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tv   Sen. Bernie Sanders Holds Climate Change Town Hall  CSPAN  December 3, 2018 7:00pm-8:50pm EST

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so it runs the gamut to how it happens. we have seen commanders when something happens send out a written notice basically i will not tolerate sexual assault within the command which is triggered by an incident that is actively inves actively investigated. . . . .
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>> because the fire department was spread too thin. >> i know from the facts of a senior climate, that climate change is real and it is affecting us now. >> the good news is all over the world, people are beginning to figure that out and beginning to step up >> there are alternatives to using to carbon based fuel. we should be moving in that direction >> the time is now. we don't have anymore time. >> it is all about every day
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people coming together and believing in their ability to change this country. >> plugging my voice in the justice system to hold our government accountable. >> and again and again until i see some results. >> who will stand with me now? for mine and future generations. who will stand with me now? [applause] >> i'm senator bernie sanders of vermont. and i want to welcome all of you to the fourth national town meeting that my office has
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sponsored. our first one dealt with the need to make sure that healthcare is a right in this country, not a privilege, through a medicare for all system. our second town meeting dealt with the grotesque levels of income and wealth inequality. third town meeting dealt with foreign affairs and the iran nuclear treaty. tonight we are dealing with what the scientific community tells us is the great crisis facing our planet and facing humanity, and that is climate change. before i go any further, i want to thank the live audience, the folks in this room and the spillover room down stairs for being with us at the office building tonight. i want to thank the panelists
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who have come really from all over the world to be with us tonight. and i want to thank the progressive on-line media outlets who are helping us live stream this event. attention, the years project, the intercept the nation and the guardian and interestingly enough i want to thank two media outlets, cbs and cnn for live streaming this as well. [applause] >> i also want to thank out the many and hoping not leaving out many many environmental organizations for helping us get the word out about this event, that includes sunrise movement, earth guardians, green for all, people demanding action and friends of the earth. and finally, i want to thank all
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of you all over the country and in fact throughout the world who understand that it is absolutely imperative that we get our act together on this issue and that countries throughout the world stand up and take on the fossil fuel industry and transform our energy system away from fossil fuel. let me just say a word about tonight, and i should mention that unlike commercial television, this event is not sponsored by [laughter] [applause] >> nor is it sponsored or paid more by the koch brothers who have made most of their fortune in the fossil fuel industry. let me briefly explain the format for tonight. we're going to have five separate segments.
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each led by an expert in the particular aspect of climate change that we will be discussing. and let me mention their names now and thank them very much for being with us. and i will formally introduce them during their part of the discussion. and these expert panelists are dr. brenda, alexandria ocasio cortez, mayor ross of georgetown, texas, and dr. kamala. these expert panelists will be questioned by our ongoing panel, who you are seeing right here in front of you. and they will be here throughout the evening, and that panel consists of three individuals who have spent much of their lives in the fight against climate change and in the fight for environmental justice. and they are bill mckibben who
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is not only an outstanding author, who has written some of the most important books ever written on climate change, but he is an extraordinary international organizer and one of the cofounders of we also have up here an award-winning actress who has devoted much of her adult life to environmental activism and is also on the board of our revolution, and lastly, we have with us somebody who i think many of you know, van jones is a political commentator on cnn and has long been an environmental activist who served as president obama's special advisor for green jobs and is the author of several best-selling books on climate action. so let's get the evening going,
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and it is my pleasure to introduce the director of climate science at the union of concerned scientists which is one of the most important and effective environmental organizations in the world. she is a coauthor of the recently-released federal climate change report and the chapter which dealt with economic costs due to climate impacts. doctor, thank you very much for being with us. let me begin by asking you this question, president trump has indicated on many occasions that he does not believe that climate change is caused by human activity and he does not believe that climate change is a threat to our planet, and on more than
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one occasion, he has described climate change as a hoax. now, remember, you're in the united states capital now. here is the tough question, are you ready? is president donald trump right? [laughter] >> i can say that 97% of scientists agree that climate change is real. it's primarily due to us, and scientists and engineers and many other folks have plenty of solutions, are ready to roll up our sleeves and fix this problem. >> you are suggesting that the president of the united states may not be right on his assertion. i don't want to put your words in your mouth. >> thank you. thank you. >> let me start off with a question and i want everybody to jump in. you worked on the recent intergovernmental panel on climate change report. can you give us the major take aways from that report? >> absolutely. the main finding of the fourth
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national climate assessment is that this is -- climate change is not some problem in the distant future. it is here. it is now. and it's happening in every part of the country. the other aspect of the report is that we already know that we have had wildfires, drought and hurricanes in 2017 and 2018 that exceeded the cost of a billion dollars per event -- per disaster, and some far exceeded those costs. for example, by 90 million dollars -- 90 billion dollars, 50 billion dollars and 125 billion dollars for hurricane maria, irma and harvey. so it's no surprise that in our chapter of the national climate assessment, we find that if carbon emissions continue unabated, that the u.s. could
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endure annual costs of over 100 billion dollars in some sectors. however, if we did go on a low emissions pathway, we could reduce those damages to the u.s. by nearly half in the labor sector and by nearly 60% in the extreme heat mortality sector. >> look, first of all, many thanks for being here. you know, i had the privilege just before we came of getting to sit down with eight or nine of the people who survived the fires in near chico in paradise and those other towns there in the county. that's what's happened at one degree celsius global temperature wise. we're on path even if people meet their paris targets of 3,
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3 1/2 degrees of temperature rise, talk a little bit about the -- i think sometimes people may not quite understand just how far into this saga we already are and how immediate the need for action is. this isn't something we can postpone a few more legislative sessions or presidential terms or something. >> no. in fact, the intergovernmental panel on climate change special report on 1 1/2 degrees celsius rise above preindustrial is in direct result of the paris climate agreement because they said to the scientific community, what does that mean? what would it take for us to do that? as you say, the u.s., the world, we already have experienced 1 degree celsius and we see in the headlines a lot of the climate influenced extreme events. now, if we continue on the current path, we would hurdle past 1 1/2 degrees celsius rise above preindustrial by the middle of the century, and we
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would get to 22 degrees celsius by 2060 around. in order to bend that global emissions curve, it's transformative change and we really only have a critical decade to a dozen years to change things and invest in the infrastructure that you will hear about later and the new policies and options that are out there to really reduce global emissions. >> can you come up with something to suck the carbon out of the air? >> you bring up a good point. one of the most famous is a tree. [applause] >> as scientists and engineers we have not done better than photosynthesis. blue carbon it is called, you go out there on our coastal waterways we can see offshore the sea grass in many places around the world, a lot of good
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carbon storage. however, what that special report tells us that if we go past 1 1/2 degrees and we go to 2 degrees celsius, that's a big difference in sea level rise, and that could overwhelm some of these natural nature-based solutions. the seas would rise too fast for us to store that blue carbon. so for example, the difference between 1 1/2 degrees sea world and a 2 degrees sea world would mean about 4 inches of sea level, and that would expose -- it may not sound like much, 1 1/2 to 2 degrees but in terms of people around the world, that report estimates you would expose 10 million more people to sea level rise influenced consequences. >> do you want to jump in? >> i would just comment on the point of nature, healing nature. i feel like that's a bit of a dialogue when we talk about climate change that isn't often present. when you say, you know, what can we do right now to work with
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nature and conserve nature that will prevent us from getting to that 1 1/2 degrees? is that a part of the dialogue at all from your stand point? >> absolutely, nature based solutions not only help store carbon but often they help protect people and make them safer. the fact that wetlands in louisiana used to be far offshore and when storms and hurricanes would come, they would protect them, but now the sea level rise has eroded so much that now when a hurricane katrina hits, it's so close and the storm surge is really devastating to gulf coast communities, and many shoreline communities. >> let me ask you this, i mean, we're all familiar with the horror, the absolute horror that took place in california. we are aware of rising sea levels. we're aware of the increase in extreme weather disturbances. if donald trump and the fossil fuel industry wins this debate,
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tell us what the planet looks like in 20 or 30 years. >> so we really start seeing things happen after about 2030, our choices, but what we do today is already potentially unleashing some very dire consequences in antarctica. so it may not happen right away, but if we go past certain thresholds, we may be unleashing a stabilization of the west antarctic ice sheet which could cause massive sea level rise. >> what does that massive sea level rise mean to coastal communities all over the world? >> most people live near the coast around the world, and that means many of our cultural heritage cherished sites, people would have to -- many places
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would be inundated if that dire consequence happens. >> it means communities where millions of people live would be under water. it also means mass migration of people, does it not? >> a lot of folks are looking attempt -- looking at temporary migrations and between country migrations, and they ma be temporary. they may be long-term. people are on the move. creatures are on the move adapting to climate change, but it doesn't have to be that bad if we really roll out solutions now, we get smart about adaptation and we make sure it's equitable. >> i think you just got at something very important. the studies in the last couple of years indicate that we can
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expect in current trajectories that we will see 150, 200, 300 million climate migrants as the century goes on. look at what's happened -- what the sort of spasm that it sent the politics of the western world into to have a million people leave syria and head out. i mean, how -- we've got to be thinking about all kinds -- not just -- we have to be thinking about all kinds of things in new ways now. >> right. >> okay. van? >> i do this for a living. i swear. everything you just said kind of bums me out. so what gives you personally hope? i mean, i'm bummed out. i've been here for like six minutes, and you had to do the whole report. [laughter] >> what kept you going? what gives you hope?
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>> a lot of what gives me hope is many people are out there figuring out solutions in many different sectors. we need all of us. we need -- what we also highlight in the report is that there's been a lot of initiative in the united states for over 455 cities have been making solutions to reduce and slow the pace of sea level rise. states, every single state in the united states has some sort of climate or energy related policy. most of them are transportation. you could go through the list of 30 different policies we highlight in the report. that gives us a lot of hope. and also, i know that scientists and engineers already have rolled out many solutions. we just don't -- we're just lacking the political will to really deploy them. and what scientists are working on are much smarter cheaper distributed energy for the whole world because we need global emissions reductions, and we need everyone around the world to have access out of new energy as well as an equitable ways. >> do you want to jump in? we're running out of time.
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>> yeah, i just wanted to say from your standpoint, what can someone who is watching this at home right now do to help, you know, if they feel activated by this conversation and by the things you have said, what can you offer them? >> sure, first thing is start looking at your own life and looking at what you can do. in small ways and their chose stories with your friends. secondly, absolutely ask your political leaders, business leaders, what are you doing to help make our community more safe from the climate impacts that are affecting us and my neighbors? what are you doing to help reduce emissions globally? you're going to hear from some great folks in the up coming panels about what they are doing. and share the stories. every day i try to reduce my emissions and figure out new ways and stay abreast, keep abreast of the science and share the success stories because it is actually a more fun and interesting world. a lot of public health benefits from a lot of the renewable energy solutions, more forests,
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more carbon reservoirs. it is going to be hard, but we're ready, and we have to get to work now. >> let me thank the doctor for being here and point out that it was not only the intergovernment panel on climate change initial report. recently we had a report for the 13 agencies of the federal government, and all of these reports make a very simple and profound point, and that is the time is late, and as a planet, that means countries all over the world, not just the united states, not just russia or china, countries all over the world are going to have to stand up, take on the fossil fuel industry, if we are going to leave our kids and our grandchildren a planet that is habitable. this is a crisis situation. it is unprecedented. and we have got to act in an unprecedented way. doctor, thank you very much. [applause]
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>> thank you for your leadership. [applause] >> one of the great sites of the energy world. >> trump's administration opened our sacred land to oil and gas development. 90% of the arctic has already been opened to oil. this is the last remaining 5%, and this is the heart of the people. right now we are on a sinking ship. we have 33 coastal communities dealing with erosion. there's no ice to protect the land. when the water comes in, it would protect the land, but that's not there anymore. it is eating at alaska, and there's 33 coastal communities that are dealing with this. there are two communities that do have to leave. they have to move their
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communities. our -- the seismic testing they are doing, they are going to be bringing in 53, 90,000 pound vehicles into our sacred land. these are where our animals live. they are not concerned about the impact it is going to have on our animals or the way of life. the indigenous people's rights are being violated. we're not asking for anything. we're not asking for jobs. we're not asking for schools. we're simply asking to continue to live off of the animals that are provided for us for thousands of years. -- that have provided for us for thousands of years. i want my children to have a healthy ecosystem. people don't understand that this is a crisis. this is a humanitarian crisis. and we need to start speaking up for our children. >> thank you.
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[applause] >> of all of the generations out there who are helping us to lead the fight against climate change, it is clear that it is the young people who are in the forefront. and we are delighted to welcome the youth director of earth guardians, a conservation organization dedicated to empowering young people. he is a grassroots activist who is rallying the american people to take a stand against the fossil fuel industry. let me begin with a question. and that is over the last ten or so years, the fossil fuel industry has spent 1.7 billion, that's with a b, billion dollars on campaign contributions and
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lobbying expenditures. and i can tell you from first-hand knowledge, i've been running all over this country, that in state after state, where there are environmental initiatives on the ballot, the fossil fuel industry has been spending huge amounts of money trying to defeat those initiatives. further, the vast majority of members of congress in fact take contributions from the fossil fuel industry, and one of the leading families in this country, one of the wealthiest families in this country are the koch brothers who spend many hundreds of millions of dollars trying to elect right wing candidates, anti-climate change candidates, have made their fortune primarily through the fossil fuel industry. my question to you is a pretty simple one. given the enormous power of the oil, gas, and coal industry, how
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can the american people stand up to these powerful special interests and do what has to be done for our planet? >> grateful to be here. thank you for having me. appreciate everybody on the panel. as you made it very clear, the fossil fuel industry is not only contaminating our water, polluting our air, making our community sick but it is polluting or politics and has been for a very long time. when i was a little kid growing up, i continued to see that -- growing up in colorado where we experienced a lot of impacts from natural gas extraction, whereas members in our community are getting sick, contaminating our water, friends and family of mine are being put in greater peril due to the expanding of the industry. this issue is less and less about red or blue. we see in our state where progressive democrat politicians are claiming to be representatives of our future, of our people, claiming to care about climate change, claiming
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to care about clean jobs when they are taking massive campaign contributions from the natural gas and oil corporations, for me, it's been very clear that this isn't about, you know, the left or right wing. this is about politicians to stand up and represent the best interests of our community, of our people, and those that are going to be backed by the fossil fuel corporations. i think one thing that we have seen is historically it's been politically risky to stand up to the fossil fuel powers as politicians. i think that my generation is very different. the young people in the world today have a different understanding and perspective on the world because yes, we are the future, and yes, we are most at stake because of what is yet to come, but we are also here now. that gives us the perspective of pushing the agenda so it is politically risky to not stand up to the fossil fuel powers. >> that's what i wanted to start off with. what kind of activities are you seeing your generation getting involved in that older generations are not? >> definitely.
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i think one thing i have seen very clearly is that our generation is more connected than any generation in the past has ever been. that's for various reasons, right, social media, information and technology that connects us as a global community but also because of things like pipelines that are connecting communities in alberta, to communities in rural nebraska and you see that throughout the fight and the keystone pipeline, the alliance, example of people from very different perspectives and different belief systems were connected by threatening to their life, their water. you see people from all walks of life, this is something that is unifying us. as a national and global community, people are beginning to recognize this is bigger than any one of us, it is bigger than politics, bigger than the environment, bigger than rising sea levels, it is about the way
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of life. as you saw in the video and you hear in the news, this is about people, humans, the fact that our generation, my generation, my little brother, my little sister their future is threatened by a crisis that politicians have spent too much time, you know, separating and making it about a bipartisan issue and really tainting i think what needs to be a unifying space. and i think climate change has the opportunity to bring people together from a space of hope and space of opportunity and a space of solutions. that's what i think that will connect and unite all people. when we look at these, it is not just to end these pipelines but we see communities that need clean jobs. we need jobs to support an economy that will be thriving. we can come together is building economic prosperity, building a healthy sustainable planet for the next generation. >> did you want to jump in? >> i was going to say something similar to what you just said bernie, i do feel that, you
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know, past paradigms surrounding climate change, there's a lot of fear involved and people tend to retreat when they hear about it. i will go live over here by myself and protect my family and make sure my community is safe. we don't have the luxury to do that anymore. it really is a community. you have to be involved with your community. is there anything you have noticed with our generation and the generations that are to come and the people who are still here, that sounds so funny, sorry, i didn't mean it like that. every generation on the planet, you know, how people are working together in a new way because of this new sense of connectivity. >> i think the narrative and the story that inspires people the most is when we communicate well that this has to come from a place of love. and i think that that is something that people all across the board can connect and can relate to because for me when i think about why i've spent the last 12 years of my life. i'm 18. i started this when i was 6 years old to talk about the
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issues. when i think about the sacrifice, the time, the energy, it is not about a crisis or an issue or a problem, it is about the moments and the places i have been and the culture and the music and the food and everything beautiful about human existence; right? those beautiful things, the memories, like the small things; right? and that is what we are fighting to defend. that's worth fighting to defend. that's worth setting side what we disagree about. setting aside what separates us and divides us. setting aside these different things in our system and our society that separate people and that place of love and that place of understanding that this is the most important issue of our time because it connects every other issue. you know, if you care about gender equality, some of the most recent studies, talking about how one of the best ways to address our climate crisis is to educate women and advocate for reproductive rights. climate change is that umbrella crisis that it is more than we
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have ever successfully communicated it to be. >> let me speak to the older people. all right? let me see how you communicate with the older people. >> let's see. [laughter] >> bill? >> i completely get fear and hope and love, all those good things. >> uh-huh. >> but i think sometimes i channel my inner bernie and just get upset too. [laughter] >> to go back to your question, i mean you just lived through this thing in colorado where the oil industry literally outspent community activists 40 to 1 in a successful effort to beat a bill that would not have banned fracking, but nearly banned it in people's front yards and school yards and things. they spent 40 million dollars. one of the thing that the sunrise movement has done so well is try to get politicians on the hook. are you going to take money from the fossil fuel industry, or are you not? >> right. >> do you think, next time an
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election comes around, do you think this is an issue that moves young people? do you think if they look at two politicians and one of them has some money that came in from exxon and the other doesn't that that's going to make a real difference in how people vote? >> i definitely think -- i definitely think that what we can see is that exciting and aspiring and speaking to the younger generation is going to be something that the politicians are going to need to learn how to do better and better, every election cycle. i think that young people feel disenfranchised and disconnected from politics often because they feel their voices aren't represented or heard by politicians. i think that, you know, different people that are represented in politics, like alexandria ocasio who is about to come up and, you know, tear up the mic, i'm excited to be witness to it. [laughter] >> you know, there's this level of relatebility and connectivity that we see there. i think part of that is that yes we love politicians that speak to us but at the same time
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there's an accountability method, measure to be held for all politicians, we have to hold them accountable. i think that this pledge to not take money from fossil fuels is huge because my community, you know, we have -- you know, the former governor he sued municipalities that tried to take local efforts and measures to ban fracking. we were outspent as you said by the fossil fuel industry, you know, 40 to 1. this is a continuous cycle where people are fighting. people are on the ground. we see indigenous pipeline movements across the nation, that people are standing up and fighting back. we need that political will power as i stated previously in the evening, that political will power. that's i think a place in which people and the constituents and the voters especially the young ones i think are going to play a significant role in holding every politician that comes into office from herein accountable.
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-- here on out accountable. >> you said you're 18? >> uh-huh. i voted for the first time. >> first time voter? [applause] >> i've known you since you were in single digits. it's just unbelievable to watch you become who you're becoming. the one thing about you that i've always marvelled at is that you talk about politics, but that's really not your thing. you've always been an artist. and i think that we're in a time when, you know, the politicians and the business leaders and the military -- the military can't keep us safe from climate change. the politicians can't pass a bill. most business models eat up jobs, give jobs to robots, not people, hurt the planet. so the people who we usually look to, you know, normal times, politicians, business leaders,
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you know, they can't help. and it seems to me that the help is going to come from unlikely places. >> uh-huh. >> artists, you know, strange people like these people. [laughter] >> but you're an artist, man. and i just wonder before you go if you would just bless us with some bars. >> y'all down? bernie, are you down? [cheers] >> all right. throughout history i think the great artists that have represented the times have been the ones that have been champions of the people from bob marley to tupac to john lennon. we're paving the way, our generation of artists, we're bringing that fire as well. i love to share. i'm a hip-hop artist. i'm an emcee as well. i will share a little something. we're taking back the power, bringing it to the people, we stand for justice, fight for freedom till we're treated eq l
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equal. this is our time. we build a legacy and we leave it. you all can't say my name but you know it is me when you see it. i refuse to hide. never alone. but we hungry like a pack of wolves, howling at the moon. tired of bureaucracy, sick of broken democracy. we overthrowing kingdoms, ready to break free. we're leading ships to freedom. state of energy, wake up people -- state of emergency, wake up people that have been sleeping. you can set the world afire. i can see it in your eyes, born to be a freedom fighter, born to be bigger than the cities you have come from, born to be the shadows -- born to be bigger than the shadows that you are running from. warriors, visionary artists. it is time to take this power back and finish what we started because nothing they can do will stop the waves that we have been making. this is the roots of revolution. it is the power that we're taking. [cheers and applause]
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>> i think i can say without fear of being wrong here that this is a unique presentation in the halls of the united states senate. [laughter] >> thank you very much for being with us. [cheers and applause] >> i'm 21 years old. i was born and raised in south florida. growing up, dealing with hurricanes was a regular occurrence for me and my family. i remember being really little and being afraid because sometimes my dad would have to work during the storm. but it wasn't until my family moved to ft. lauderdale, florida, that i really became closely acquainted with the
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devastating impacts of sea level rise. we moved somewhere that sometimes called the venice of america and it is well known for its beautiful waterways and coasts. my family was lucky enough to live one block away from the beach. when we moved, i started to notice that every time a storm would hit, the street in front of my apartment would flood. sometimes it would flood even when it wasn't raining. local businesses would have to put out sandbags to stop the water from coming into the shores. my parents would have to move the cars up to higher ground for parking. there was this weird thing where regular people were being forced to become experts on the ocean tidal patterns and sea level rise. on bad days the entrance to my apartment building would be blocked off from flooding. at the time i didn't know any of this had to do with something called global cli mate change or sea level rise. i knew this was an every day part of my family's life. then i went to college and i learned that my personal experiences with flooding and hurricanes were warning signs
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for more drastic changes to come for florida and the rest of the world. scientists predict by the end of the century south florida and ft. lauderdale could be up to 6 to 7 feet flooding. that would put one out of every eight homes in florida under water. i love way more than eight people in south florida and no one should have to live in fear of losing their families or their homes to rising seas. that's why i'm fighting to stop climate change and create millions of good paying jobs in the process. [applause] >> our next guest is someone who i suspect does not need much of an introduction, alexandria ocasio cortez. [cheers and applause] >> she is the congresswoman elect from new york's 14th congressional district. she is a bold progressive fighting for a green new deal
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and for other legislation, not only in terms of the environment, but in all areas, that is going to protect ordinary people against the greed of big money. alexandr alexandria, we are delighted that you are joining us this evening. let me start off with a pretty simple question. we have heard over and over again from the trump administration and from fossil fuel economists that if we transform our energy system away from fossil fuel and we become more energy efficient, and we move to wind and solar and other sustainable energy, what they are telling us, it is going to be a disaster for the economy. is president trump right? that's a hard one. i want you to think about it before you respond. [laughter] >> or is there in fact ideas out there that would enable us to create millions of good-paying jobs as we move away from fossil
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fuels? >> it's unsurprising that the response to any bold proposal that we have is to incite fear, to incite fear of loss, to incite fear of others, to incite fear of our future, but the only way we are going to get out of this situation is by choosing to be courageous. that's the only way we other going to get out of this. and first of all, it's just plain wrong. the idea that we're going to somehow lose economic activity. as a matter of fact, it's not just possible that we will create jobs and economic activity by transitioning to renewable energy, but it's inevitable that we going to create jobs. -- that we are going to create. it is inevitable that we're going to create industry. it is inevitable that we can use the transition to 100% renewable energy as the vehicle to truly deliver and establish economic
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and social and racial justice in the united states of america. that's our proposal. that's what we're here to do. because in the depths of darkness, in the depths of despair which is what we last saw -- you know, when we think about where we were when the new deal was established, we were a nation in depression, in great depression. we were a nation on the brink of war. we saw the rise of fascism creeping across in europe. and no one would have thought that a nation so poor, so scarce, and so -- in such dire straits as we were in that time could pursue such a bold economic agenda. but we chose to do it anyway. we had the courage to do it anyway. and that is what the moment demands of us right now. that's what we have to do. we have to -- this is going to be the great society, the civil rights movement of our generation. that is the scale -- that is the scale of the ambition that this movement is going to require. [applause]
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>> how do we -- and i think what we all understand is that we're fighting for the future of the planet. but what alexandria is talking about is that not only can we effectively combat climate change, but in the process, we can do good economics and create millions of good paying jobs here and throughout the world. alexandria, go into some detail. >> absolutely. it's important to also talk about the fact that this is not just an economic solution. this is the mechanism through which we can really deliver justice to communities that have been underserved. the water in flint is still dirty. the water in flint is still dirty. we've got children, van and i were talking earlier, we have got children that are choking on the smoke in california.
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those same children -- rather children mirrored of those children in puerto rico are choking on the fungal spores because we have not recuperated from the crisis and the mold from the floods has taken up all of these peoples' homes. we have injustices in this country. they are in front line communities, indigenous black and brown communities. they experience the greatest depths of this injustice, but if we chose and if we had the moral political and economic courage to say we're going to fix all the pipes in flint, we would put a lot of people to work at that at the same time. that is what this is about. [applause] >> van should ask the first question here because van literally wrote the book ten years ago on the kind of green collar economy and green jobs. >> van? >> well, first of all, i just --
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it just brings tears to your eyes to hear you. it's just unbelievable, and you know, bill and bernie and myself and a bunch of other people here, we tried to take this in 2008. a big part of obama's agenda was essentially the green new deal. i had a job in the white house to try to implement it. right wing came after me. i had to resign under fire. then they came after bill and we couldn't get it done. but i think you're going to get it done. -- and -- >> we're going to get it done. we're going to get it done. [applause] >> so rather than talk about my book "the green collar economy" -- [laughter] >> -- i have a two-part question.
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one is about you and the other is about your generation. where did you come from? why did you run for office? you told me that you went to a protest, and as a result, something happened. can you just talk about that? >> yeah. i first started considering running for congress -- running from congress, i know a lot of people want to run from congress. [laughter] >> i first started thinking about running for congress actually at standing rock in north dakota and south dakota and it was really from that activism where i saw people putting their lives on the line and native people putting everything they had on the line not just for themselves, not just so that this country can honor the treaties that we have made, but for the entire water supply, for the midwest united states, that they were putting everything on the line for others, for people that they have never met and never known, but they did know that children
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were out there drinking that water, going to drink that water. and when i saw that, i knew that i had to do something more. and you know, it wasn't even planned to be this way, but i guess it's kind of a poetry of history of sorts that that's where i started, and then the very first week sunrise -- young people at sunrise came up and asked me to join them in protest and to take that protest to the halls of congress. and it's what needs to be done in this moment. >> you know, the fact that you start as a protester and then you run for office against all odds, you win. and then join the rest of the young people. you're still protesting even while you're in power. i think that idea of being both a movement leader and a politician, which i think bernie sanders is probably the best example of, is something i think is important. the other thing i think about your politics that's interesting
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is your generation uses term intersectionality, which i have had to look up. [laughter] >> but it's -- we used to call it the rainbow coalition back in the 80s and 90s, but you guys have taken it to a different level. can you just talk about -- we had a slogan ten years ago green jobs, not jail. >> uh-huh. >> that we saw criminal justice and economic justice and environmental justice as one fight, that those kids standing on the street corners, we don't have, you know, disposable resources, we don't disposable species, we don't have disposable children in our neighborhoods either, all precious. those kids could be putting up the solar panels and making a positive difference. can you just speak to the intersectional power of your green new deal? >> yeah, it is really the core of that is leave no person behind. we cannot have a solution. we cannot move forward into our future unless every single american is considered part of
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that. and wherever we see oversights. you know, often times, when we get to the negotiating table in laws, in policy making, there's this idea that oh, we can leave the poorest of the poor behind. or we don't have to worry about this tiny sliver of the population because they are just a tiny sliver of the population. what that eventually does is that it creates a crack, and that crack really if you think of there being like a crack in the dam, it is usually where things always break down. and when we create policy the right way, with integrity, that honors everybody, from the most vulnerable to the most powerful, when we acknowledge and see every person in this country, which is really what it's about, that we have chosen not to see people in this country. we have chosen not to see people in this country until the majority of us have become unseen economically.
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working people are not seen in the halls of congress. working people are not seen in policy making. until we realize that the majority of americans are working or working poor. and we are not seen. it's time -- >> -- which i absolutely agree with is that millions of people out there are suffering, they are in pain. turn on the tv, not seen. your observations on how the media covers the pain that working people feel. >> it's through that negligence in how we cover working people. you look at this idea, i mean, i think it is funny and i think it's been this kind of interesting puzzle in how media and especially right wing media but all media sometimes treats me because in our journey i'm a
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working person that won a seat against all odds. we were outspent 4 million dollars. i had 300,000 in the bank all in small dollar contributions. and we won anyway. people didn't know what to say. people didn't know how to react. they said oh she was just a bartender. never mind the fact that i had experience in policy making, that i was an educational organizer. it is the idea that the amount of money you make for a living actually equals your worth in society. >> can we interrupt this program -- >> sorry. >> -- to make an announcement about your shoes? >> yes, yes. >> we need at least a half hour discussion about your shoes. just kidding. >> right. and the same day as this -- but it's a funny note, but the exact same day as the trump administration's climate report, which they tried to bury, which they tried to air a month early, the day after thanksgiving, that
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same day, they spent in prime time talking about my shoes. and that is what i talk about when i say being unseen, is that they won't even bring it up. they don't bring up the percentage of americans that make less than 40,000 or 50,000 dollars a year. they don't bring up the fact that we have some of the -- we have amassed some of the largest amounts of wealth in american history, but we have never seen so many people struggling and living paycheck to paycheck in the way that we are today. >> okay. bill -- >> just to bring it back to jobs and opportunity, i -- you know, people who are currently working in coal mines or people who are currently working in jobs that are -- we talk about replacing or offering new opportunity, i have a family member who is a coal miner, and he isn't against the reality of climate change. he isn't against renewables, but it is more how am i supposed to
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feed myself as this transition happens? how do you speak on that? >> great question. >> for folks who are interested in learning more about this whole movement, i suggest when we talk about transition, we talk about just transitions. transitions to renewable energy that also provide justice to all communities that are impacted, whether they are people that need to leave their homes on the shores of puerto rico, whether they are coal miners that they feel they may be transitioned out of a job. we need to have a just transition. that includes fulling funding the pensions that all of these coal miners are due, of which they are being stripped. that means that we need to -- we need to truly provide for those that are younger in their careers, truly provide educational opportunities in order for them to transition to renewable energy jobs as well. and you know, right there, you know, there's an amazing environmental activist out in west virginia, she ran for
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senate this year. she says if another country came in and bombed our mountains and poisoned our water, we would go to war. and we cannot allow that level of disrespect of our people and of our land to continue. and again, when it comes to the economics of it, we can put so many people to work. we need to refit so many pipes. we need to relay roads. we need to rebuild schools. we need to invent technology that's never even been invented yet. there's no shortage of work to do, but we need to decide to do it. we need to say we're going to do it. >> bill? >> well, first of all, just thank you so much. you've done the thing that politicians at their very best do, which is seize a moment when it appears. and the sight of you joining the sunrise movement young people in
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the speaker's office to say time for change was a galvanizing moment. it took this fall when we've had these -- one disaster after another and one huge report after another and made them politically real in a sense and such gratitude. as we go forward with this green new deal, i understand, i want to sort of just ask you a sort of a little bit about the mechanics of things going forward, as i understand it, the plan is to have a committee and then take till 2020 to sort of figure out with a lot of input where we're going. and so over the last 10 or 12 years, the movement -- the climate movements learned a lot of lessons about climate justice. in the midwest people have learned about how important stopping eminent domain for private gain would be. across north america we've learned how important tribal sovereignty is to these fights. over and over and over we have
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learned that a key lesson is not just to say we're going to do green jobs, it is going to say we have to stop new fossil fuel infrastructure because if we keep digging the hole deeper at the same time that we're digging out of it, we never get out of it. what's the sort of mechanism in your mind over the next couple of years for people to take those lessons and those concerns and help make them into this policy that maybe after the 2020 elections will be able to really do something with? >> absolutely. well the good news is that we're not starting from scratch. there's so many people like van, like senator murklel who has selected a previous committee when he was in the house. there are ways to address these small issues, whether it's our energy infrastructure, whether it's battery when we're looking at battery grids, and so on. there's a lot of work that's
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already been done. but it needs to be consolidated and brought under the tent of a green new deal. and when we try to solve this issue piecemeal, we are not going to get it solved in time. that's why we're asking for this really great ambitious singular plan, and that is why, you know, i believe that the progressive movement is the only movement that has answers right now. we're the only ones that are drawing from the lessons of history from franklin roosevelt, from some of the most ambitious projects that we have pursued in american history, and that truly again is the scale that it's going to take. so you know, i think that there's so much work that has been done and there's some outlying questions, especially when it comes to investment in technologies, when we as a public choose to invest in private -- when we as a public choose to invest in new technologies, we deserve a return on that investment, and for far too long, we gave money
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to tesla. we gave money to a ton of people, and we got no return on our investment that the public made in creating technologies. and it's about time that we get our due because it's the public that funded and financed a lot of innovative technologies, and that's another -- >> let me just jump in and thank you very much for being with us. in the next few weeks and months, very important decisions are going to be made in the house and in the senate. the truth of the matter is that the american people in my view understand the moral imperative of combatting climate change for our kids and grandchildren, and they increasingly understand that we can create millions of jobs as we do that. so i would hope that everybody has heard alexandria tonight. she can't do it alone. the other good people in the house can't do it alone. we need millions of people to stand up and tell the congress
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hey, stop worrying about the fossil fuel industry. start worrying about our kids and our grandchildren. alexandria, thank you very much. [applause] :: . >>.
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>> we did a fantastic job. >> what is there to be proud of? . >> we have to understand that to have those clean energy sources. >> and then to take advantage of those resources. [applause] and now i am proud to tell everyone how bipartisan we are. our next guest is a
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card-carrying member. [applause] and from georgetown texas with 70000 residents and has rightfully achieved a great deal of national attention because he successfully, and his municipally owned electric utility, transitioned his city to 100 percent renewable energy sources. [applause] and one of the points we want to make tonight is obviously the main issue is saving the planet. nothing more important than that. and in my view but with no
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capability to lower utility cost from the beginning. it is the rising utility cost and we have the opportunity as we transition away from fossil fuels to stabilize that. think you so much to be here with us tonight. and as we understand it and then moving away from fossil fuels so everyone is beating down the halls in my right
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quick. >> you are absolutely wrong. i would hope that's the case but that is not what we did but we made our decision based on the facts and what they would be so to eliminate the short-term markets and have electricity source we could mitigate. so with wind and solar there isn't a lot the federal government can screw up for you because there's not a lot to regulate and if we could sign contracts that does not increase over the 25 year contract. so what do we look at in ten years? that would be those in surrounding communities.
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[applause] . >> you may believe in climate change but with this republican mayor with the affordable electric bills who wants to start off quick. >> first of all, only recently that people would be shocked to hear this coming from a republican a guy who ran for president in 2008 caused by humans cap and trade to trade millions of jobs. klein make one - - john mccain's climate champion but the only thing obama and mccain never thought about.
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and with that finding to bring your sisters and brothers around? so what arguments work for the new republican party? to make the best argument is a and with the mars rover 300 miles million miles from here. and with climate change and expertise. . >> leave it to the subject matter experts to make that argument that in with that environment as well but with that economic argument you will win by default. so then when you look out here
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this is the future that i see. to be selected to office they have environmental and economic benefits with renewable energy you will see the tide has changed. we are at a tipping point it is all about cost and cole cannot compete and you say we will bring cold jobs back if you hear that it isn't true could because they cannot compete in the market that is an open market. so we look at a tremendous job creation with wind and solar and renewables like high washington state so look at texas. we are number one with solar but our solar farm is pretty
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cool it attracts the sign in the morning as it rotates so you can maximize the energy you are producing. with at 1.7 million but that isn't of those 97 turbines. when it takes them 30 days but then to say i will retire. because i think it will be there forever. [applause] . >> so to use the us as an
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example there is a city called denton texas we are the first to be 100 percent renewable the largest in the country they will be second. i understand the economics and the long-term certainty but they will go down that path just like we have. yes i'm in hollywood. [laughter] so you may have competition. [laughter] that we were out there and we gave a presentation i get back to georgetown but this is where there is green and green energy on the economic development side i get a call from a billionaire who saw a presentation and said he
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believes to invent - - invest in cities with good environmental policies he wants to invest $50 million in your city so now we figure out a way to spend this $50 million we are going to ask my wife how and she could figure it out in two weeks. [laughter] so not only is it a great thing to do it is economically right and it is the future because moral and ethical discussion right now don't we have an obligation to leave the planet better for our kids and grandkids? we cannot have that ability to do that with that visionary leaders to lead the way to make that happen. [applause] . >> one of the themes of the night that the mayors have to think about ten or 20 or 30
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years down the road. do you find you can turn this into a clean city is an attraction with new businesses? . >> it certainly helps but most of those have the city and we offer that and second first and fourth of the fastest-growing city in the united states within 50 and 100,000 and this is what the younger of people feel is pretty cool because we are innovative and progressive although it is texas and the stay in the city it is just a little red mister sanders. >> we are working on that. [laughter] but we can do and fire mentally friendly things as well as democrats but the key
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is we don't make decisions based on partisan politics but the facts and what is good for the citizens we were elected to serve. >> if i am a business person to save my electric bill will not go off the next 20 years that sounds to me like that's a pretty good investment. >> absolutely especially if you are a data center because typically the way incentives work is you can have abated sales taxes or real estate taxes we have a third component to negotiate if you have a data center you will be using an enormous amount of electricity because this is a huge benefit to a utility company. so we transfer between four and $5 million like the day facto excise tax transferring
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$45 million from the enterprise fund to the general fund paying for police fire libraries roads and parks and rec. >> do the people in the communities feel that you are sustainable and with your electric rates. >> we had to do a lot of explaining i gave a lot of speeches with our corporations and on the website there was a little resistance. it is very new and i said let's just take a look at it for a one-year. now let's take a look at it the second year. so through education and a bunch of speeches people have supported it and now not only national but international
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attention all across the globe people take pride. because this is a partisan left-wing conceit. c is some sort but we are doing it for the wrong reasons. >> you did not tell them you were first. >> i forgot to tell them. [laughter] he is in my speeches in the united states 100 percent renewable burlington vermont and then i said who was the mayor at that time? now he's currently the senator. senator sanders? but that was tremendous because really the cities and
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the counties that are tasked to provide electricity and utilities for their citizens but the federal level not so much. but without renewable energy credits expire 2020 so the fossil fuel credits do not. so you notice the fossil fuel is a mature industry that doesn't need free stuff. renewable is on the young side. so with any industry so let's have a level playing field. [applause] . >> i'm from texas growing up in a red state you mentioned doubting thomas is there
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another dimension to this? you talk about economics but i get the suspicion is deeper than that for you. >> i think it is. we have a job to leave the world better than how we found it. there is all points made about being a servant and to have a servant's heart if i could just change the world this much hopefully before i go north. [laughter] that it would be a life well lived and that is what we can expect and when i'm dead and gone they are singing songs or maybe just a little statue somewhere. [laughter]
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but in all seriousness it's about leaving something better than you found it. [applause] thank you so much. . >> united nations on climate change has informed us we have 12 years to bring this together with the transformation of the global economy in only 30 years to completely eliminate carbon pollution emissions. it is already happening all over the world often going in the right direction to combat climate change. authority have double of the needed of solar energy in the united states china raised the
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2020 goal five times the electricity that the united states has from all sources. and without explosive growth 12.3 million people which is 40 million of that total number of workers in the world and not just china european union trying to eliminate carbon pollution by 2015 and then to stop using fossil fuels by 2030 france's investing over $9 million per year for the onshore wind power capacity and solar powered generation fivefold in 2017 brazil convince china to account for 63 percent of the renewable energy $143 billion. now the cheapest electricity in the world through solar it
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is a pivotal moment for the united states we cannot continue to abandon me must fight carbon pollution mom - - continue to cut carbon pollution. [applause] . >> it goes without saying the climate crisis is not an american or chinese or russian issue. this is an issue to impact every country on the planet and it is absolutely imperative we figure this out together instead of fighting wars against each other maybe we could stand together to combat climate change. the last panelist for the evening is the director of the largest institute in berlin germany thank you so much.
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a long standing delegation to the us climate negotiations and has been monitoring some of the innovative breakthroughs in sustainable energy taking place all over the globe. doctor, clearly there are some bright spots in terms of breakthroughs with sustainable energy producing energy in many parts of the world that was previously the case and creating jobs doing that so talk about some of those breakthroughs and those innovative things that countries around the world are doing. >> thank you very much it is an honor to be here and a pleasure to be here to join this wonderful panel. of course, i have to come over from germany i flew. and with the climate crisis i
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had to neutralize my emission to be incredibly efficient. [inaudible conversations] [applause] when we think about innovation and the forward-looking approaches we have to look at different areas and policies that our innovative and business practices, innovative citizen actions and forward thinking research so to have a few examples of some areas and then we can discuss some more. one of those innovative policies from a time ago but was a game changer that the
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tariffs were interesting because it allowed farmers to get involved in the area where the utilities did not want to invest in renewables. come into the situation that we went from 6 percent to almost 40 percent today driven by the population it is great for the innovation. and second of the innovative business model there is a company what started with a young entrepreneur in the mid- twenties to have the vision to bring clean energy to rural africa where they wanted to provide that energy policy to create business opportunities
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and in combination with more than 100 million investment dollars and not even ten years in 700 employees in 12 countries to provide 600,000 people wanting to expense that to 20 million in 2023 and i think he could do it with the innovative approach you could also look to the biggest lithium ion battery ever in australia that is the tesla battery giving great services stabilizing services to the grid where we have a lot of renewables. that is innovation but i want to look more to chile all over
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the world. their rate of investment to turn around their policy they will happily be coal and gas dependent now they have become energy secure when the imported gas was not delivered anymore that is painful. they figured they had to change so they went with solar. and then it's not in my backyard phenomenon over there because so now they really want to go strong with renewables now to have 20 percent renewables they want to go 60 percent by 2035 and they are just discussing this so i think that is another policy approach for chile.
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>> let me ask you that if we had say leadership in the united states. [laughter] and around the world to take on the power of the fossil fuel industry from the energy point of view? . >> i want to see that world. it would look very different but i think we have to say we all have to become more sane than we are today. that means what do we consume? what do we drive? it is a back-and-forth between the people in the policymakers. who do we vote for? and in the future situation think of the city because it is different if you're the rural area or the city area but if you think city with mobility that is very different than today so how do i get from here to there less
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about my car or parking garage but if you go into a sharing economy hopefully by electric mobility that comes from renewable sources we have to improve that storage capacity so it would look very different from today and by the way that does not only affect states from the energy system but it is just a different society for the other ones that we love. >> thank you so much and part for reminding us they don't call it global warming for nothing. the earth is truly global. we talk a lot about the united states because we do purchase
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here but with those amazing scenes i have witnessed but that first energy they ever got came from solar panels now if you get a solar panel on the roof it is nice that you have had electricity your whole life i remember sitting around the villagers and they were handing me cold bottles of water to drink and i was grateful but it took me to understand why they were so proud to be doing it the week before there had nothing been cold in this place before. it is a miracle you can point a sheet of glass at the sun and out the back comes light and coal and information that is hogwarts scale of magic. [laughter] and the fact we are not jumping on it with everything we have is a sign of our
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shortsightedness of the fossil fuel industry which is why i'm glad you talked about the energy with the tariff. so talk about the profits from renewable energy in germany or elsewhere. for those that is the important part to make them acceptable. >> so even in germany the citizen of community involvement even of the land that they built themselves. so in many cases there were
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communities that we tend to the opportunity to build but with a certain margin of the profits and overall the job creation also has the community overall with those jobs that have been created and on his own area he got the profit just for himself. and overall worth more than 1 million citizens small entrepreneurs that were involved more than half of these renewables for the communities.
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>> it is public perception of what you witnessed in your country and how that shifted because of what was created in what is being created. >> people for the longest time were in love with solar tv. maybe it's the idea of the sun or something. but then that supported a scheme which cost them money because with the initial phase we had to put solar energy within the public scheme. so our trigger to wind and solar has reduce the cost to be stabilizing that is our big contribution from germany so now there is a debate so the
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public ownership helps but it doesn't help with everything because not everybody owns. and then to change infrastructure and then you have public debates. it doesn't come without challenges i must admit to say to have offshore wind farms can you combine this? to have the community be involved or be heard it doesn't sit with everybody that we have to think about those common goods we are working for but involve them. >> so we start out off bound
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and now it gets better and better so i think that is good but i want to brag a little bit in the us we did get beat in washington state but the communities for people of color got together to get everybody lined up and they could pass the ballot measures of $30 million to create green jobs and solar panels just like those from berlin. and it's a real victory based on people coming together and nobody was left out or thrown under the bus.
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and one of the things that we forget people doing this here and around the world having a big fight but also a good time to get a chance to meet famous movie stars this is not a bad night for me. [laughter] so can you talk about the politics of joy that i think just below the surface in terms of public perception? to create a whole boom of love and joy and just talk about the community of awesome and weird and wonderful people around the world that anybody can join? . >> coming from a research institute yes.
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we are weird. [laughter] i can tell you about a few moments that i had so one moment of joy was 2007 we were in bali. we were negotiating and where we go to the next international agreement and as a mandate to negotiate our future it was a very difficult negotiation just like the hollywood recall that bali would. but then we got it. that was a happy moment but then two years later we go to sign the deal actually a lot
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has happened to bring it to this level we had copenhagen it did not come out as we wanted it to but then a happy moment again with the paris agreement. so now that is the framework that we work under and work towards with the paris agreement meaning that global effort with that silent protection in solidarity. >> so to understand what is going on in the planet do you perceive there is a growing sense of urgency for a very aggressive response to climate change?
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to make people in countries aware that if we are going to save our country and the planet we have to move very quickly? . >> i think we are starting to feel a lot of movement because of the rising temperature. you see the storms. the droughts talking to people in germany the german oak is having difficult times and they are asking themselves what about the next 100 years? so i think it just makes it more immediate we are living in a changing climate that we have to react but not with the action that we need and with
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those investment 70 percent of the new capacity itself in 201770 percent was renewable most of the money outpacing both nuclear and coal. >> we have to wrap up pretty soon. >> i just want to say i am part of a group called green for all. not green for some. and part of our mandate wind turbines don't manufacture themselves everything that is good for the planet is a job or a contract so we can fight pollution and poverty at the same time but then to give
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them the chance. and to point that out if something can happen globally with the so-called slums with those townships that we all have the same problem and i appreciate you. . >> maybe what you learned tonight. >> i want to echo what you said about joy. it is so easy with climate change because there is a lot of fear but and then to know
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here constantly where people are now starting to talk about climate change when before i would mention it, nobody had questions to ask now we start to see that more and more. if we don't have a planet, nothing else matters. everything i am a part of does not matter. i just feel joyful we have a lot of work to do but we will all do it together. it is amazing. [applause]
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. >> look. writing the first book about climate change 30 years ago we've had a long time to think about this. we could have seize this moment 30 years ago in this congress jim hansen because of the fossil fuel industry got in the way with the world coming together for the first time but to make sure nothing happened. but ten years ago at copenhagen to seize the moment but in the last ten years the real beginnings of a movement beginning. starting with the keystone pipeline those that have the slightest interest because it was not popular.
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with standing rock. of $7 trillion or the sunrise movement. to damn well seize this moment the history of climate change with the series of moments to seize. so we will be doing the eulogy. at the pep rally. this has got to be the moment i am so thankful i was asking earlier so we have way more than that tuned in to the climate news network tonight millions of people watching this. [applause]
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in the end what changes things his movements that is what shifts and lets us do the work we won this argument 25 years ago the argument was over but so far we lost because fights are about power and money and now we can have that ourselves thank you senator sanders for organizing this and everybody who's out there doing this work day in and day out. [applause] . >> thank you for all of you to be here and watching online we
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are living in a moment of history that has never existed before we only have 12 years which is no time at all to get our act together if we believe our kids and grandchildren a place that is healthy. i want you to think for a moment that instead of spending well over $1 trillion think about making that investment how we can bring the world together we are all in this together we are china and saudi arabia in the united states, we are all in this to gather our job is to be bold
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and go forward. in a moral struggle of my seven grandchildren all the children of the world thank you very muc much. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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[applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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