Beto O’Rourke Explains His Plan to Combat Climate Change

Today, democratic candidates for president gathered in New York for a major climate crisis town hall, the first of its kind. The first presidential candidate to release a detailed climate plan,
Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke, joins the program to discuss how he would combat the crisis.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Talk to me about what you think you can achieve in this town hall where all the Democratic candidates will be speaking about climate?

FMR. REP. BETO O’ROURKE (D-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You’re right. It’s exciting that this is happening. And I’m grateful to CNN. But I’ve got to think that CNN is also responding to the pressure, the demand from their viewers, and these young people who are meeting this crisis with the urgency that it demands. They get — they listen to the scientists even if our president does not. They get that there are about 10 years left to us as a civilization, not as Democrats or Republicans, or even Americans, to get this right. They get that the storms that we’re seeing that are about to make landfall in the southeast part of the United States, that the floods, the droughts, the fires, the international refugee crises, the civil war in Syria precipitated by the greatest drought that country had ever seen, all of this is connected to our emissions, our excesses, our inaction in the face of the facts and the science and the truth and they’re just not going to wait around for those of us in positions of power and public trust to get this right. So, how do we respond to that? We follow their lead. We meet this with the urgency that it demands. We free ourselves from the dependence on fossil fuels that has helped to create this problem. We ask those in rural communities, farmers and ranchers and producers, to be able to do their part by paying them for environmental services like planting cover crops and regenerative agriculture and ranching. We make sure that we invest in those communities in Florida and the Carolinas that are at the front lines of climate change right now and their resiliency so they can survive these storms that are only going to get bigger and more frequent and dump more rain on their communities. And then we invest in the technologies that will allow us to dominate the future when it comes to preparing our civilization and ensuring that we do not warm another degree and a half over preindustrial revolution levels. That is a tall order but I know that America is up to that challenge in large part because of those young people who will ensure we will be.

AMANPOUR: Let me talk to you quickly about the politics of the border wall because we’ve just heard that the Pentagon has approved President Trump’s request to divert many billions to funding the wall. How do you fit — you’ve just talked about refugees and migrants —

O’ROURKE: Right.

AMANPOUR: — the people coming up from Central America into the United States with the climate crisis? Because they say it’s quite a big reason for the shift of their population.

O’ROURKE: Absolutely. You’re seeing Guatemala endure one of the greatest droughts that country has ever seen. Not caused primarily by the people of Guatemala nor by God nor by mother nature but by all of us in the Northern Western world, in the first world, our emissions that have contributed disproportionately to the changing climate that is disproportionately impacting them.

About This Episode EXPAND

Beto O’Rourke joins Christiane Amanpour to explain how he would combat the crisis, as well as his stance on gun control and his standing in the race for the presidential nomination. Ernesto Araújo, Brazil’s Foreign Minister, discusses the Amazon rainforest fires. George Takei sits down with Hari Sreenivasan to discuss his new memoir, “They Called Us Enemy.”