Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Rubio Grilled By College Republican On Climate And Energy Policy

Like most of the GOP presidential contender field, Marco Rubio has shown no reluctance to embrace ignorance, prostitute himself to Christofascists, and reverse prior sane positions in order to win the votes of the ugliest elements of the GOP base.  The problem is that younger Republicans - like more and more Americans - are rejecting the governmental policies of advocated by the Koch brothers that allow the pillaging of the earth and treatment of workers as disposable garbage.   And they also are less slavish in the devotion to far right religious dogma.  Marco Rubio got a taste of this at an Iowa town hall last week.  Think Progress has these details:

When Dan Herrera asked Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) about the environment at a town hall meeting in Iowa last week, it almost seemed like a set-up. 

After all, environmental groups have been known to plant their advocates among the crowds of Republican candidates’ events across the country, attempting to pressure them on issues like clean air and climate change. And Herrera’s question was framed the way any good environmentalist would ask it — first, an appeal to Rubio’s Catholic faith, and then, a direct question about specific policy.

“Pope Francis in the past couple days said a lot about the environment,” the 20-year-old Herrera said, smiling into the brightly lit stage where Rubio stood. “What environmental policies, if any, will you implement if you’re president?”

As it turned out, Herrera was not a member of 350.org or NextGen Climate Action, but a member of the Augustana College Republicans. Located at Augustana College just across the Missisippi River, the group was is dedicated “to promoting the ideals and candidates of their party.”
The Republican party — at least in Washington, D.C. — has been roundly accused of being anti-environment.

But among young Republicans like Herrera, the climate tide seems to be changing.

“Look, we all live here,” Herrera told ThinkProgress after the town hall.  . . . I think that in the current pathway we’re at, that’s not going to be a possibility.”

Young Republicans like Herrera are far more likely to support government action on climate and the environment than their older counterparts. 

Before the first Republican debate, the groups Young Conservatives for Energy Reform and the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum gathered to promote their version of conservative environmentalism — “ending government subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, boosting energy efficiency, advancing renewable sources like wind and solar power and moving away from the idea that ‘drill baby, drill’ is a solution.”

Herrera’s views largely aligned with that version. “Why are we still subsidizing oil? That shouldn’t be subsidized anymore. We should be supporting air and ethanol and solar,” he said. 

“The amount of permanent jobs we can come up with in the clean energy industry is phenomenal,” he continued. “When I go to a wind farm, I see actual people working on [turbines] and talk to the designers — I see actual jobs out there. And I think that’s where the Republican solution comes in. It is very possible to stimulate the economy while continuing to produce jobs.”

Herrera criticized Rubio for not publicly accepting the science of climate change, which states that the phenomenon is caused by carbon emissions and will be catastrophic if those emissions are not reduced. Rubio has recently said he doesn’t think climate change is a problem.

Herrera thinks that presidential candidates will continue to face those kinds of questions from GOP Iowans.

“[Iowans] are so very intimately tied with the land, they’re recognizing that the climate is changing and that as a human race … we’ve been awful stewards of the land,” he said. “That should have changed years ago, but it didn’t. And we can’t change the past, so we need to act right now.”

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