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Next week, Tom Steyer will be with MSNBC, New York Magazine and Our Daily Planet, at Georgetown University for #ClimateForum2020 – a chance for students to question Democratic Presidential candidates about their ideas and plans to tackle the climate crisis. We were fortunate to get an exclusive preview of what he will say.
ODP: Are you looking forward to our #ClimateForum2020 next week where you will get to hear from young people about their concerns about the Climate Crisis? What do you hope to achieve at the Forum?
TS: Absolutely. I hope to hear from these activists on their solutions to the Climate Crisis and engage with them on my thoughts for a Civilian Climate Corps.
ODP: Why are young people so important to the climate movement and how do they factor into your path to winning the Democratic nomination?
TS: I founded NextGenClimate in 2013 to engage, register and activate young people on this issue. They understand that this is not a policy fight, it’s a fight for their future, their lives, and our planet.
ODP: California has been at the forefront of battling climate change. Since you will be the only candidate at our forum from the state, how do we translate their successes to the national level?
TS: Not only do I live in California, I am also proud of my role in beating Big Oil by closing corporate tax loopholes there. Working on the ground in coalition with local communities and organizations we successfully passed a ballot initiative that provides $1.7B in funding to schools for money-saving investments in energy efficiency, clean energy, and electric school buses. Another measure I successfully led was the No on Prop 23 coalition which defeated a ballot initiative sponsored by out of state oil interests that would have rolled back California’s nation-leading climate laws.
ODP: You put out a report earlier this week detailing how climate action can create 46 million new, good-paying jobs over the next 10 years. But that is a big number. Would some of these jobs be created anyway, even without your plan?
TS: The jobs estimate is based on the assumption that we invest $2 trillion, which leverages another $4 trillion, and additional jobs that come from building a 100% clean grid, compared to business as usual assumptions. Historically, we have dramatically underinvested in infrastructure, so our presumption here is that this investment is over and above current levels. We believe this is one of the most robust jobs calculations done to date and the number of jobs we found demonstrates how ambitious climate action truly will take workers from all sectors to succeed.
ODP: How do we keep climate change in the news and the political conversation after the Climate Forum next week?
TS: Climate change is a crisis as big and urgent as any other that this country and our planet has faced. It demands our immediate attention on all levels of government and society. It is frankly, why I am running for president. Our country needs a strong president who will make this a top priority. On my first day in office, I will declare the climate crisis a national emergency and use the emergency powers of the presidency to implement a plan to build a safer, more sustainable world, with or without Congress. This is truly a global crisis, and it is long past time for the United States to take the lead in solving it.
Thank you so much for speaking with Our Daily Planet – we will see you at #ClimateForum2020 next Friday!
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