Beto O`Rourke on Energy & Oil

Democratic candidate for President; Texas Senator nominee


Net zero greenhouse emissions on public lands

Q: The first thing that you would do to deal with this climate crisis?

O'ROURKE: Day one, re-enter the Paris Climate Agreement. On that same day, make sure that we lead the world in going well beyond the Paris Climate Agreement. Ensure that we regulate and enforce reduced greenhouse gas emissions from methane, and then get to net zero on public lands by ensuring we have no new oil and gas leases on federally protected lands and offshore areas that are now being drilled today. Those three steps are a great place to start and a good pace to set. And then we follow that up by making sure that we have legally enforceable standards every single year over which no polluter can emit. We make sure that we get to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, earlier if we can. And then we protect the most vulnerable communities, those who are on the front lines of climate change and pollution, making sure that we ensure that there's environmental justice in this country.

Source: CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall marathon (10 Democrats) , Sep 4, 2019

Price carbon via cap-and-trade, not carbon tax

Q: Your climate proposal is unclear as to whether or not you support a carbon tax.

O'ROURKE: We should certainly price carbon. I think the best possible path to do that is through a cap-and-trade system. There would be allowances granted or sold to polluters, not just in the energy sector but in transportation as well as our industrial sector--cement, steel, the chemicals that we produce. There would be a set number of allowances that would decrease every single year. Because the clock is running, we have a little more than 10 years left. We don't have time to experiment. So I think that is the best possible path to ensure that there's a price for carbon and pollution in our economy.

Q: Just to be clear, do you support a carbon tax? Yes or no?

O'ROURKE: No. I think that cap-and-trade is the best possible path. I think that's the best way to send the pricing signal to ensure that there is a legally enforceable limit. And so that's the path that I'm going to choose.

Source: CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall marathon (10 Democrats) , Sep 4, 2019

El Paso and other southern cities will become uninhabitable

Climate change is a personal issue for me. El Paso, Texas, is the second fastest warming city in the US today. We've had more than 14 days over 100 degrees over the month of August which broke the record for as long as we've been studying records in our community.

My son Henry, who's 8 years old, when I was talking to him the other night, he asked me, "Dad, if you win and you become president, we get to live in El Paso right?" And I said, "No, if we win, the way this works we would live in Washington DC" But he knew because I had told him about the warming that we face, that our community will be uninhabitable, not sustain human life, along this current trajectory, unless something dramatically and fundamentally changes. So the people of El Paso-- and the desert Southwest and the lower 9th Ward in New Orleans--are counting on all of us right now to stand up and be counted and do the right thing to ensure that we do not warm a degree and a half Celsius over those pre-industrial revolution levels.

Source: CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall marathon (10 Democrats) , Sep 4, 2019

Use cap and trade revenue to underwrite transition economy

Q: How would you make going green more affordable?

O'ROURKE: I was talking about cap and trade. That revenue is used to help Americans meet the costs of a transitioning economy by making sure that all of us can meet our obligations when it comes to climate change. So that's investment in those communities that are on the front lines, that's investment in making sure that you can afford solar panels or an electric vehicle. That's an investment in communities to make sure that we have housing that is closer to where people work.

Q: Would you bring back the Obama-era environmental regulations that Trump canceled?

O'ROURKE: Absolutely. Higher vehicle emissions standards, a clean power plan so that the electricity that we're generating is clean, and we completely electrify our transportation sector. So yes, let's not only reverse the damage that Donald Trump has done, and he's done a lot. Let's go much further than any administration before his has gone.

Source: Climate Crisis Town Hall (CNN 2019 Democratic primary) , Sep 4, 2019

Pay carbon cost, so we don't have to change what we eat

What we eat, what we consume, how we live is all going to have reflect the true cost of carbon and climate change and pollution. I'm confident that ranchers are going to be able to meet the targets that we set. I believe that we can be up to these challenges and reject any notion that we have to radically or fundamentally change how we eat or what we eat. I think the best way to do that is to allow the markets to respond by setting a price on carbon in every single part of our econo No new oil and gas leases offshore. No new oil and gas leases on Federally protected lands, all existing leases will reflect the true costs of pollution, climate change and carbon. I think that's the best way to keep that oil and gas in the ground and make sure that we fully free ourselves from a dependence on fossil fuels.
Source: Climate Crisis Town Hall (CNN 2019 Democratic primary) , Sep 4, 2019

Unite to keep planet from warming another two degrees

You've got to bring everybody into the decisions and solutions. We're going to mobilize $5 trillion over the next 10 years. We're going to put farmers and ranchers in the driver's seat to make sure that we capture more carbon out of the air and keep more of it in the soil, paying farmers for the environmental services that they want to provide. If all of us does all that we can, then we're going to be able to keep this planet from warming another 2 degrees Celsius.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (first night in Miami) , Jun 26, 2019

Invest in fighting climate change as JFK did with "moonshot"

O'Rourke told NPR, "We've called for an investment commensurate with John F. Kennedy's moonshot. We're going to invest in the technologies that will allow us to lead the world on this. It should be happening right here in the United States." O'Rourke continued to evoke the 20th century with a callback to the "greatest generation." He wants America to rise to the challenge of protecting the climate just as it did in resisting Nazism during World War II.
Source: NPR Morning Edition, "Election 2020: Opening Arguments" , Jun 14, 2019

Climate change a true existential threat

We're going to have to make an investment as a country. It is not going to necessarily be easy. We just celebrated the 75th anniversary of D-Day--that was this country meeting the existential threat of that day, of Nazi Germany, making the United States and the world safe for democracy. Here's our generation's opportunity to meet a true existential threat of this moment. I'm confident that that's going to bring out the absolute best in us.
Source: NPR Morning Edition: Election 2020 Special Series , Jun 14, 2019

Net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, but allow drilling

He proposed an aggressive, detailed $5 trillion plan to address climate change, calling it the "greatest threat we face." It aims for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. O'Rourke has opposed legislation that would prevent drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , Apr 29, 2019

Leverage carbon pricing; use market against climate change

Q: Would you keep the US in the Paris Agreement and commit to more ambitious targets in 2020?

O'Rourke: Yes. We must reassert our international leadership on this issue before it's too late. We need to build on the Paris climate agreement to achieve even bolder action on climate. Going back to 2015 is not enough. There's a discount, economically and politically, on anything that's decades down the road. So let's not waste time in getting moving fast in the right direction again.

Q: Do you support a federal carbon tax?

O'Rourke: We should leverage carbon pricing and the market in service of our ability to meet this challenge. There are a number of ways you can support pricing carbon into the market: You can do that through standards, the tax code, research and reinvestment. We need transparent, science-based, science-driven carbon pricing to guide our decisions as a democracy, strengthen our communities, support our workers, and unleash a robust market response to climate change.

Source: 2019 "Meet the Candidates" (NY Times.com) , Apr 18, 2019

Return to Paris climate agreement

Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Mar 14, 2019

Keep planet from warming one-half degree Celsius

He would also make climate change a top priority. "Keeping the planet from warming one-half degree Celsius, for me, is the most important for humanity," he says. He supports Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal in spirit, if not every letter. "The goal of converting to 100 percent renewable energy within a decade, I love," he says. "It's ambitious. It captures your imagination."
Source: Joe Hagan in Vanity Fair on 2020 Democratic primary , Mar 13, 2019

Unprecedented action to build clean energy economy

Q: Consider climate change a serious threat?

Ted Cruz (R): No. Doesn't believe it's real. Says data disproving it is being ignored as liberals want government power over economy, energy sector & all aspects of our lives.

Beto O'Rourke (D): Yes. "Crucial now more than ever that US & world leaders act urgently to address" it. Climate change increases droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, & other disasters.

Q: Climate Change: Limit or tax production of greenhouse gases? Support US participation in Paris Climate Accord despite President Trump's withdrawal?

Ted Cruz (R): Opposes regulating greenhouse gases. Paris Accord "would have destroyed $3 trillion in American GDP & killed 6.5 million industrial sector jobs by 2040."

Beto O'Rourke (D): Limit greenhouse gases. "Need to take unprecedented action" in building clean energy economy. Opposes withdrawing from Paris Accord.

Source: 2018 CampusElect.org Issue Guide on Texas Senate race , Oct 9, 2018

Incentivize renewable energy

Steps we can take to promote energy and environmental reforms include enacting comprehensive energy reform that optimizes the uses of current energy sources while incentivizing the innovation of new and renewable sources of energy.
Source: 2018 Texas Senate campaign website BetoForTexas.com , Jan 1, 2018

Tackle climate change: reduce greenhouse gas emissions

I believe that in tackling climate change and the greatest environmental threat we have ever faced, we need to take unprecedented action in building a foundation for a clean energy economy. Harmful emissions that contribute to climate change also pollute our air and water. Climate change threatens our food supply, our security and the complex ecosystem that sustains humanity.

I will work with other members of the House of Representatives, the Senate and our President in helping our country put together a plan that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the point where they match levels that can be absorbed by Earth's ecosystems. Educating our fellow Americans about this threat to our quality of life is important to our success, and I will do all I can to make this issue a top priority in Congress.

Source: 2012 House campaign website, betoforcongress.com, "Issues" , Nov 6, 2012

Drill for oil & gas in offshore OCS & Eastern Gulf of Mexico.

O`Rourke voted NAY Interior & Environment Agencies Appropriations

Congressional Summary: House amendment to H.R. 5538, the Interior & Environment Agencies Appropriations bill for FY 2017. This amendment would prohibit funds to be used to research, investigate, or study offshore drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Area of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

Heritage Foundation recommends voting NO: (7/13/2016): The Gulf of Mexico continues to be a very important asset for our energy future and it continues to produce significant amounts of oil and natural gas. Yet the Eastern Gulf of Mexico has not participated to this point despite its significant potential. A 2014 Heritage Foundation report said: "Excessive regulations and bureaucratic inefficiencies have stymied oil production and prevented the full effects of the energy boom." This amendment would block any potential progress that could take place by preventing the necessary work that would need to be prepared in the East Gulf for potential lease sales and eventual production.

Sierra Club recommends voting YES: (1/12/1974): The Sierra Club believes that no offshore petroleum exploration should occur unless and until the following conditions are met:

Legislative outcome: Failed House 185 to 243 (no Senate vote).

Source: Supreme Court case 16-H5538B argued on Jul 13, 2016

Other candidates on Energy & Oil: Beto O`Rourke on other issues:
2020 Presidential Democratic Primary Candidates:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

2020 GOP and Independent Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (Libertarian-MI)
CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
Howie Hawkins (Green-NY)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Gov.John Kasich (R-OH)
V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
CEO Howard Schultz (I-WA)
Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
V.C.Arvin Vohra (Libertarian-MD)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld (L-NY,R-MA)
Civil Rights
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External Links about Beto O`Rourke:

2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
State Rep.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)

Page last updated: Dec 15, 2019