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Democratic National Convention Embraces Green New Deal

As former Vice President Joe Biden looks to wrap up the Democratic presidential nomination, his party’s policy platform is taking shape with an embrace of the Green New Deal.

Biden has touted support for the Green New Deal, but he has still faced criticism from environmental activists for not taking a strong enough stand on climate change, despite his promises to block fracking at least on federal land. Now the Democratic National Committee is taking matters into its own hands to ensure that Biden and all of his fellow party members on the ballot this fall embrace this radical plan.

Platform Committee Wants a Green New Deal

Various DNC policy committees have started meeting to design the platform that will define the party’s policy vision in advance of the national convention in Milwaukee.

The website for the DNC Council on the Environment and Climate Crisis describes its mission:

“Platform Committee members will be tasked with developing recommendations for the climate, environment and energy planks of the 2020 Democratic Party Platform on behalf of the DNC Council on the Environment and Climate Crisis. The Council, a permanent entity of the DNC, launched in February 2020 to push the Democratic Party to take bolder and more ambitious action to address the climate crisis and other environmental issues.”

The DNC Council then states the “guidelines … for policy recommendations” that includes:

“Use the Green New Deal’s vision and aspirations as a framework”

While “vision and aspirations” could be interpreted in a variety of ways, the Green New Deal that was introduced in 2019 by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) includes incredibly unrealistic ideas such as:

  • A 10-year plan to “Move America to 100-percent clean and renewable energy”
  • Moving the United States to “zero [percent emissions] by 2030”
  • Making “new fossil fuel infrastructure or nuclear plants unnecessary”
  • “Upgrade or replace every building in the U.S. for state-of-the-art efficiency”

Biden’s Support for Green New Deal

Biden has said the Green New Deal will play a key role in his policy decisions as president. The “Climate” section of his website states:

“Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face. It powerfully captures two basic truths, which are at the core of his plan: (1) the United States urgently needs to embrace greater ambition on an epic scale to meet the scope of this challenge, and (2) our environment and our economy are completely and totally connected.” (emphasis added)

And Biden has repeatedly said that he would ban oil and natural gas production on federal lands.

It’s expected that Biden will be pressured to endorse a Democratic policy platform that includes support for the Green New Deal once he becomes the nominee or he’ll risk losing the votes of environmental activists.

E&E News published a story this week describing how the activist Sunrise Movement will attempt to pull Biden towards its position of aggressive climate policies like the Green New Deal:

“To unify the party and rebuild President Obama’s successful electoral coalition, Biden likely has to win over many of the young and progressive voters that Sunrise represents.

And to pull Biden to the left on climate — at a moment when candidates usually begin to pivot to the center for the general election — environmental activists have to persuade the campaign that he’ll need their votes to win and that he won’t get them unless he accommodates their climate demands.” (emphasis added)

On the other side, Biden is already getting blowback from energy workers in crucial swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania who are opposed to the Green New Deal and fracking bans.

Bloomberg News reported:

“Many Rust Belt voters rely on oil and natural gas jobs and they’re wary of Democratic proposals, such as the ‘Green New Deal,’ that push for ‘net-zero emissions’ and would effectively put coal and other fossil fuels out of business. The party has also taken aim at fracking, which has become the lifeblood of many previously down-and-out rural communities in those states.

While Bloomberg noted that Biden “has struck a more moderate tone,” the former vice president on Wednesday said that he hopes elements of the Green New Deal will be incorporated into future relief packages targeted at addressing the coronavirus crisis.

During coronavirus briefing, Biden says there’s a chance to get a version of Green New Deal enacted “in the next round.”

— Philip Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) March 25, 2020

Environmental Activists Designing Platform

As a testament to the DNC’s support for the Green New Deal and other radical environmental policies, a number of environmental activists are working on the climate platform, including Stephen Kretzmann of Oil Change International, who is member of the platform committee.

Kretzmann has deep ties to Rockefeller foundations and other activists pushing the #ExxonKnew campaign and similar efforts to undermine responsible energy production in the United States.

He notably attended the 2016 meeting hosted by the Rockefeller Family Fund where he and other activists built a strategy to delegitimize ExxonMobil and other oil and gas producers. The meeting agenda said:

“Does this group want to establish a rapid response and coordination structure to react to new research, revelations and legal developments as they happen? A higher level of coordination with a war room, joint social media, and coordinated organizing and media pushes?”

Kretzmann also shared on Twitter an op-ed published in the New York Times written by Rockefeller Family Fund Director Lee Wasserman which outlined the #ExxonKnew campaign ahead of the New York Attorney General’s failed case against the company.

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Greg Smestad's picture
Greg Smestad on May 19, 2020 5:34 pm GMT

A network of business leaders and advocates has formed that will hold events (e.g., webinars, virtual mixers & conversations) that may clarify both the position of the DNC and Vice President Joe Biden on the Green New Deal and these issues. It is called Clean Energy for Biden (CE4B) and its website states that it is made up of entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists, installers, technicians, environmental advocates, lawyers, investors, policymakers. URL: https://www.cleanenergyforbiden.com/about

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