There Is an Important Climate Solution Democrats Never Talk About. But Why?

Humanity needs to start pulling carbon out of the air.

Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty

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This story was originally published by Grist and appears here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Academies of Sciences, and scores of researchers around the world agree on this fact: To prevent dangerous levels of climate change, it’s likely that humanity will need to start pulling carbon out of the air. The leading Democrats running for the White House, however, don’t seem so sure.

Many of the contenders support using natural carbon sinks, like soils and forests, to suck more carbon out of the atmosphere, according to climate plans the Democratic candidates have released over the last few months. But only three of the top ten candidates—Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and Andrew Yang—are explicitly calling to invest in technology that does the exact same thing, despite the fact that many experts believe limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) depends on it. And yet none of the candidates calling for so-called negative emissions technology took the opportunity to talk about it during CNN’s 7-hour climate crisis forum last week.

“My own view is that we have to take carbon out of the air and the water and put it back underground,” said Leah Stokes, a climate and energy policy expert at the University of California Santa Barbara. “We cannot just put it in the soil and the forests. And that is not something that very many candidates understand or are talking about.”

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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