Caught on video: Libertarian Gary Johnson makes a mockery of climate action


Young voters should think twice about supporting someone who believes it's a waste of money to fight climate change because the sun will eventually "grow and encompass the earth."

My colleague Matthew Chapman writes about Gary Johnson's highly questionable environmental policies:

As we have noted before, there is a great deal to dislike about Johnson. He wants to eliminate the federal income tax. He keeps flip-flopping on Citizens United. He wants to abolish mandatory vaccination. He has very weird ideas about public accommodation laws. His grasp of foreign policy is laughable. But there’s one thing in particular millennials should find disturbing about Johnson: his views on the environment.

In a piece in the New York Times, economist Paul Krugman lays out a troubling picture of Johnson’s environmental policy: Get rid of all regulators and laws, and simply encourage anyone hurt by pollution to sue the polluters directly.

Johnson’s idea puts the cost of preventing environmental damage on low-income taxpayers who would need to shell out hundreds of thousands in legal fees. This is an inherently reactive, not proactive, policy. It relies on corporations paying after the fact for damage they have caused, rather than preventing them from causing damage. And private litigation of many environmental abuses the government currently polices would simply be impossible.

If a corporation dumps carcinogenic sludge in your backyard, obviously you have standing to sue, but what if a corporation is, say, bulldozing an endangered tortoise nesting ground out in the woods somewhere? Who has standing to sue over that? And what about climate change? What would a lawsuit over global CO2 emissions look like?

Ultimately, the very people who would be hurt the most by Johnson’s policy would be the millennials who are taking his candidacy seriously.

In that context, watch this recently unearthed 2011 video:

Gary Johnson is hardly worth serious consideration for anyone who values action on climate change.