tv Cory Booker Climate Town Hall CNN September 4, 2019 8:20pm-9:00pm PDT
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and welcome back everyone to a cnn climate crisis town hall. we've heard from nine top presidential candidates so far. we have one final candidate left. scientists say that humans only have 11 more years to avoid the catastrophic consequences of this crisis. food shortages, rising sea levels, more extreme weather events like hurricane dorian, which is churning toward the carolinas as we speak. to discuss this and much more joining me now is new jersey senator cory booker. welcome, senator booker. >> how are you doing? good to see you. >> good to see you too. right off the bat, first thing you would to deal with the
climate crisis. >> well, first of all, i got to give a lot of credit to the audience here. most people at home watching don't realize y'all have been in these seats for about four hours. i just want to say i'm thankful. i want to say, number one, i want to give a lot of credit to cnn. this is historic. never before. i've watched presidential campaigns have we ever had a forum like this discussing what is for humanity as has been said by every single candidate, the most existential crisis to our country and planet earth. thank you. >> thank you. what would you do first? >> so, first thing i'm going to do as president of the united states is go right to action. climate is not a separate issue. it is the issue the lens through which we must do everything that we do. it is an everyday mission. that means every one of my departments, every one of my agencies, every one of my cabinet members from the secretary of defense to the act of agriculture has to be coming up with an aggressive climate plan. i'm going to use the power of my pen to right away go after the
executive orders that president trump did unravel the things that president obama did. banning fracking from public lanz. going after the drilling and licenses, stopping them from our coasts. making sure that we're setting standards to put ourselves on a mission to have zero emission electricity by 2030 and a carbon neutral by 2035. we can do these things and we'll do them together. >> you see what he does. right there on his shirt. his name is anthony. he's a register nurse in new york city and on the leadership team of his union, the new york state nurses association. welcome, anthony. >> anthony, god bless you. anybody who has had a family with a health crisis knows how incredible unsung heros nurses are. so thank you. >> thank you, mr. booker. registered nurses are fierce advocates for our community and of particular interest to all of
us. when superstorm sandy hit our city, we experienced something that none of us were prepared for. along with many, many others, i lost my home. our new reality is that these storms are getting more frequent and more devastating. what is your administration planning on doing to make sure that as a nation we are as prepared as we can be for these unnatural disasters? >> so, first of all, i'm sorry for your loss, and i was the mayor of the city of newark at that time. not only did i have my neighbors and others lose their homes, but we lost lives in the city of newark and i know you did hear in new york city as well. these are nightmares that we're still recovering from in new jersey. still trying to put a lot of pieces back together in vulnerable communities, often urban communities. these are folks that see the most -- not only devastation but life dislocation. so having been through that
experience, power for -- no power for days. senior citizens whose life depends on having electricity to pump oxygen into their lungs. these are -- these are crises that we have to be prepared for, and doing the things necessary to make sure they're not coming with this kind of fierce increasing nature that they are right now. so, so much of what i'm going to do is going to be about climate resiliency as well. making the kind of vents invest we need to making sure communities not as susceptible to flooding, whether that's the flooding in mississippi or sea level rises flooding in new york city. investing in the kind of emergency preparedness and not have the backward reality that i see in washington where every time there is a natural disaster you have to work through washington, d.c. politics just to get the resources a community needs to recover. enough of that. i will set up permanent funds to make sure that politicians aren't making this decision. that we're making it with our
heart. we're americans. we take care of our own. >> senator, i want to ask you a similar question that i asked the former congressman earlier. you know sea levels are rising because of climate change. do you think there is some coastal communities, perhaps even in your home state of new jersey, where people need to move inland until -- because this is going to get worse until things get better? >> so, a lot of people have this misperception that we're not already seeing climate refugees. i was down in louisiana meeting with a proud native american community who is already having to move. it's not for flooding, it's that the sea level is rising above now their low-lying communities, ancestral communities. so we have to make really tough decisions. i think we have to invest in resiliency to protect miami, to protect atlantic is it city and a lot of other cities, but we have to make tough choices as well. we have to begin to create the right kind of incentives in a community that have building and investment going on in places that are on higher ground. but resiliency, resiliency,
resiliency, i cannot -- we cannot be a society anymore that, to use this metaphor, puts our servers in the basement. we have to prepare for what is coming. even if we do solve this crisis, we're going to see weather events like we've seen for the last five years from the fires to the floods to the storms. we have to be prepared. >> all right. here this is a student at columbia university. she previously worked on the hillary clinton campaign in 2016. currently now, though, she is undecided. >> all right. >> so there you go. >> how are you? >> thank you. i'm doing very well. senator booker, you've recently unveiled a $3 trillion plan to tackle climate change. specifically meant to support low-income individuals and communities of color. born and raised in iowa, i have seen firsthand the effects of climate change on agriculture. iowan farmers saw an immense amount of flooding this summer which destroyed a large portion of their crops. so my question to you is, how will your plan support iowans
and the midwest in protecting the domestic agriculture industry. >> so, first of all, we need to be honest. this problem didn't just happen. what are folks already doing? when you're running for president, it's easy to tell people what you're going to do. i already put in legislation to help farmers and ranchers deal with what we're seeing is an increasing crisis. not only on bigger issues of climate, but also other issues that are affecting family farmers right now. the independent family farmers under crisis because of corporate consolidation and the massive farms that are gobbling up a lot of our heritage. by the way, that is not only an issue of antitrust and the monopolization of our society, which must be stopped, but it also has powerful impacts on our climate. especially as these corporations get bigger and bigger and pump more money thanks to citizened united into the corrupting of washington. that's why so much of our heritage is under attack from the very fundamentals of our democracy, which is the person
that gets the most votes should go to office. with gerrymandering and voter suppression, we see things are undermining our democracy and allowing corporate interests to prevail in washington in a way that is hurting real people. so my climate stewardship plan right away understands that in this we can't leave sectors of our society out of the solutions to this crisis. this has to be a unifying call, and farming we have to understand that farmers are a part of the solution. they're a necessary, indispensable part of the solution. and so when i drive through iowa -- and by the way, people might not know this. i'm a northeastern guy, but my grandma born and raised in des moines. when i've been going out there, what i've loved seeing since i've been going out there for family reunions is the emergence of windmills on farmlands where farmers are getting new sources of revenue. my plan is going to have farmers incentiveized through hundreds of billions of dollars we're
going to put into a fund that is going to incentivize practices, whether that's cover crops to pull carbon out of the air or common sense stuff like ranching practices to help preserve the soil and reduce the carbon. practices that preserve our heritage, enrich our environment and help to deal with this larger crisis. >> so you're a vegan. >> i thought you were a vegan, too, man. >> no, you don't want to go there. so you're a vegan. when you've talked about being a vegan in the past. i want to quote you here. you don't want to preach to anybody about their diets. so my question is, your administration wouldn't have any programs to encourage healthy diets if it also combats climate change? >> oh, my gosh. so let's go right at this because i hear about it all the time. booker wants to take away your hamburger. >> well? >> that is the kind of lies and fear mongering that they spread out there, that somehow the democrats want to get rid of
hamburgers. look, i am a vegan. i take my diet very seriously. i actually became a vegetarian when i was still a college football player coming out of playing college football. but this is the point. we live in a society right now going back to the corporate consolidation that we're seeing where the farming practices are becoming so perverse -- i've been to a place called duplin, north carolina. my dad is from the state. activists asked me to come down there. you see these massive factory farms where the farmers themselves are living like sharecroppers, deeply in debt. their lives now are -- they're not making great money. these large companies like smithfield now, international companies. i think chinese-owned at this point. are doing practices where they have treatment of farm animals in ways that is contrary to what i see farmers in iowa. they put these in these massive -- they don't want people to see what's going on so they cover them.
all that pig ref uuse is going into massive lagoons. they spray it over fields. i went into a black community and saw how stuff fell on the fields but misted into a black community. i sat in a room packed with activists who said we can't open our windows. we can't put clothing on the line. we can't run our air conditioning. we have respiratory issues, asthma. there is not a person in our country seeing that misery that wants to take a part in that, but yet we have thanks to the corporate lobby of these big companies, we're incentivizing those kinds of farm practices and not those that represent our heritage and support independent family farmers. i'm not going to be a president that is giving tax breaks to people who are polluting folks, causing cancers, destroying our environment as well. so let me tell you where we've got to go as a country. freedom is one of the most sacred values. whatever you want to eat, go ahead and eat it, but when i
come to you right now from the only person in this entire campaign, only person in the senate that lives in an inner city black and brown low-income community, you know what we're furious about in my community? communities all across this country is that we don't have access to fresh and healthy foods. we live in food deserts. there's a guy -- you would love this guy and you should interview him. he's one of the best ted talks i've listened to. he's called ron finley, they call him the guerilla gardner. he has a saying in south central. we have drive by and drive-thrus and more people are getting killed by the drive-thrus than the drive by. we live in a country right now -- we battled this when i was mayor. we got our first supermarkets built in decades. we turned entire city blocks into urban gardens. gave guys coming home from prison jobs on the farms. all helping our environment but giving access to fresh and healthy foods. because i'm sorry, corporations like mcdonald's who oppress
their workers , do not pay livig wages and are the only options in communities feeding things to folks that are making them ill, that is not a healthy food system. if i am your president, all of these issues -- already in the first ten minutes we've talked about corporate corruption, campaign finance, agriculture, environmental justice. all of these things are interrelated. you can't separate them out. i'm going to be the president that says when we talk about health care, let's not just talk about doctors and nurses, let's talk about healthy food system and the tox ins that are in our community. so i will always be about the freedom to eat what you want, but we are going to have to make sure our government is not subsidizing the things that make us sick and unhealthy and hurt our environment and start to incentivize the practices that get farming and get agriculture and get the health of our communities back. we need to especially be looking at communities that are low
income and vauulnerable and investing in those communities so they can have health and well-being as well. >> i want to talk about -- can we talk about nuclear energy? because you say nuclear energy is key to fighting climate change. but you know there are inherent risks in that and that's a possibility of disasters like fukushima, like chernobyl, three-mile island. there are no safe ways or permanent ways to dispose of the most dangerous radioactive waste. what would you do to help mitigate those dangers? >> so this is where study and science is actually really important. so let's deal with the facts and the data. when i was the mayor of the city of newark, i had people with stron strong opinions. i would say in god we trust, but everybody else bring me data. so we need to look at the numbers right now. so my plan says we need to be at a zero carbon electricity by 2030. that's ten years from the time that i will win the presidency of the united states of america. and right now nuclear is more
than 50% of our noncarbon causing energy. so people who think that we can get there without nuclear being part of the blend just aren't looking at the facts. but here's something that i want to tell you right now. the disasters in -- from chernobyl to japan, trust me, when you live in a community, as new jersey does with nuclear plants, and my mom who lives in nevada and all the stuff -- all the fights -- righteous fights to protect what they plan to do at yoka mountain, i'm very aware of these things. so i decided, you know what, i'm going to double down. i'm going to read everything i can about nuclear. i'm going to visit with nuclear scientists. i'm going to talk to folks. this is the exciting thing, next generation nuclear, where the science is going is, to me, at first it sounded like science fiction. we're talking about historic plants, but where the science is going right now is new nuclear
actually portends of exciting things where you have no risk of the kind of meltdowns we're seeing. where they each spent fuel rods. we can go to the kinds of innovations that make nuclear safer or safe. so this is the point i'm making. i'm a competitor. i'm a baller. i played football in the pac-10, go stanford, now the pac-12. this is the thing that ticks me off. we used to have the most r & d intensive economy on the planet. we are no longer the research in terms of percentage of our investment in gdp. we're no longer there. people want to outinnovate us. that's unacceptable to me. call it pride or confidence, if america can compete we can win. so government needs to step up in a much more significant way. that's why may plan has a massive moon shot like investment in the technologies of the future which range in everything from battery storage
technology to the aviation industry all the way to nuclear. the future we need to not be fearful of, we need to embrace the possibilities and nuclear i believe if we start doing the research, making the investments. i've already been in washington working across the aisle to clean up a regulatory regime that's made for the nuclear reactors of the '70s to prepare for the possibilities of the future. we've got to get people excited about what's there and we as a society, as americans must make the investment so that we lead humanity to the innovations, to the breakthroughs, to the jobs of the future. >> by r & d, you mean research and development. >> research and development, yes. >> all right. thank you, senator. we're going to be right back. more questions for the senator in just a moment. grab some pens.
i can worry about it, or doe. something about it. garlique helps maintain healthy cholesterol naturally, and it's odor-free, and pharmacist recommended. garlique welcome back to cnn's climate crisis town hall. we're going to continue on now with senator cory booker of new jersey. i want to bring in joseph who is standing right in front of you. he's from huntington, new york. he's the president of the huntington young democrats and a member of the suffolk county committee. >> can i be a young democrat in spirit? >> yes. you're young at heart. how will you communicate effectively to the skeptics on climate change in order for them to realize the urgency and need for everyone to act? >> i appreciate that question.
so, first of all, let's understand that the reality we're in right now is young republicans, millennial republicans are really with us. i'm not one of these people that wants to vilify an entire party. the reality is the people that need to be vilified are republicans in congress who are the only major political party on the planet earth -- remember, in europe there are right-wing parties, left-wing parties. this is the only major political party whose leadership denies the science of climate change. we have the majorities for so many of the things that we're talking about. republican and democrat. before i decided to run for president, i went through a period where i was making a point of going to sit down at a table, i'm a big fan of renee brown, she says you can't hate up close, so pull people in. so i went out to look for republicans. i went out to midwestern states. back then my staff wouldn't let me go into iowa because they thought there would be a suspicion i would be running for president. i went to western illinois. i met with farmers who were
republicans. i was amazed once they got through the skepticism of a democrat from the northeast sitting down with them, we found common cause and common purpose on the strategies that work. the battle we have right now is the obstruction that is going on by the congressional republican party. and what is important, and this is why i praise this, is that this is as much a cultural battle as it is a political battle. which is letting folks know who are with us. i'm a child of civil rights activists. and this was a period where we faced anni impotency of empathyn america, where folks just didn't understand the crisis and the reality of families in places like alabama or even places in the northeast. but the activists there like i see in the sunshine movement and other climate activists, they were artists of activism. what they did was they were able to expand the moral imagination of this country and there are
good people here that then responded and we created new american majorities for the civil rights movement. this is no less urgent of a cause now and we all have to take responsibility. i'm going to warn folks right now. if you elect me your president, i'm going to ask more from you than any other president in your lifetime. because i grew up from parents who taught me if there is no struggle, there is no progress. i'm not going to ask you to put up with more. turn on the tv and be embarrassed of your president more. but what i'm going to ask you to do is to be involved in a larger movement for justice in this country because we've seen that in my grandparents' generation, my grandmother bragged about her victory gardens, my grandfather working on assembly lines, my parents' generation were civil rights activist. if more of us get active more, we could ignite that moral imagination of this country and we can deal with this problem, as big as it may seem, it's not bigger than who we are as a people together. and by the way, i know the
chinese symbol for crisis as you know is danger and opportunity. this is a crisis. there is danger. but if we do the right things, we have tremendous opportunity to expand millions of jobs, to boost our economy, to give pathways out of poverty, to deal with environmental injustice. this actually is a crisis that presents a chance to deal with restorative justice issues as well. that's the kind of president i'm going to be, and if i'm president, i need us to be who we really are, americans that understand that democracy is a verb and we must all act. >> i want to ask you a couple of questions -- a couple of quick questions. very important. would you ban offshore drilling? >> absolutely, yes. i will ban offshore drilling. why? because, again, where have we seen these leases -- this is why i've been fighting, doing demonstrations on the jersey shore, to stop new licenses. why? because when we know they drill, they spill.
ask alaska. alaska california. alaska t ask the gulf coast. destroying the environment. if my goal is to get our electricity zero carbon emission, that means phasing off of fossil fuels. if we're going to get there to net zero carbon emissions by 2045 for our whole nation we have to get off of fossil fuels. so why would i allow new leases? but this is not just offshore drilling, this is things like fracking on public land. >> that was my next question. would you ban fracking? >> listen, right away on public lands. absolutely, yes. and then we need to set -- >> wait wait, just on public lands. >> no, no, no, let me finish. >> all right. >> because -- because as i just talked to somebody from iowa in a virtual town hall who talked about the injustice of turning on your water -- i know this in newark. we have millions of americans who turn on their faucet and can't get access to clean water because we have not dealt with these issues.
so we will transition off of fossil fuels. natural gas, coal, oil, we must transition off them so that those things are something of the past and the innovations and the breakthroughs in technologies lead us into a future. >> what about the ebbs port of fossil fuels from the united states, would you ban that? >> again, again -- >> do it. >> thank you -- this is what i'm used to being close to jersey, people telling me exactly what they mean. absolutely, we must get to that point. absolutely. >> all right. our chief climate change correspondent is mr. bill we'ir >> i can see him. you and i feel good. we're in prime time. >> i want to say hello to all the hawaiians out there. >> wait for everybody else to make the mistakes, right? senator, so many folks around the world watched in horror recently as the amazon burned and a lot of folks are blaming the policies of what some call the tropical trump president bolsonaro of brazil down there. his promises to mine and farm
and deforest the amazon by some estimations would be the equivalent of adding another china and a half to the global carbon footprint. and next door, i've seen firsthand how illegal gold miners are ripping up the as the commander in chief, how would you save something as vital as the amazon, when it's under the control of leader who don't believe in chimt science or just don't have the means to enforce conservation. >> let's go further. remember the crisis we maybe noticing the fires. but the crisis of the disappearing of rain forest on this planet have been happen lg every single day. more and more rain forest is torn down. for grazing land and large international corporate animal agriculture and more. we have a crisis at a time that my plan calls for the planting of billions and billions of trees. from urban areas to that need
them throughout the nation. people who hear the number think he's a big dreamer. we did it under fdr. lt last time we had the most massive period of reforestation. the civilian conservation core. before we turn -- in a self-righteous way and preach, let's make sure we are getting our own house in order and showing we are going to lead by example. we have to be the change. we want to see in the world. and then number two, i i listen to people giving applause for rejoining the paris climate accord. i'm sorry, that's a cost of entry even to run for president or talk the presidency. if you're not doing that. i'll tell you this, everything that i do will be done through a green lens and urgency of climate change. every lever i have on foreign
policy, every single one. >> including military action? >> i want to get to that. it's a deep point. all the levers a president has. number one i see the president meeting with world leaders. he meets with putin and won't bring up attacking election. that's soft power. you have billions of dollars of foreign aid going to countries around the planet that should be contingent on doing things on climate. trade deals, labor, and climate should be the instruct her of any trade deal we do. you have alliances as well. let's talk about military. a report came out talking about yemen. and america's role. we are amping up militarization in this country in ways that are not violate the constitution, but violate morals. we think we'll solve problems by dropping bombs. in the case of yemen we didn't drop the bomb. we fuelled the planes that dropped the bombs and the bombs
were american made. we need to understand that as we ramp up and make such massive investments thinking we can solve problems with military intervention that cause problems. iraq war, yemen. we need to understand this incredible amount of resources were pulling into the military we need to begin to have a dividend or pull resources and start plowing into dealing with the climate change problem. will will not just bleed the economy. trillions of dollars in wars over seas. it will fuel the economy investing in things that create a multiplier event and benefit in terms of economic growth, jobs, new industry and manufacturing and more. that's the president i'll be. >> you see this gentleman. he's from new jersey. his name is allen. he's a professor of climate science. at rutgers university. >> hold on.
where? you say that with pride. put base in your voice. >> rutgers university. >> scarlet knight. >> i have been a scientist for 40 years. i like to echo your praise of cnn for having a whole evening. that's great. senator booker, he's my question. do you support research into climate intervention also known as geo engineering. do we have to be informed about the potential benefits and risk of blocking the sun with the cloud in the upper atmosphere, if to cool earth if global warming gets too dangerous despite best efforts at mitigation and adaptation? >> i have to say i don't know if it's cheating. i listen to a lot of the other people who came out here and incredible array of my colleagues. many my friends. who talk about these issues and deserve a lot of respect. and moving the national conversation. i heard about the engineering
question. i have to say it's an area of science i don't know much about. my plan calls for massive investment in expanding the technology we know of. what i call research and development moon shot in every single state. so where you see states are becoming hubs of new innovation. pittsburg captain of the aton mouse vehicle. every state on farming practices, on battery storage, on the aviation industry which must be addressed. and what kind of innovation we can do. i'm a believer in r and d and doubling down. this is a commitment i'll make. i'll read a lot more about geo engineering. i'm not familiar with it. besides what i saw on star trek. i'm a trek e and watched that. and help planets with the situations. that might be the headline out of this. booker confesses he's a trek e.
>> you might get a role. >> live long and prosper. >> thank you. >> we appreciate you doing this. thank you senator. thank you for all the candidates who participated tonight. unprecedented event. and thanks to the audience for questions. cnn is partnering with the human rights campaign foundation for the next series of presidential town halls on issues that are important to the lgbtq community. make sure you tune into that. that will be next month it will be in los angeles. that's it for us. my colleague anderson cooper is standing by. and pick up the coverage after this quick break. you can stream and scroll through other people's vacations, or you can be the kind of person that books their own vacation. a booker. scootin' through life at seven miles an hour. awesome.
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hurricane dorian is once again a category 3 storm strengthening before air time. it's the water that authorities are concerned ant in the form of rain and possible title flooding along the georgia and carolina coast. they brace r impact the death toll is feared rising in the bahamas. standing at 20. according to the prime minister who says the number will likely grow as operations continue. for the destruction there, it is in many