As individuals, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris had received a grade of B+ by Greenpeace USA on their environmental record. 75.5/100 and 77/100, respectively. The Democratic Platform they may bring to the White House however is a miserable failure.
Greenpeace USA gave the Democratic Platform a 52/100. A grade of C+. Where I come from, anything less than 60 is a big F. The low marks come days after the DNC platform dropped its support for ending fossil fuel subsidies. A decision that angered environmental groups across the country.
According to Greenpeace, their grades are based on whether candidates intend to “end the fossil fuel era by enacting policies to halt oil, gas, and coal expansion, phase out existing production, and center fossil fuel workers and climate-impacted communities in the transition to a renewable energy economy.”
The environmental group also considers whether they will “mobilize towards 100% renewable energy for all, creating millions of family-sustaining, union jobs, and securing a better future for communities that have borne the brunt of fossil fuel industry exploitation.”
The low marks are due to a multitude of problematic positions. The platform received a 21/50 for plans to phase out fossil fuels and 31.5/50 on the transition to clean energy. The platform also makes no mention of a Green New Deal.
Charlie Jiang, a Greenpeace USA climate campaigner urged Democratic Party leaders to pursue bolder policies going forward. “The Democrats have an opportunity to galvanize millions of young voters with an ambitious, visionary climate platform, but they’re making a mess of it,” he argued. “This platform is a step backwards, and we deserve better.”
The hard truth is we are nearing the end of the road. Soon there will be no going back. The time for middle of the road policies or half measures were over a long time ago. On the surface, it may sound like the right approach during a pivotal election year, but it is not a good way to win over young voters who stand to inherit the hell we leave behind.
Greenpeace and Jiang both acknowledge that Republicans have no environmental plan at all. In fact, their policies and open denial of global warming have made things considerably worse. As Jiang explained “That doesn’t mean the Democrats can take their feet off the gas. We expect action at the scale that science and justice demand.”
Indeed. That is what our elected officials are expected to do. It’s why both Biden and Harris campaigned during the Democratic Primary on dropping fossil fuel subsidies. Now that the Democratic National Committee has, almost secretly, removed an amendment calling for an end to those federal subsidies, who knows what their real intentions are.
If the Biden/Harris ticket wins the White House, progressives, liberals, environmentalists, and anyone who cares about the planet we live on, will have to hold their administration accountable. Electing them is a step forward, not forcing them to act would be another step back.