“While the world’s scientists warn of the existential threat we face, these misguided political representatives seek to take America into a dark age of climate denial,” Brown said in a news release. “I will do everything in my power to fight this pernicious lawsuit.”
Power plants are the largest emitters of greenhouse gases among stationary sources in the United States, accounting for about a third of all emissions. The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan sets greenhouse gas emissions guidelines for each state based on current levels of pollution; on average, it would help cut pollution from existing power plants nationwide approximately 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
California already is primed to meet and exceed these new, national reduction targets, having committed to cutting emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 under an executive order Brown issued in April – the most ambitious target in North America and consistent with California’s existing commitment to reduce emissions 80 percent under 1990 levels by 2050.
Brown has been focused on subnational pacts – collaboration between cities, states and provinces around the world – to fight climate change, even as national governments seek a deal ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference next month in Paris.
A San Francisco attorney’s guerrilla campaign to succeed Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate rests upon a laser-like focus on combating climate change and a hefty dose of sarcastic humor.
“ISIS. Obamacare. Russia. The NSA. Wealth disparity. Immigration reform. Gun control. What do all of these hot issues for the 2016 election have in common? None of them matter because we’re all going to die,” says the home page at IWillNotDoNothing.com, the campaign website of Mikelis Beitiks, 32.
“Every forecast on climate change predicts severe consequences without dramatic measures. And yet, federal legislators do essentially nothing,” the Democrat wrote. “In light of this, I offer myself as a candidate for U.S. Senate. If elected, I vow to address global warming like a human being with basic reasoning and any sense of proportion.”
Here’s the basic pitch:
Beitiks on Tuesday published an open letter to Boxer (on letterhead emblazoned “From the Dining Room Table That Doubles as the Desk of Mike Beitiks”) thanking her for her service, particularly her work to combat climate change.
“In your 32 years on the Hill, you have undoubtedly formed bulletproof alliances, banked countless favors, and compiled mountains of insider knowledge. Imagine the possibilities if, to save future generations of Americans, you torch all of that in your final year of service,” he wrote. “Hear me out here – You don’t have to worry about re-election, and you never have to work with these people again. This is freedom that could change the world.”
Beitiks then proceeds to urge Boxer to “abandon courtesy, call in favors without mercy, blackmail – stuff like that” to force the Senate to approve the most ambitious climate treaty possible when President Obama goes to Paris in November for the United Nations Climate Conference.
“Then, filibuster all legislation that makes its way up into the Senate until concrete solutions on climate change are created in the house,” he wrote. “Sure, you’ll get roasted in the media for it, but so what? In 15 short months, you’ll be retired and off the grid – daiquiris, Grafton and sandy toes in Aruba, popsicle-blue surf shushing the stateside wonk jibber-jabber.”
“And, you know, I’m just spit-balling now, but the next time a fellow Senator says something untrue or unproductive about climate change, consider slugging him/her,” he continued. “Imagine how you’d change the national conversation with a well-placed right hook! Squaring up would be ideal, but a sucker-punch would work, particularly as a metaphor.”
Beitiks said Wednesday he’s a stay-at-home father of two who realized in January, when Attorney General Kamala Harris declared her candidacy to succeed Boxer, that she’s “a very qualified candidate and I’d be very excited if she got elected” yet she lacks a strong platform position on climate change.
Given that he has “a certain amount of unresolved anxiety” about the climate-change crisis, he said dryly, “It seemed like a reasonable avenue to offer myself as an idiot with a bulletproof premise … an act of political self-immolation.”
“I know a lot of people feel this strongly about it – that’s the response I’ve been getting to the campaign so far,” he added.
Rep. Mike Honda helped make the Democratic National Committee’s case Tuesday for why the Republican presidential candidates are both insulting to and bad for the Asian American/Pacific Islander community, as part of a broader DNC push to rally minority voters.
“On issue after issue, Republicans are pushing policies that will hurt the AAPI community,” Honda, D-San Jose, said on a DNC-organized conference call with reporters. “None of the Democratic candidates would even come close to the stupid rhetoric that the Republicans have put out there.”
Honda and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chair Rep. Judy Chu, D-Monterey Park, took the GOP field to task on immigration, economics, education and climate change. Chu said that as “the Republican presidential circus” comes to the Reagan Library in Simi Valley for Wednesday’s debate, “Donald Trump is clearly driving the GOP’s presidential clown car,” but a closer look at other candidates’ words and policies reveals “they’re all wearing face paint and red noses.”
Chu noted not only Trump but also Scott Walker, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson have spoken of ending constitutionally protected birthright citizenship, and Rand Paul and John Kasich have offered legislation to do exactly that. The fact that Ronald Reagan signed immigration legislation granting amnesty to up to 3 million people means he probably would be consigned to Wednesday’s “happy hour” debate for low-polling candidates if he were running today, she added.
Meanwhile, Republican disdain for setting a minimum wage and constant efforts to cut taxes deepest for the nation’s richest are not going to be “popular with the middle class and working Americans who have seen their wages remain stagnant” in recent decades, she added.
Honda – who represents the first Asian-American majority district outside Hawaii – said various Republican candidates have supported cutting class sizes and education budgets in their respective states, often showing more concern for waging war on teachers’ unions than for plummeting graduation rates and test scores.
And despite overwhelming scientific evidence of a significant human role in climate change, he said, Trump has insisted climate change is nothing more than a hoax perpetrated by China for economic gain. “And if you think he’s any different than any other Republicans running for president, you’re mistaken,” Honda said, adding they’re “living in a fictional, alternate universe when it comes to climate change.”
Chavez, R-Oceanside, is running for the seat that Democrat Barbara Boxer will vacate next year. The Democrats seeking the seat are Attorney General Kamala Harris and Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Santa Ana; the other Republican in the race is Tom Del Beccaro of Lafayette, a former chairman both of the state GOP and of the Contra Costa County committee that Chavez addressed Thursday (though he wasn’t present).
It started off innocuous before the crowd of about 50 people at the Diablo Hills Country Club in Walnut Creek, as Chavez briefly summarized his background and bona fides.
Rocky “is not a made up name, it’s on my birth certificate,” he advised them. He described his father’s U.S. Marine Corps service in the Pacific during World War II and subsequent junior-college education on the G.I. Bill while working for U.S. Steel. He spoke of his own Marine Corps service – he retired as a colonel – as well as his elected offices and his children’s college and graduate degrees.
“It’s the California dream and it’s about education – that’s one of the real strong reasons I’m running for office,” Chavez said, adding he’s been asked why he’s not a Democrat. “I could never be part of a party that ensured 50 percent of Latino boys in Los Angeles don’t even graduate from high school. … If you have no education, you have no job and you have no future.”
Then the question-and-answer period began, and the crowd’s mood began to change.
California Gov. Jerry Brown threw himself into the presidential debate fray Wednesday morning by pressing the Republican candidates to describe their plans to deal with the threat of climate change.
Brown wrote an open letter to the 17 candidates and also submitted his question using the “Debate Uploader” on the Fox News Facebook page, through which members of the public can send queries for Thursday’s debates in Cleveland.
“Longer fire seasons, extreme weather and severe droughts aren’t on the horizon, they’re all here – and here to stay. This is the new normal. The climate is changing,” Brown wrote in his letter. “Given the challenge and the stakes, my question for you is simple: What are you going to do about it? What is your plan to deal with the threat of climate change?”
“Continuing to question the science and hurl insults at ‘global warming hoaxers’ and ‘apostles of this pseudo-religion’ [ed. note: Rick Santorum’s words] won’t prevent severe damage to our health and economic well-being,” Brown continued. “Americans, their children and generations to come deserve – and demand – better.”
Brown then describes California’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and details efforts by Republicans – including former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; and current presidential candidate and former New York Gov. George Pataki – who’ve dealt with the issue head-on.
“And lest you think this movement is limited to Democrats and only embraced within our borders, the conservatives in England, the moderates in Germany, and even the communists in China are on board,” he added. “As the fires continue to burn here in California, don’t wait for the smoke to clear. It’s time to act.”
Brown issued an executive order earlier this year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 – the most ambitious target in North America, and part of California’s existing commitment to reduce emissions 80 percent under 1990 levels by 2050. Last month, he attended a Vatican symposium on climate change and the Climate Summit of the Americas in Toronto, both as part of his work to build cooperation between cities, states and provinces on climate-change pacts.
“In the spirit of the pope’s encyclical, this unprecedented gathering of global leaders is a wake-up call to face up to the common threats of climate change and human exploitation,” Brown said in a news release. “This is about the future of humanity and how we as human beings live and treat one another and the natural world around us.”
It’s a continuation of Brown’s focus on building collaboration among “subnational” governments of states and provinces to combat climate change. He attended the Climate Summit of the Americas this week in Toronto, where Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard signed the “Under 2 MOU,” a first-of-its-kind pact amongst states and provinces around the world to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius – the warming threshold at which scientists say there will likely be catastrophic climate disruptions.
Since the agreement was first signed at a Sacramento ceremony in May, 18 signatories in nine countries and four continents have signed on, collectively representing more than $5.3 trillion in GDP and 130 million people.