Saturday, November 17, 2007

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting

I'm at this event with RJ Eskow, DDay and Dante from Calitics, and several real MSM press folks:

Los Angeles, CA – For the first time in history, presidential candidates will take part in a forum focused on the issues of global warming and America’s energy future this Saturday, November 17th at the Wadsworth Theater in Los Angeles. The forum will be webcast live beginning at approximately 2:00pm PST, 5:00pm EST at:

Senators Hillary Clinton and John Edwards and Congressman Dennis Kucinich are confirmed to attend the presidential forum sponsored by Grist ( and PRI’s Living on Earth ( The candidates will present their plans to address global warming and energy issues in a series of interviews with journalists and experts in the field. All candidates from both the Democratic and Republican parties have been invited.

Updates will come as events unfold. I'm not sure if we can actually liveblog the event, we'll see.

We've also been promised (maybe) some actual face time with the candidates, so that could be interesting.

Update: David Dayen at Calitics is live blogging. RJ Eskow also live blogged.

Update: Cleaned up, edited for clarity, grammar, spelling, hopefully.

Kucinich (no notes, spoke well)

Great to be at forum not sponsored by coal industry. Tribute to Rachel Carson, Al Gore, others; called upon to talk about direction; drives a Ford Focus, vegan diet, personal choices-how do you live?

US must lead the way to abolish all nukes, participate in climate change talks.
Says our gov't is retrofitting B2 bombers with stealth tech and bombs to bomb iran; says his would be a “Works Green Administration” with environmental consciousness in all aspects of gov't. All gov't department involved in sustainabilty:
  • Transportation: mass transit;
  • Housing: green housing;
  • Energy: disincentives for coal/nuclear, incentivize solar, microtech;
  • Health: preventive health care;
  • Education: teach environmental principles.
  • Labor & Interior: disincentivise reduction of natural resources, land, no uranium mining on native American land.
K: Can challenge any & all industries; of/by/for the people; (huge applause).

Q: We once had a vp who wrote a book about climate change, got no action in congress; what can you do to reverse dynamics?
K: Cleveland once had mayor who believed all institutions should be public; imagine a pres who isn’t tied to interest groups; no hesitation to go over congress’ head to people.

Q: People fear losing jobs?
K: High energy costs in NE caused by investment in nuclear energy; resistance generally from interest groups, who control gov't.

Q: Is pension enough to offer workers
K: I support a guaranteed income, dividend! No one should be homeless, hungry.

Q: I'm not sure coal miners will be satisfied with guaranteed income; squeezing of jobs overseas
K: Energy companies, other countries have plans to build new coal powered plants around world; UN report will have much impact; clean coal is oxymoron; pay miners what they are used to; HR3300 bipartisan; new tech = new jobs, will lower utility bill, etc. Monopolies won't happy, but tough for them.

Q: People most harmed by Global Warming live in 3rd world countries, how do you help them?
K: Cap & Trade is a phony solution; we must reduce carbon footprint; islands starting to be flooded by rising ocean waters; losing our capacity for moral reasoning (in constitution); trade agreements must include workers’ rights, and environmental quality principles.

Standing ovation.

Hillary Clinton (lots of boos during intro)(speaking from notes)

This is appropriate location for forum because California leads on environmental issues; UN report today, has laid out plan; some still hold the disgraced view that no action is needed, we can’t fiddle while world warms.

Air pollution causes 24k premature deaths, 1/3 child asthma cases; what should we not to do? Look at the last 7 years. More dependence on foreign oil now than on 9/11.

Today you will hear applause for some speeches, but I hope we’re here to be serious (implying Kucinich isn't serious).

3 goals:
  • 1: Reduce greenhouse gases,
  • 2: Cut foreign oil imports,
  • 3: innovation in clean air efficiency.
California has held per person electricity use flat for 30 years; sadly, many people believe case for Global Warming hasn’t been made yet.

Market based cap & trade is the way; she is only candidate who could hit the ground running: issue Executive Order-all new federal buildings would be carbon neutral; take tax subsidies away from gas & oil companies; raise fuel efficiency standards for autos.

US treasury will issue Energy Independence Bonds, sell bonds; use money for energy investment.

Will create National Energy Council, National Energy Advisor; Recommend new treaty to replace Kyoto.

Partial standing ovation (note: a Code Pink heckler was led out by police. I had taken a bathroom break, saw him loaded into police car.)

Q: Last 3 Presidents vowed to work reduce greenhouse gases, what’s different about you?
H: GWBush had no intention to work against climate change, Bush41 did good job, Clinton/Gore did good job; there are 3 major differences now:
  • 1. People’s awareness greater now than 7 years ago.
  • 2. The world is moving to global commitment; US doesn’t want to feel left behind because other countries doing good job, need to reassert global leadership.
  • 3. Commitment can work when electorate, congress, ready to act.
House & Senate each passed good energy bill, we'll see what eventually comes of it; she will use executive orders.

Cosponsor of Boxer/Sanders bill, but any bill out of Environmental committee will be vetoed by GWBush.

Especially important to work with China; say to them: if you continue to use coal, you need to work toward carbon sequestration; we should work with them on demo projects, wind, solar, etc. We’re not trying to slow China & India down, we’re trying to help their economy.

Applause, standing ovation.

John Edwards

The system in DC is broken; gives thanks to Gore; the world knows Global Warming is a crisis. Politicians are too afraid to rock boat, elected leaders overrun by need to spend time chasing money; oil companies spending $$$ to make sure we are addicted to oil.

Today's UN report is more evidence than anyone should need; US will send a representative to conference in Bali with no clue.

I came out early and aggressively on Global Warming, we need to lead the world, create new energy fund by auctioning pollution permits, repealing oil co subsidies.

The cap & trade system will have effect on fossil fuel costs, prices will go up; it's a political strategy doomed to failure. Sacrifice will be required, change won’t be easy.

Elizabeth & I sat in hospital room, decided to continue my Presidential campaign to “tell truth” (invoking sympathy).

Bell Labs, a US company invented the solar cell in 1954, now 95% of solar cells are made overseas. I read that “Foreign firms envision wind farms in US”-why aren't US corporations thinking the same way?

I will pledge:
  1. Will cut carbon welfare subsidies to oil and energy companies;
  2. New era in innovation, smart electrical grids, safer;
  3. Seed innovation, low interest loans to homeowners, industry;
  4. New market; utilities –separate energy sales profits from innovation.
These steps will mean higher energy prices for a while, families will ultimately come out ahead, after sacrifice; we should be patriotic about something other than war. The Greatest Generation during/after WWII did great things; this is the moral test of our generation: will we leave our children a better world, as our grandparents and parents did?

Now is time for Dem party to be bold, stand up for what we believe in; We need to leave behind political calculations.

Q: Calling on people to sacrifice? How did we (as a country) get there? You’ve sacrificed a lot-how do you get America to sacrifice?
JE: There is a hunger to act as a national community; to take action, to “ask not what your country can do for you...”. We’re not going to be careful, not going to be politically cautious. I will call on Americans to sacrifice. The government is corrupt:
  • Why no universal health care? Because of drug companies.
  • Why no attack on Global Warming? Oil companies. Narrow interests run the government.
Q: Talking about shared sacrifice, burdens will not shared in all locations, like coal country?
JE: No more coal fired power plants until carbon sequestration is implemented. Families in coal regions: make polluters pay; money from cap & trade to help families; this will create 1 million new jobs, where? Generate them in hardship areas: rural, inner cities.

Q: Should rights to pollute be auctioned off to help people?
JE: A portion of it, rest to developing technologies.

Q: Impacts will hit world’s most vulnerable hard? What can America do to help?
JE: America providing miniscule help; the world will face difficult time. Be willing to invest in infrastructure, drought resistant crops in 3rd world. 3 billion people live on $2/day.

America needs to be a leader, but isn’t. We should lead the effort for education,\; spend $50 billion in AIDS prevention; clean drinking water; microloans.

The only way to be credible leader is to lead.

Q: How can America lead on climate change? Our credibility is shot; the world thinks we went to war over oil.
JE: We have enormous responsibility to lead, the world needs to see America act in an unselfish way. We’re an example of bad behavior, we need to re-establish moral leadership. We need to end war in Iraq, reverse things:
  • Guantanamo;
  • Illegal spying;
  • No more rendition, secret prisons.
Why as a country do we debate about torture? What is wrong? It's not our America, we need to take it back.

Q: Reality is, none of the bills will pass, we need 60 votes. Should we compromise or hold out on better legislation?
JE: The most powerful weapon: don’t sit at conference tables with industry and lobbyists & scared politicians. If we act like we did in working toward civil & women’s rights, the politicians will follow.

We need public campaign financing; there are practical politics involved. We need to increase strengths in House & Senate; America wants change, something different. We need to weed out corruption, status quo. I am certain I can go into swing state and be helpful to the Democratic cause (is this a concession that he may not win, but would work for Democratic candidates?).

Q: The candidates are out ahead of media, how to get through media filter?
JE: All the media consolidation ia a bad thing! (applause in press tent). Big corporations are bad; the Presidential debates spend more time sniping, not talking about issues. The media are more interested in horse race, not substance.

Standing ovation.

Press tent:

John Edwards:

1 thing to say, as recap: Global Warming is a huge crisis, we need to take bold action, weed out corruption, influence of oil, gas, energy companies.

Q: McCain/Lieberman bill?
JE: Not good enough.

Q: Difference between you and Hillary?
JE: I came out early, more emphasis on losing corruption, different position on nuclear power: I don’t favor any new nuclear plants.

Q: As we implement ideas into marketplace, changes may not happen fast enough?
JE: I support a 40 mpg standard by 2016, but any standards need to be fluid, to take advantage of new tech.

Q: LA is planning a subway to sea; what is role of mass transit?
JE: Mass transit good thing; we should be very aggressive in projects.

Q: Global Warming: bigger issue than war on terror?
JE: No bigger issue over long term. End the war, change health care, but this is anout saving lives, preservation of planet.

Organizers & panelists available for Q&A

A: We heard a lot of visions, bold plans, ideas. We want more forums, more candidates.
A: More companies say they need federal funds for Global Warming help.
A: Heckler displeased with Sen. Clinton.
A: Energy policies so complex, debate hard.
A: Plenty of good in the proposed energy bill: tax credits, CAFÉ standards, mch that could be done immediately.

Q: Water supply crisis?
A: Water untold energy story.

A: Initiatives coming from bottom up: cities, counties, etc.; the message will drive DC.

The End.

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