Government

Pete Buttigieg plan calls for immediate action to combat climate change

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg signs a book Monday at the annual Labor Day picnic hosted by the Area Labor Council at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids. Buttigieg, who toured areas of Cedar Rapids affected by flooding in 2008 and 2016, has released his plan to combat climate change. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg signs a book Monday at the annual Labor Day picnic hosted by the Area Labor Council at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids. Buttigieg, who toured areas of Cedar Rapids affected by flooding in 2008 and 2016, has released his plan to combat climate change. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — A day after sitting down with Cedar Rapids and Iowa City residents to discuss climate change, 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg released a plan to bring Americans together behind urgent action to address its threat.

“For too long, Washington has chosen denial and obstruction as we’re faced with the imminent catastrophic effects of climate change,” Buttigieg said in announcing his plan, Rising to the Climate Challenge.

After touring areas of Cedar Rapids affected by flooding in 2008 and 2016, Buttigieg said the flooding and the increasing frequency of severe weather highlight the urgency to act.

“We don’t have a moment to lose,” he said Monday at a roundtable discussion at Parlor City in Cedar Rapids. “The deadlines is not being set by politics. It’s being set by science.”

Midwest not immune to climate change

Climate change “is happening today and it is happening in the middle of the country, in river communities like Cedar Rapids and like South Bend (in Indiana), where I live,” said Buttigieg, South Bend’s mayor.

Communities “smack in the middle of the country are as vulnerable to the effects of climate change as coastal communities in Florida or California.”

It’s unacceptable, he added, that the nation still is arguing whether climate change is real.

“We’ll know we are getting somewhere when we debate whether the Republican approach to climate change is better than the Democratic response instead of debating whether we should be worried at all,” he said.

The specifics of Buttigieg’s plan

Buttigieg’s plan calls for eliminating greenhouse gas pollution and restoring American leadership to put the world on a path to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

He wants to build coalitions to unify Americans in working toward his goals of ensuring that the United States becomes a zero-emissions electricity system by 2035 while at the same time creating more than 3 million high-paying clean- energy jobs over the next decade.

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“A farmer practicing smart soil management in Iowa should be as much a symbol of combating climate change as someone driving an electric vehicle in Los Angeles,” he said. “My plan ensures that no community is left behind as we meet the challenge of our time with the urgency and unity it demands.”

Among his goals are requiring zero emissions for all new passenger vehicles by 2035, transitioning new trucks, buses, ships and planes by 2040, and all industrial, manufacturing and agriculture by 2050 to net-zero emissions. He also wants to support sustainable farming methods and invest in soil carbon sequestration.

He would enact an economywide price on carbon and rebate the revenue to Americans, quadruple federal clean energy research and development to invest $200 billion over 10 years, and issue Climate Action Bonds to help pay for clean energy and resilience deployment.

See Buttigieg’s plan at https://peteforamerica.com/.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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