Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
podcast_1400-MiddayEdition.jpg
KPBS Midday Edition Segments

Rep. Peters Explains Why He Doesn’t Like The Green New Deal

 August 22, 2019 at 8:59 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 You may have noticed an increased focus here on KPBS on covering the threat climate change poses and to tell stories about how it's affecting us here in San Diego. We continue that today on the KPBS climate change desk environment reporter Eric Anderson talks with San Diego Congressman Scott Peters, who is the only democratic representative in the county who says he is not supporting the green new deal. Here's that interview. Speaker 2: 00:26 We're speaking with Congressman Scott Peters here at the KPBS studios. Uh, you have a position on the green new deal. What is it? I don't think it's the, I don't think it's bold and I don't think its action. Look, I totally support the enthusiasm that it's brought. I'm really happy to see that, um, voters appear to be interested in what I've been interested in for 20 years, which is climate action and they're taking votes based on that. Uh, but the green new deal, um, is not bold and that, um, it doesn't bring anybody else in it. Um, it is the easiest thing in the world to go talk to a bunch of people you agree with and give a fiery speech. The hard thing is to go to the middle of the room, find people that maybe you don't agree with, uh, and get them to, to work with you on solutions and action means bringing Republicans to the table. Speaker 2: 01:11 The problem with a green new deal is what two is. One is it's just basically there's no legislation in it. You have to follow up with legislation to actually implement it, but to, it contained some things in there that I just don't agree with like guaranteed jobs from the federal government and a free college. We could talk about those separately, but it, it tends to push people away from the issue where we really need people to come together to get to, to um, net zero by mid century. Okay. You've come together with your climate playbook. Right. Um, explain to me what that is and how that works rather than looking for something divisive. We, we decided to look for all of the solutions that are out there already. I mean the, the big difference is not that this election brought awareness on climate. It brought Democrats into the majority and a lot of us had been working on these things, haven't been able to get them to the house floor because leadership wouldn't let us let us do that. Speaker 2: 01:58 Uh, so we're looking at what we can do. We've already agreed on bringing, uh, bringing United States back into the Paris agreement. What can we do on d decarbonizing electricity industry, um, manufacturing or agriculture, uh, transportation. What, what can, where can we agree on things like adaptation? What are we going to do about the effects? We know will come from climate change already and many of these bills that are out there already are bi-partisan and we can get them passed. I think one thing people need to realize is that, you know, the green new deal [inaudible] is not any of those actual steps. Um, if you pass the green new deal today, you'd have to take these actions tomorrow that I'm already onto that. A lot of the bills in your climate playbook actually referenced the green new deal. We want, what we wanted to show was that if you wanted to implement the, the green new deal, uh, you wanted to achieve those goals. Speaker 2: 02:46 We all, we all agree we need to get to, um, a net zero carbon emissions by mid century. You need to take the steps we've outlined in the green new deal. Now we're going further and we're trying to prioritize those things. What would make the biggest difference? And we're continuing to work, uh, to find out what would really help us come together and save the planet. But the notion that we are able to snap our fingers and get through this, um, is really misguided. I think what had made progress so far in that climate playbook, we passed HR nine, which is an effort to get the United States back into the Paris agreement, uh, which every other country in the world is part of, which is the notion of we're all gonna come together and solve the climate crisis together. We've asked in HR nine for president Trump to um, to give us his plan if he doesn't like the plans that were out there before we passed nine of the bills and the climate playbook through my committee, the Energy and Commerce Committee in the house. Speaker 2: 03:36 Uh, those go to the House floor and we're working on bipartisan approaches, um, for new bills, whether it's on methane capture or, uh, treatment for tax treatment for, um, new baseload energies like hydro-power or geothermal. Um, and for accounting better for extreme weather that comes from, uh, climate change. We've actually passed the bill on that, uh, through the house and into the Senate. Talk to me about your district. How is your district going to be affected as the climate changes? Uh, back in 2010, I was chair of the climate initiative for the San Diego Foundation and one of the things we did was we funded research on that very question. There's three main effects in San Diego County. One is sea level rise, one is more, um, intense wildfires, which we've seen I think over over the past decade or so. And one is water supply issues throughout the state. California is going to be faced with water supply issues. Um, those are all effects of climate change that will be, felt be felt here in San Diego. Congressman Peters, thanks for your time. Appreciate it. Thanks very much. Speaker 1: 04:33 Joining me is KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson. Eric, welcome. Thank you. Congressman Peters told you he's busy writing up legislation on climate change issues, but in this congress, what's the likelihood of getting them passed and signed into law? Speaker 3: 04:50 Ah, well that's a very good question and it's not that he's writing all these bells. These bills are all being put together by different members of Congress and he's kind of collecting them into this climate playbook that he has. Uh, the chances of getting them through congress. He talked about HR nine, which was the bill for the United States to reenter the Paris climate accord. Uh, our recommendation that the United States do that it will never see the light of day in the Senate. Mitch McConnell will never let it get to the floor for a vote there. And that legislation, if by some freak accident got to the Senate and approved, would not be approved by president Trump. So, uh, I think there's recognition even with him that, that many of these efforts that he's putting forward are sort of laying the groundwork for the future. And he's hopeful that, uh, you know, once some of these obstacles, uh, if these obstacles get removed, the house and the Democrats will be in a position to act on climate change. Speaker 1: 05:47 Now, your interview with Congressman Peter is his only one in a series of conversations you're having about climate change in San Diego. Why are you beginning these climate conversations? Speaker 3: 05:57 Sure. This is something that we've been doing all year, uh, this year, and it's a, an attempt to kind of, uh, make climate change, which is this big, far reaching global complex issue, uh, break it down into chunks that are a little bit more manageable to understand. We did a story earlier this year in imperial beach and some of the struggles that low lying community has with rising sea levels. Uh, we're in the process of doing a story with the, uh, airport authority, uh, where they're looking at how sea level rise might impact, uh, the airport, which also sets a little bit low. Uh, right next to San Diego Bay. Uh, we've looked at, uh, how the ice caps, um, uh, on Greenland and in the Antarctic might have an impact on sea levels here. Talk to a couple of, uh, uh, researchers at scripts about that. Um, and, and the idea of these stories and, and we'll continue to do these moving forward. The idea of these stories is just to kind of pick an issue and look at how that manifests itself here in San Diego County and how real world impacts have real world effects on people. Speaker 1: 07:07 It's you, you, you look at climate change that occurs sometimes very far from San Diego and find out how we can wind up hurting us or changing our condition here. Can you give us an example? Speaker 3: 07:18 Oh, sure. One of the things that, uh, we looked at earlier this year was a, how quickly the ice is melting in the Antarctic. And the Arctic has this huge reservoir of ice on land. As it melts that water goes into the ocean and it pushes up sea levels, uh, here in San Diego. And it could excel. If it melts rapidly, it could accelerate, uh, that sea level rise rapidly and that has real world impacts all along the coast and San Diego County. That's something that people are going to be dealing with. Um, the big question in many of these, uh, climate change issues is not what is going to happen, but when is it going to happen? And that's really the difficult thing to pin down. Uh, because as I've, uh, learned from speaking to some of the researchers at scripts, the outcomes are, are hard to define. The timelines are hard to define because, uh, humans still have an opportunity to effect, uh, what the end result will be. And so it depends on what we do, uh, as people, uh, and affecting our own environment. Speaker 1: 08:22 And it's not just people who live near the coast too, who have to be concerned about the changing climate. Let's consider perhaps what it means to buy a house and live in El Cahone as the climate changes. That's the kind of information that you're following, isn't it? Speaker 3: 08:37 Sure. Yeah. And you look at alcohol and it's a great example of a place where heat will become an issue. As the climate's temperature, the average temperature warms, it'll get hotter for longer periods of time. And El Cahone Santi, some of those east county neighborhoods are our communities are places where the housing is a little bit more affordable. But then when you look at it, uh, with the impacts of hotter conditions, maybe the utility bills don't make that housing as affordable cause you have to spend much more to keep your house cool because the condition outside is hotter. And then, you know, if you have people that are living on fixed incomes who are senior citizens, uh, heat is a big threat health wise. That's a public health problem. Uh, in an area like that, Speaker 1: 09:24 your stories are also part of a larger effort called the KPBS climate change desk. Why such an emphasis on this subject now? Speaker 3: 09:34 I think the big key is that we are beginning to see the impact of climate change. We've, uh, been talking about this issue for many years. Uh, but there are real tangible things happening now that are linked directly to climate change. Wildfires is another big issue for us here in southern California. Um, wildfires are bigger. They're more intense, they're more destructive. And that's happening because the climate temperature is going up. So we want to be able to make the connection between what's happening on the ground, uh, what's happening in our communities, what's happening in our, our counties and what's happening with our lives. Speaker 1: 10:17 Well, we will be looking forward to your next story. I've been speaking with KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson. Eric, thank you. My pleasure. KPBS is preparing a week long series of special reports on climate change. San Diego's climate crisis begins Monday, September 16th on KPBS radio, TV, and on our website. Speaker 4: 10:38 Okay.

MiddayEd_generic-new_YSgkETc.jpg
San Diego Congressman Scott Peters does not support the Green New Deal but he does think congress should be taking action to protect the environment.
KPBS Midday Edition Segments