Beto: Government Will ‘Fund Resiliency,’ Pay Farmers to Fight Climate Change

Democratic presidential hopeful former US Representative for Texas' 16th congressional district Beto O'Rourke gestures as he speaks during the first Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida, June 26, 2019. (Photo by …
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) said at the Democrat debate on Wednesday that the federal government should subsidize cities hit by natural disasters he claims are caused by climate change.

He also said his administration would “fund resiliency” and pay farmers for their “environmental services.”

“Congressman O’Rourke, you also put out a big climate change plan from your campaign,” NBC’s Chuck Todd said. “You want some big changes in a pretty short period of time, including switching to renewable energy, pushing to replace gas-powered cars in favor of electric ones.”

“What’s your message to a voter who supports the overall goal of what you’re trying to do, but suddenly feels as if government’s telling them how to live and ordering them how to live?” Todd asked. “What is that balance like?”

“I think you’ve got to bring everybody into the decisions and the solutions to the challenges that we face,” O’Rourke said. “That’s why we’re traveling everywhere, listening to everyone.”

“We were in Pacific Junction, a town that had never meaningly flooded before, just up against the Missouri River in Iowa,” O’Rourke said. “And every home in that community had flooded.”

“There were farms just outside of Pacific Junction that were effectively lakes, those farmers already underwater in debt, their markets closed to them by a trade war under this administration, and now they don’t know what to do,” O’Rourke said. “We in our administration are going fund resiliency in those communities, in Miami, in Houston, Texas, those places that are on the front lines of climate change today.”

“We’re going to mobilize $5 trillion in this economy over the next ten years,” O’Rourke said. “We’re going to free ourselves from a dependence on fossil fuels, and we’re going to put farmers and ranchers in the driver’s seat, renewable and sustainable agriculture, 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, and ensure that we match what this country can do and live up to our promise and our potential,” O’Rourke said.

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