Press opinions rip Andrew Yang on climate change ("most dangerous candidate")


EXCERPT (Robinson Meyer): During the primary debates, Democratic candidates repeatedly accused each other of using “Republican talking points.” But it was Andrew Yang who actually deployed a hyper-conservative argument on Wednesday night—albeit one that had somehow time traveled from the year 2080. Asked in very general terms about his climate-change plan, Yang, a former technology executive, made a few points. Almost all of them were terrible.

“The important number in this is 15 percent of global emissions,” Yang began, referring to the U.S. share of overall carbon pollution. “We like to act as if we’re 100 percent. Even if we were to curb our emissions dramatically, the Earth is going to get warmer. The last four years have been the four warmest years in history. We are too late. We are 10 years too late.”

[...] With some due respect: What the hell? Yang has taken several nominally true sentences and strung them together into a dangerous argument. Sure, we’re too late to avoid some amount of climate change taking hold. ... But the game is not lost. The planet could still follow a range of emission outcomes... (MORE - details)

EXCERPT: (Brian Kahn): . . . Wednesday night’s Democratic presidential debates revealed many things, but I want to focus on what was easily the most chilling moment of last night: Andrew Yang talking about climate change. In 30 seconds, Yang offered a mix of ill-informed defeatism about our ability to thwart the worst effects of a changing climate and an ill-conceived adaptation plan that would require individuals to do the heavy lifting that only a government can. Add in his climate plan explicitly calls for geoengineering, and it’s clear Andrew Yang isn’t just bad at climate politics. He has the most dangerous ideas about climate in the entire Democratic field.

[...] Yang’s response started off mostly fine, as he talked about how the planet has been exceedingly hot and that the heat waves we’ve seen this summer are part of the trend of more extreme weather. He also correctly noted the U.S. is responsible for only a portion of global emissions—that even if we stopped emitting carbon pollution today, the climate would still continue to change for centuries in response to past emissions.

All this is based on good, sound science. And the takeaway to me is the U.S. needs to assume the mantle of global climate leadership and embark on a ... mobilization of technology, research, and human capital to avert catastrophic climate change. Instead, we get this conclusion from Yang: "This is going to be a tough truth, but we are too late. We are 10 years too late.”

“We are 10 years too late” is the absolute shittiest climate messaging I could imagine a presidential candidate using. Yes, it’s even worse than Donald Trump’s braindead climate denial, which is transparently stupid as opposed to Yang’s veneer of science-backed wisdom. But the real issue is, it’s also breathtakingly, dangerously wrong.

[...] Yang continued: “We need to do everything we can to start moving the climate in the right direction, but we also need to start moving our people to higher ground.”

Okay, yes! These are both good statements, though the first part does hint at Yang’s scary geoengineering visions of dimming the sun to cool the Earth or terraforming the planet. We’re not there yet, and frankly, it’s good he didn’t go into his plan to do those things.

The latter half is particularly interesting. “Moving our people to higher ground” is an idea generally known as “managed retreat” that’s becoming more talked about in climate adaptation circles.[...] it’s actually not bad that Yang introduced this idea. But it’s how he would implement it that’s most chilling: “And the best way to do that is to put economic resources into your hands so you can protect yourself and your families.”

[...] Yang somehow thinks his universal basic income of $1,000 per month is enough to help coastal American save themselves is, I mean... Just... No. Universal basic income is not an adaptation plan. The communities that have left, or are in the process of leaving the coasts have done so with massive government intervention to buy out homes and help with relocation costs. The whole idea of managed retreat is that it’s managed and not left in the hands of individuals. (MORE - details)

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