Although immigration related concerns dominated, climate issues were a key part of the fourth one-on-one debate between democratic presidential hopefuls Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. The March 9 debate in Miami, Florida was hosted by The Washington Post and Univision. Although Hilary is trying to keep up with Bernie on climate action, in this debate she was once again bested by her rival. Here are excerpts related to combating climate change, rising sea levels, fossil fuels and fracking.
Combating Climate Change
SANDERS: [H]ere in Miami as much as any city in America, we know that we have got to combat climate change, transform our energy system, and leave this planet in a way that is healthy and habitable for our kids and our grandchildren…climate change threatens the whole planet…Let’s be clear. You’re looking at the senator who introduced the most comprehensive climate change legislation in the history of the United States Senate.
CLINTON: [Climate change] is clearly man-made and man-aggravated…We also do have to combat climate change, and no state has more at stake in that than Florida. And the best way to do that is not only enforcing the laws we have, but also the clean power plan that President Obama has put forth that I support, and the Paris agreement that I think was a huge step forward in the world, that Senator Sanders said was too weak, but I helped to lay the groundwork for that. But we need more clean energy jobs and we have to do more to help small businesses. And there are certain things that the president has done through executive action that I will absolutely support. All the Republican say they will, if they’re elected, heaven forbid, repeal all of those executive actions. I will maintain them and act on them. The clean power plan is something that Senator Sanders has said he would delay implementing, which makes absolutely no sense. We need to implement all of the president’s executive actions and quickly move to make a bridge from coal to natural gas to clean energy. That is the way we will keep the lights on while we are transitioning to a clean energy future. And when I talk about resilience, I think that is an area we can get Republican support on.
Rising Sea Levels
CLINTON: I was proud a number of mayors from Florida campaign for me in South Carolina. I had a chance to talk to some of them about this issue [rising sea levels due to climate change]. It is a really serious one. And there isn’t much time left to do several things that I will move quickly to do. You can see already what’s happening in Miami, particularly in Miami Beach with tides rising. So we do have to invest in resilience and mitigation while we are trying to cut emissions…
SANDERS: You know, most of the property in Florida will be at risk in the next 50 years. I think I can get a bipartisan consensus on resilience and then implementing the president’s orders until we frankly win back enough seats, take back the Senate, and get back to bipartisan…
SANDERS: Well, you’ve got to look at what the career is about. And this is a career that has stood up to every special interest in this country. I don’t take money from Wall Street. I demand that we break up the large financial institutions…I don’t take money from the fossil fuel industry because they are destroying — they are destroying this planet through their emissions of carbon and creating the terrible climate change that we are seeing. So I think it is true that I have served in Congress for many years. But if you check my record, it is a record of strength for the environment, for workers, for seniors…
SANDERS: When you have Republican candidates for president and in Congress telling you that climate change is a hoax, which is Donald Trump and other candidates’ position, what they are really saying is, we don’t have the guts to take on the fossil fuel industry. What candidates are saying is if we stand up to the fossil fuel industry, and transform our energy system away from coal and oil and gas to energy efficiency and wind and solar and geothermal and other sustainable technologies, you know what happens to that Republican who listens to the scientists? On that day, that Republican loses his campaign funding from the Koch brothers and the fossil fuel industry. And when millions of people stand up and tell the fossil fuel industry that their profits, their short-term profits are less significant than the long-term health of this planet, we will win. That is the way change always takes place…Now, I hope that Secretary Clinton would join me if we are serious about climate change, about imposing a tax on carbon on the fossil fuel industry and making massive investments in energy efficiency and sustainable energy.
SANDERS: Now, what I believe is in fact that we have a corrupt campaign finance system. And it’s not just Wall Street, it’s the drug companies, (INAUDIBLE) received millions of dollars from the fossil fuel industry. We’ve got to overturn Citizens United and end that.
CLINTON: Wait a minute. I just think it’s worth pointing out that the leaders of the fossil fuel industry, the Koch brothers, have just paid to put up an ad praising Senator Sanders. There are a lot of different powerful interests in Washington. I’ve taken them on.
SANDERS: And by the way, while we are on the subject of energy, I hope you’ll join me in ending fracking in the United States of America.