Former US presidential hopeful John Kasich talks climate change at UBC Connects event

Former Ohio Governor John Kasich spoke to students on Tuesday about his life and the threat posed by climate change.

Kasich, a former Republican primary presidential nominee, was speaking as a part of UBC’s Connect series. He spent most of his political career in the United States House of Representatives before becoming Governor of Ohio from 2011 to 2019. Kasich stepped down as Governor in January 2019 and is now a CNN senior political commentator.

He began his talk by addressing his early life. As an 18 year old student at the University of Ohio, he was invited by President Nixon to come and speak with him after Kasich had written a letter to the president about his opinion on Nixon’s performance.

Later, he would help gather delegates for Ronald Reagan’s unsuccessful 1976 presidential campaign. He said these experiences gave Kasich early exposure to the realities of political life.

But the central issue of the night was climate change.

Kasich described a need for “bottom up” action on climate change led by citizens rather than government. He emphasized that the US is starting to “wake up” to the facts surrounding global warming and its effects.

Tangibly, Kasich advocated for a carbon tax to pressure government and large corporations to lower carbon emissions, and a “cap and trade approach” to provide incentives for corporations to lower their pollution levels.

Throughout the talk, Kasich stayed relatively clear of mentioning President Donald Trump’s administration and its lack of initiatives on climate change. But he did heavily criticize the decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement.

“The United States has no business withdrawing from the Paris Agreement,” said Kasich.

“... That’s out of line.”