Wagner-Bartos Address Climate Change At York Town Hall
Ticket Explains Debate Is Not Over Existence, But How We Balance Caring For Environment With The Impact On The Economy
Does Tom Wolf Support His Running Mate’s View That We Need A 100 Percent Renewable Energy Plan?
Watch the full clip of the exchange HERE.
QUESTION: Thank you for taking my question. My name’s Jeremy, and I’m proud to be from York County. And I’m proud to see some of my friends and neighbors here in York County starting to demand action on climate change. There was an editorial in the York Dispatch the other day talking about how there’s been all these record rain storms this summer and people’s basements getting flooded, and all the damage. And as you know that’s only going to get worse with climate change over time. So I want to give you a chance to–you know, you talked about the ‘young and naive,’ I think you alluded to it at the beginning–I want to give you a chance to address it. So, am I young and naive for wanting a safe future so I can raise my family here in Pennsylvania, and what’s your plan to move us to a 100% renewable energy economy so we can all have good jobs and a safe future?
SCOTT WAGNER: Well, I appreciate you being here. You posed your question differently, so I don’t consider you–you may be young, and, my young and naive comment was not meant to be an insult. I was asked a question about money I took from the fossil fuel industry. I’m 62 years old; the young lady that asked the question was 18. I have a little bit more experience than she does, and that was really–it wasn’t meant to insult her in any way. And, my 25 year old daughter will tell me there’s times that she’s young and ill-informed. So, maybe it was a bad word or bad choice. Listen, climate change is happening. But let’s be realistic. I don’t have an agenda to go to a complete 100 percent renewable energy program because it’s not realistic. I use waste trucks–and it’s not feasible–it isn’t going to be cost effective that we would have electric trucks. We’ve done a lot of research. We have stayed away from natural gas in our fleets for many reasons, and we continue to run diesel. And every two or three years, all the manufacturers are mandated by the EPA to change their emission equipment on their trucks. And today I could take you to Penn Waste–we could leave right here, get a white towel with Downy on it, and we could put it over the stack of the truck, and we could run that truck for ten minutes, and you pull it off, and you’re still going to smell Downy. I’ve done it. I’ve been to Mac Trucks. And the reason we don’t run natural gas equipment is because it doesn’t have the tork in this area because of the hills, up and down. It works great in Florida. It works great in Texas. But at the end of the day, we have subsidized a lot of the renewable industries. And if windmills can be income-producing on their own and we don’t have to subsidize them, I’m all in favor of that. I think the Tesla cars are great. But also there’s a large issue that we’re going to have with the Tesla cars, like at some point, what are you going to do to dispose of all these batteries? That’s going to create a whole other problem. So there’s a lot of dialogue that we have to have, and listen, if anybody thinks that as governor I can go into the governor’s office and flip a switch and think that I can change all this, I can’t. But what I will tell you is–and this is very troubling to me, and I guarantee you this happened in the last thirty days–all this rain that we’ve had? The City of Harrisburg can’t handle all the stormwater and the sewage. They dumped raw sewage into the Susquehanna. That’s a big problem. And it’s true, and it’s happening, and it’s happening in other cities. We have a lot of outdated infrastructure in Pennsylvania, and I’m telling you, it’s breathtaking. I was in a municipality in western PA, Monessen, which is down along the Ohio/West Virginia border. They need to rebuild, they need to replace their whole sewer infrastructure in the city, and it’s going to cost $60 million. And I can tell you the residents if you go there, there’s no way they can afford this. So, listen, I love to ski. I’ve watched how the snow patterns have changed. Probably the biggest winter ever of my life was when I was 16 years old. I don’t know how many feet of snow that drifted, and I remember driving a jeep that I had over a snow drift that had drifted over a Met-Ed truck, and the truck was under there and you never knew it. We don’t have snow falls–but the rainfalls today are amazing. So, again, there’s a lot of dialogue that has to happen, and I think that if you came to my company and I showed you what we do–we buy the latest and greatest, and most of our equipment comes from Mac Trucks. If you go to Mac’s research and development center, they are spending a tremendous amount of time on emissions. But, I would assume most everyone came by car today, and we put gas in our car. And there may be a Tesla or two in the audience. And I get it. I want to make sure–our job–I’m 62, and I’m not sure how old you are, but I want to make sure that you’re left–
SCOTT WAGNER: How old? Twenty-two? I want to make sure that you’re left with the world that I have lived in. That’s what’s important. And I think we have a dialogue. And I will tell you this quick story. If you remember during the Obama Administration, on a Monday morning, the federal government wrote a check for $500 million to a solar company called Solyndra, and Friday afternoon five days later, after they cashed the $500 million check they filed bankruptcy. And I believe a business needs to be self-sustaining. Not every business can be subsidized. So, there’s a lot of dialogue.
JEFF BARTOS: I’m just going to jump in and say, because I know there’s been a lot of conversation about this: climate change is happening. Man’s activities, or man and woman’s activities, children’s activities, people–humans’ activity is contributing, is impacting the rate of climate change. And I think the most important policy debate that we can have as citizens over the coming years and probably decades, is what is the balance we can strike in addressing climate change, but also addressing the impact on our economy. And I’ll just use extremes. I think none of us want to wreck the economy to move the hundred year degree .8 degrees celsius. Maybe there’s someone who would take that policy prescription. I wouldn’t, and I think the vast majority of people would not. On the same hand, we can’t be in a position where we turn a blind eye and don’t make investments both as a society and also of course amazing technology and amazing companies out there addressing how we can use less and less greenhouse gas-causing technologies. So I think finding that balance between meeting the needs of the economy and all of the people who live here and also the needs of the planet is a massive policy challenge. It’s something that your generation is absolutely going to lead on–is already leading on–I think it’s outstanding that you are. I remember at age 16 forcing my parents to drive me down–they didn’t let me drive then–to drive me down into Reading to take stuff to a recycling center. Scott runs, and has run for a long time, a recycling business that diverts lots and lots of waste from landfills–that would otherwise go to landfills–into recyclables and then reused, either shipped overseas or recycled here. So you have two people who absolutely understand the balance that needs to be struck. I think there has been a lot of misinformation and misconceptions out there about whether–so I want to say it again: climate change is happening, human activities are contributing to it, and the policy debate that we need to have and continue to have, and I think that will be a really important policy debate, is what is the balance to strike. What is the balance to strike. And I’ll just give you my view, which is outstanding companies and technologies will lead the way towards addressing how humans can impact less, or have less impact on climate change. And here in Pennsylvania, most importantly, and I know this is not going to get cheers from everybody–the United States cut its carbon emissions over the last decade far more than the European Union, even though the European Union manages its economy, because we have natural gas. Our natural gas bounty, and I understand it’s a fossil fuel, and I understand there’s carbon emissions associated with it–our natural gas bounty is leading the way in the world towards addressing emissions. We don’t get enough credit for that as a nation, and this remarkable movement that’s happened in our country over the last decade is at least bending the curb in terms of emissions. So let me just submit this to you, and I’d submit to anybody who cares about the issue: there’s no reason why Pennsylvania can’t lead the nation in both clean technology, whether it’s solar, wind or other geothermal or other reusable, renewable sources, but also as part of that, lead the world in using our natural gas bounty here to reduce carbon emissions both through the United States and all the developing countries around the world.
This is now the second time in a few weeks time that the ticket has fielded a question on climate change at a town hall meeting open to all Pennsylvanians. Tom Wolf has not addressed the issue in front of voters during this election. In fact, he recently dodged questions about climate change from the very voter who he criticized Scott Wagner for not engaging with properly.
The goal of the climate change activists in Pennsylvania is to urge the next governor to move to a 100 percent renewable energy economy. Tom Wolf’s running mate supports these activists, calling himself their “fanboy”.
Therefore, the people of Pennsylvania should probably get an answer from their governor about whether or not he stands with his running mate on unrealistic climate change solutions, or whether he favors the Wagner-Bartos approach.
It’s too bad Governor Wolf doesn’t have town halls where he could make his positions on such issues clear to the public.