BOOKER: So this is where study and science is really important. So let's deal with the facts and the data. When I was mayor of the city of Newark, I used to have strong people come in with strong opinions & strong emotions. I used to say, "in God we trust, but everybody else bring me data." And we need to look at the numbers right now. So my plan says that we need to be at a zero carbon electricity by 2030. That's 10 years from the time that I will win the presidency of the United States of America. And right now, nuclear is more than 50% of our non-carbon causing energy. So people who think that we can get there without nuclear being part of the blend just aren't looking at the facts.
BOOKER: Let's understand the reality we're in right now is young Republicans, millennial Republicans are really with us. I'm not one of these people that wants to vilify an entire party. The reality is the people that need to be vilified are Republicans in Congress who are the only major political party on the planet Earth whose leadership denies the science of climate change--remember in Europe, there are right wing parties, left wing parties [and all believe in climate change]. The battle we have right now is the obstruction that is going on by the Congressional Republican Party. And what is important, is that this is as much a cultural battle as it is a political battle, which is letting folks know who aren't with us.
BOOKER: Absolutely yes. I will ban offshore drilling. Why? Because where have these leases, we know they drill, they spill. Ask Alaska. Ask California. Ask the Gulf Coast. Destroying the environment. If my goal is to get our electricity zero carbon emission, that means phasing off of fossil fuels. To get to net zero carbon emissions by 2045 for our whole nation, we have to get off of fossil fuels. So why would I allow new leases? But this is not just offshore drilling. This is things like fracking on public lands--
Q: That was my next question. Would you ban fracking?
BOOKER: Right away on public lands. Absolutely yes.
Q: Just on public lands?
BOOKER: No, no. Let me finish. We will transition off of fossil fuels, natural gas, coal, oil. We must transition off so that those things are something of the past and the innovations and the breakthroughs in technologies lead us into a future where we dealt with [methods like fracking].
BOOKER: Oh my gosh. Let's go right at this because I hear about it all the time: "Booker wants to take away your hamburger."
BOOKER: That is the kind of lies and fear-mongering that they spread out there, that somehow the Democrats want to get rid of hamburgers. Look, I am a vegan. I take my diet very seriously. I actually became a vegetarian when I was still a college football player. But this is the point: We live in a society right now, with the corporate consolidation that we're seeing, where the farming practices are becoming so perverse. And so let me tell you where we've got to go as a country. Freedom is one of the most sacred values--whatever you want to eat, go ahead and eat it. But I'm not going to be a president that's giving tax breaks to people who are destroying our environment.
BOOKER: The disasters--from Chernobyl to Japan--trust me, when you live in a community as New Jersey does with nuclear plants--and my mom who lives in Nevada and all the righteous fights to protect what they plan to do at Yucca Mountain, I'm very aware of these things. And so I decided, I'm going to read everything I can about nuclear, I'm going to visit with nuclear scientists, and this is the exciting thing. Next generation nuclear, where the science is going, is to me, at first it sounded like science fiction. Where the science is going right now is "new nuclear": where you have no risk of the kind of meltdowns we're seeing, where they eat spent fuel rods. We actually can go to the kind of innovations that make nuclear safer or safe.
BOOKER: We may be noticing the fires but the crisis of the disappearing of rainforest on this planet have been happening every single day. More and more rainforest is being torn down, principally by the way for grazing lands and large international corporate animal agriculture and more. We have a crisis at a time that my plan calls for the planting of billions and billions of trees from urban areas that desperately need them to all throughout our nation. And by the way, they hear that number and they say, "oh, he's a big dreamer." We did it under FDR which was the last time we had the most massive period of reforestation from something that I'm going to reinvigorate, called the Civilian Conservation Corps.
We need to start to understand that this incredible amount of resources we're pouring into our military. We need to begin to not just bleed our economy trillions of dollars spent in wars overseas. [Investments that] will actually fuel our economy by creating a multiplier effect benefit in terms of economic growth, and in terms of jobs.
The above quotations are from 2019 CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall .
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