New Jersey Senator Cory Booker employed his usual inspirational rhetoric throughout his Climate Forum conversation, emphasizing his commitment to viewing all of his policies through the lens of the climate crisis. Drawing upon his background as the former mayor of Newark, Booker told stories of how he regularly saw vulnerable communities be unequally affected by climate change. With environmental injustice as a key component of Booker’s plans to face the climate crisis, he plans to empower local communities by giving them the legal authority to sue and fight back against the corporations that are killing them. Furthermore, Booker plans to invest in mass public transit that would both aid underprivileged communities and cut down on the nation’s carbon footprint. While Booker supports the proposed Green New Deal, he refused to make any definitive plans on filibuster reform to help it pass.
While refusing to prioritize any one issue on his first day in office by saying that he “will do it all at the same time,” Booker still plans to tackle the climate crisis as soon as possible through a myriad of policies and programs. One focus of Booker’s climate agenda is his support of executive orders and legislation that incentivize big businesses to utilize climate-friendly practices. He said that under a Booker administration, tax breaks for fossil fuel companies would be rolled back and government contracts will only be awarded to those companies that actively work to minimize their carbon footprint. Booker also recognizes the role that corporations play in the political obstacles of fighting climate change. With this in mind, he stressed the need to eliminate fossil fuel corruption in politics via lobbying and campaign money.
Booker also called upon ordinary American people to do their part in fighting climate change. While the Booker promised not to force his vegan lifestyle upon the general populace, he did express his belief that “voting happens when you choose what to do with your dollars” and that mindful consumerism is a necessary part of climate reform. In the closing minutes of his conversation, Booker passionately expressed his unity-based campaign and climate plans, saying, “This must be an era where we have a more radical love in this country, a more courageous empathy in this country, a more activist citizenry. If we do that, the problems that people say are impossible now–we will achieve them together.”
GREEN Analysis, Hunter Congdon
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker was well apprised on the issue of climate change, and was particularly focused on issues of environmental justice. His campaign has released plans to transition the US to a carbon-neutral economy by 2045. Senator Booker was right to emphasize the importance and urgency of action on climate change, and to incorporate issues of environmental justice and disproportionate impact on low-income and minority communities. He also pointed out the importance of a holistic approach “Everything we do must be done through the lens of the climate crisis.” Though sidetracked sometimes by audience questions on issues not directly related to climate, Senator Booker did appear to possess the determination and leadership to see his plans through if elected.