrastructure is not there. nobody i know who's driven an electric would ever go back. why do we tolerate open flames in our homes decorated air pollution in our kitchens? well, old-style electric ranges were terrible but induction cooking is awesome and we need to see more celebrity chefs on ev cooking with induction ranges and if it more and more people will start electrifying their homes as well. >> so another lightning round question. we are nearing the end of this event so i do ask you to try to
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keep your comments as brief as possible. i can be hard in washington. i strive to do this, i try to bring it to the stage. having this conversation of course but the backup is republican senator was not considering this issue, a republican president doesn't think climate change is a problem. there is shift happening in the congress but they are so. can you name one climate policy that is bipartisan that you also support? >> that i i -- >> that you also support. >> personally, i can't, don't speak, we don't take positions but speak or you think is good policy. >> i think the clean energy standard discussions happening are good policy at a think you asked earlier about a bipartisan way forward i think that might be a way forward in the electricity sector because it has a lot of the features of pricing carbon without directly
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price in carbon. we've a lot of work, resources for the future that suggest they can be fairly cost-effective approach. there's a lot of details to be worked out the people are thinking about that, and i think that could be a good way forward. >> the regional greenhouse gas initiative is a bipartisan initiative, and very good policy. >> also not being from the beltway i would point to the 100% clean energy feels that tn passing around the country in states. >> i think there's real promise in the low carbon electricity standard. there are some really interesting stuff happening on the climate resilience front as well that, including the initiative of the department of defense who have been pointed out in various reports in ways showing leadership and investing in climate resilience. i think there's a real opportunity there for bipartisanship. >> great. and by concluding lightning round question, yes or no, a
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prediction from each of you and you know what it is by now hopefully. in five years cogswell past the big climate policy. >> is absolutely, yes. >> yes. you know that about me by now, right? >> yes. >> yes. >> i will just say no to be the disagree here. i want to say thank you to the panelists and to everybody for joining us. [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> here's a look at our live coverage tuesday.
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>> the complete guide to congress is available. it has lots of details about the house and senate for the current session of congress. compact and bio information about every senator and representative plus information

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