For the Record: Hey! Over here! It's a real issue like climate change


Former Vice President and environmental activist Al Gore joins Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail. The two stressed the importance of addressing climate change, saying that rival Donald Trump would drag the US into a “climate catastrophe.”
Video provided by AFP
Newslook

Sigh. What does it mean for democracy when the election now depends on how you view the P-word? And why, if this is all we can talk about, is Team FTR even bothering to tell you where the candidates stand on matters that don’t involve genitalia?

We don’t know either. But consider our weekly dive into the issues a big middle finger to the campaigns. We DO care about real stuff, dammit. And we’re going to pin down where these yahoos stand on big-boy topics like climate change, even if it kills us.

THE PROBLEM

Scientists say rising global temperatures are producing more weather extremes: Bigger floods, drier droughts, hotter heat waves and rising sea levels, which over time can lead to water shortages, poor crop yields and costly storm damage. Or, even worse, the plot from “Day After Tomorrow.”

Majorities in most countries recently told Pew they found this concerning, but there are considerable partisan differences. Nearly 70 percent of liberal-leaning Americans said climate change is a “very serious problem,” compared to 30 percent of conservatives.

WHERE DON AND HIL STAND

Donald Trump once said that climate change was a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese to steal our jobs. He’s tried to moderate that recently, but he still doesn’t buy the science on climate change. Trump has promised to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate deal, which aims to rein in greenhouse gases, and nix the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which does the same for carbon pollution at American power plants. Aaaand that’s about all we’ve got. Trump has promised to make clean water a “top priority” but has offered no specifics on his website about that – or anything else related to the environment, for that matter.

Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has said climate change is an “urgent threat” and has promised to reduce greenhouse emissions up to 30 percent by 2025. She says she’ll do that, in part, by defending the Clean Power Plan and boosting efficiency standards for cars, trucks and appliances.

Still, her plans have not exactly appeased progressives and millennials, who say we need to do a lot more and a lot faster than that. So, Clinton tried to change the narrative Tuesday by trotting out former vice president and “Inconvenient Truth” star Al Gore at a campaign stop in Florida, where Clinton emphasized the need for clean energy and infrastructure that can withstand stronger storms.

THIRD PARTY VIEWS

Libertarian Gary Johnson is somewhere between Clinton and Trump on climate change. He says on his website that it’s “probably” an issue and “probably” human caused. He also has said he’s open to the idea of a carbon tax to address those problems. But don’t expect Johnson to make mandates for solar panels or more efficient cars. As he notes on his website, “Preventing a polluter from harming our water or air is one thing. Having politicians in Washington, D.C., acting on behalf of high powered lobbyists, determine the future of clean energy innovation is another.”

The Green Party’s Jill Stein has made the environment a centerpiece of her campaign, proposing what she calls a “WWII-scale national mobilization to halt climate change.” She wants the country to be 100 percent on renewable energy by 2030 and proposes building a smart energy grid to pool and store energy generated by renewable sources. Stein also wants to give every worker displaced by this shift a full salary and benefits while they find work in the new, greener economy.

MORE FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

  • Wait: Did Ben Carson just say we need to hear MORE locker-room talk? (USA TODAY)
  • Because the list is long enough, here’s where to track the GOP leaders sticking with or ditching Trump (USA TODAY)
  • Is this the dark horse? John McCain says he may write in buddy Lindsey Graham for president (Arizona Republic)
  • Are Millennials throwing away their vote if they choose a third-party candidate? (USA TODAY)
  • Bernie Sanders says he knows nothing about British politics but is stumping for his brother there, anyway (USA TODAY)

MAKE THIS THE THIRD DEBATE FORMAT

Oh, Bad Lip Reading, you did it again. The comedy group has released a six-minute video from the first presidential debate, where instead of yelling at each other, Trump and Clinton participated in game show segments like “Time to Act” and “I Can Do This!”

Seriously, who do we need to contact to make this the format for the third debate? It would nix all that talk about the moderators being unfair. And, hell, even five minutes of the two playing Exploding Kittens might be more enlightening than anything we heard from the second debate.

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