Andrew Yang: 2020 Climate Forum

Summary

Having generated excitement the night before with his pre-forum Yates appearance, Yang drew a strong crowd to the second session of the forum. Much like Bennet before him and the many candidates after him, he underscored the grave importance of climate change. In his words, the current climate conversation was “ten years too late.” He drew a connection between failure on climate and failure on inequality, clearing the way to pitch his classic “Freedom Dividend” to an eager crowd. 

Yang presented the universal income as a way to alleviate the suffering faced by those left behind in the wake of coal’s decline. This was paired with a broader argument for developing a stronger green energy economy. By doing so, Yang hopes to dispel the Republican-backed argument that climate change mitigation comes only at the cost of the economy. In addition, he supported carbon pricing (with an associated dividend of its revenues); a return to nuclear energy, which he views as an attractive bridge between fossil fuels and green energy; and an environmental constitutional amendment to cement the need of ecological stewardship. 

His policy-heavy approach did not come without defects, however. When asked about how he would, “outside of money,” assist coastal communities affected by climate change, Yang returned to rhetoric of a “human-centered economy.” Speaking in a college setting, his audience likely understood his intentions, but the question underscores a problem that he may have outside of academia: that he cannot translate his daring policy into the value-based rhetoric needed to win an election.

GREEN Analysis, Emily Mazur

Having generated excitement the night before with his pre-forum Yates appearance, Yang drew a strong crowd to the second session of the forum. Much like Bennet before him and the many candidates after him, he underscored the grave importance of climate change. In his words, the current climate conversation was “ten years too late.” He drew a connection between failure on climate and failure on inequality, clearing the way to pitch his classic “Freedom Dividend” to an eager crowd. 

Yang presented the universal income as a way to alleviate the suffering faced by those left behind in the wake of coal’s decline. This was paired with a broader argument for developing a stronger green energy economy. By doing so, Yang hopes to dispel the Republican-backed argument that climate change mitigation comes only at the cost of the economy. In addition, he supported carbon pricing (with an associated dividend of its revenues); a return to nuclear energy, which he views as an attractive bridge between fossil fuels and green energy; and an environmental constitutional amendment to cement the need of ecological stewardship. 

His policy-heavy approach did not come without defects, however. When asked about how he would, “outside of money,” assist coastal communities affected by climate change, Yang returned to rhetoric of a “human-centered economy.” Speaking in a college setting, his audience likely understood his intentions, but the question underscores a problem that he may have outside of academia: that he cannot translate his daring policy into the value-based rhetoric needed to win an election.