#Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate, was being interviewed on “This Week” on ABC when the question was put to him about #Climate Change, the theory that human use of fossil fuels in pumping greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere is raising the temperature of the Earth. Johnson offered an unusual policy prescription for the problem, according to the Washington Examiner. He said "we do have to inhabit other planets. The future of the human race is #Space exploration.”
Space exploration and even space colonies are not wild, out of the box policy proposals. Both major party candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, have expressed support for exploring space in general. Concepts such as mining the moon and asteroids and even settlements on Mars have passed from the realm of science fiction to real-world ideas, being pursued by such commercial companies such as Moon Express and SpaceX.
But the context that will likely make Johnson’s statement akin to Newt Gingrich’s “moon base” moment is the idea of moving into space to leave an Earth ravaged by global warming. The idea of abandoning the only habitable world in the solar system seems to be beyond the pale, even to climate change skeptics and certainly to those who think it a problem.
In fact, Johnson missed the most obvious answer by not suggesting that the science is not settled in regards to climate change, the rantings of people like Al Gore notwithstanding, and that we need to be careful before enacting measures that will damage the world economy such as arbitrarily phasing out fossil fuels. In the meantime, research and development of energy technologies such as solar, wind, nuclear, and even fusion would be entirely appropriate policies for a government to pursue.
Unlike Gingrich in 2012, Gary Johnson was never going to be elected president. Despite the reservations many have about both Clinton and Trump, American voters have never quite warmed up to Johnson. He never cracked the 15 percent polling threshold needed for him to be included in the presidential debates. Whether Johnson has ensured that no serious person will mention space exploration or space settlements ever in a political campaign remains to be seen.