Presidential candidate Andrew Yang on Wednesday compared automation to climate change, saying that they are “easy to ignore at first, but already having calamitous effects and set to accelerate.”
The automation of our labor is a lot like climate change – easy to ignore at first, but already having calamitous effects and set to accelerate.
— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) September 4, 2019
During CNN’s climate change forum on Wednesday, Yang tied his flagship $1,000/month “Freedom Dividend” proposal to various solutions, arguing that it would help Americans move to “higher ground” and become more economically secure so they can care more about climate change.
“That would help citizens of this country protect themselves in a natural disaster,” Yang said. “Because we all know when Hurricane Dorian or Hurricane Harvey hits, who suffers? Poor people, people of color, people who don’t have a car they can get into and just drive to some — some relatives’ house. So we need to actually start protecting ourselves.”
Yang’s climate plan, which includes plans for reforestation, calls for a “constitutional amendment that creates a duty on the federal and state governments to be stewards for the environment.” Yang also proposes using thorium reactors for nuclear energy.
At Wednesday’s climate change forum, Yang claimed that giving Americans more financial security would increase their trust in government institutions, especially when it comes to climate change.
“We’re living in a country where 78 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, almost half can’t afford an unexpected $500 bill. So when you come to them and say hey, we have your interest at heart, they have their heads down and there’s not much optimism or faith,” Yang said at the forum. “So the freedom dividend of $1,000 a month, it has many effects, but one thing it does, it gets people’s heads up. And studies have shown that getting the boot off people’s throats economically, one, it gets them focused on the big problems like climate change, because it’s very hard to focus 10 years in the future if you’re worried about next month’s rent. But the second thing it does is it restores public faith and optimism and trust in our institutions, and then we’ll be able to galvanize more energy around relocation over time.”