Beto Doubles Down on Climate Change Fear: 10 Years and It's Over


It’s good to see Democrats are treating the amount of time the Earth has left if we don’t address climate change as if it were a government contract.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez put in a low bid of 12 years earlier this year. Presidential contender and champion livestreamer Robert “Beto” O’Rourke says he can go even lower: 10 years.

Beto vouchsafed to America that we only had a flat decade left during an appearance Monday on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes,” a canny move, given that there’s no audience there and Beto’s lately been drawing crowds that could fit in a Fotomat.

The MSNBC appearance was in support of his first major policy position of the campaign: A $5 trillion package to combat climate change.

Compared to the estimated price tag on the absurd, nebulous Green New Deal (up to $93 trillion), that almost sounds like a bargain. I mean, it’ll still be absurd and nebulous, given that it’s Beto we’re talking about, but in a field where candidates are either offering policies we can’t afford or no policies at all, it’s not the worst thing we’ve heard.

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In terms of climate scaremongering, though, O’Rourke is a solid first.

His prediction regarding our impending doom came as Hayes questioned him about his relationship with the oil and gas industry, and whether he could distance himself from corporations that had supported him in the past.

“Do you see the oil and gas industry as an opponent in that? Won’t you have to declare yourself in opposition to their interests?” Hayes asked.

“Well, I think the short answer is, ‘yes,'” O’Rourke said.

“We know that certain oil and gas corporations have been fighting public policy on this issue, have been hiding their own science and research at the expense of our climate and human life. So whenever those two things come in contrast or in opposition, I’m always going to choose the people of this country.

“Having said that, I want to make sure those who work in the oil and gas industry, those who work in the fossil fuel industry, are brought along as partners to make sure that we make this transition in the 10 years we have left to us as the science and scientists tell us to make the kind of bold change that we need,” he added.

Which scientists, where? I checked the spiel about the new climate change plan on Beto’s website and, wonder of wonders, it wasn’t terribly clear on that. It’s interesting that science and scientists came up with such a nice round number for how much time we have left, though. Nature sure works in mysterious ways.

Also, I’m going to assume he means that we have 10 years left to do something about this — but who knows with Beto? I wouldn’t be halfway surprised to hear of him traipsing around an early primary state, telling embarrassingly small groups of college kids that if we don’t listen to him, we’ve only got 10 years left until the only forms of life left on earth will be cockroaches, coelacanths and Keith Richards.

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Just to save you the visit to the webpage, Beto’s panacea for climate change involves making the U.S. a net-zero carbon emitter by 2050 through investments in infrastructure, research and “Our People and Communities, especially those on the front-lines of a changing climate and those disrupted by the forces of an economy in transition, to whom we look for our inspiration and leadership.”

The proposal would also introduce new government regulations and recommit the United States to the Paris climate change agreement, according to The New York Times. Some of these changes would be achieved through executive action.

Do you think that Beto's climate change plan will help the environment?

And while it’s certainly not a major focus of the plan, I’d like to point out that this last part includes a bullet point about “[p]aid-training grants through partnership with unions, community colleges, and employers that deliver the skills to earn a job in this growing economy.”

No clue how this is going to save the world — and why focus on that anyway when we’ve got 10 years left? — but it’s always nice to see a thinly disguised sop to organized labor thrown into a climate-change initiative.

Nowhere in this farrago of liberalism is there any evidence that we’ve only got a decade left, which would be the one thing that it feels like he should be foregrounding, given the boldness of the claim.

One can almost imagine Beto’s campaign apparatchiks choosing that number in the most cynical “Price is Right”-ish way, as if to outbid Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “Oh, you say we have 12 years left? We’ll bid 10, Drew!”

In short, if you’re a Democratic contender and you want this sort of attention, you’d better get your climate change plan in before the numbers start getting ridiculous.

I can just see it: Pete Buttigieg on Ali Velshi’s show, telling us all how we have 39 weeks to avert climate catastrophe. You don’t want to be that candidate, do you? No one wants to be that candidate. Submit your bids early, therefore, before you end up looking that preposterous.

Of course, pretty much everyone will end up looking preposterous here in the end.

Keep in mind, we’ve heard the same climate end-times soothsaying for almost a half-century now. If you want a laugh, look at some of the predictions made on the very first Earth Day back in 1970.

Better yet, I’m sure there’s still a copy of “An Inconvenient Truth” on DVD available for $0.50 somewhere; if you still have a DVD player sitting around, put it in and see just how wrong Al Gore was a little over a decade and change ago.

Ten years from now, I’m almost certain we’re going to be sitting back and having a chuckle over this pompous, terminally sincere opportunist telling us all how we’re careening toward catastrophe if we don’t listen to him.

And I can guarantee you that, 10 years from now, Beto’ll be making an appearance on MSNBC, telling us we really did listen to him, which is why we averted said catastrophe — but we had better also listen to his newest plan for stopping global warming, which is the only way to prevent certain climatological doom.

I’m totally fine with that. I just hope he’s not making that appearance as a former president.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture