Joint Biden-Sanders Climate Task Force releases results

By Varshini Prakash from Sunrise

If you’d like, you can read the full platform recommendations here. The DNC platform draft starts on the first page, and the full list of climate recommendations begins on page 42. 

Here are some highlights of policies and programs we pushed Biden on, and which were ultimately included in the final product.

  • Climate Ambition
    • Achieve 100% clean electricity no later than 2035, 100% clean new buildings by 2030, and standards for 100% clean new vehicles as soon as possible
    • Historic investments in mass transit, green public housing, and other 21st century sustainable infrastructure projects
  • Green Jobs
    • Champion a “Climate Corps” that supports a new generation of young workers to tackle the climate crisis through good-paying jobs that meet labor standards.
    • Ensure all workers are guaranteed the right to join a union, collectively bargain and are guaranteed labor and health standards in any climate or Green New Deal related jobs and projects
  • Environmental Justice
    • Create an Environmental Justice Fund to make historic investments in environmental justice projects (e.g. eliminating legacy pollution from toxic waste sites, remediating lead in paint and pipelines, ensuring safe wastewater and water systems in low income communities and communities of color)
    • Respect indigenous sovereignty: Commit to upholding regulations in a way that strengthens tribal sovereignty and ensures tribal consent on projects involving land in which tribes own even a fractional interest. Commit to early and ongoing consultation with tribes to identify and work to appropriately mitigate or address concerns regarding major infrastructure projects.
    • Implement Equity Screen on all major federal spending, policymaking and infrastructure investments, including climate, energy, environmental, housing, and transportation and map disadvantaged communities where funding should be prioritized
  • Hold polluters accountable
    • Hold corporate executives personally accountable for affecting the health and safety of workers and communities, such as intentionally hiding or distorting material information, including jail time where merited.
    • Implement a “climate test” on all new infrastructure to stop fossil fuel expansion
  • Sustainable Environment
    • Plant over 16 billion trees by 2050, including in urban areas and prioritizing communities of color and low income communities
    • Rebuild regional food infrastructure to ensure that local market infrastructure is in place for family farmers to sell a wider range of products and protect small and medium-sized farmers and producers by strengthening enforcement of antitrust laws.
    • Implement components of a “Blue New Deal”

These are just some of the topline victories. Overall, we moved Biden’s benchmarks around decarbonization to be far more ambitious. Now our metrics will be gauged on timelines of today and tomorrow, of what we will achieve in the next 5, 10, 15 years, not 30 or 50. This is a huge victory.

We vocally advocated for, and were joined by all of the other appointees in shoring up the environmental justice components of Biden’s climate plan. While Biden previously, got a 3/20 on the environmental justice section of our Green New Deal scorecard, this platform is far more responsive to the unequal world we live in, and to addressing the effects of environmental racism, classism and injustice.

I want to be very clear: there are some specifics and commitments we didn’t get, where I wish the platform had gone further, or where I was at odds with what ended up in the document. These are the areas we need to keep pushing.

I wish we’d been able to clarify the scale of investment, jobs, etc. that Joe Biden will achieve regarding proposals like a Climate Corps, or the level of investment we plan to leverage over the next 4-5 years towards building a renewable energy economy. We have a historic opportunity in front of us with tens of millions who need employment in better jobs than they had previously in our broken economy. We have to keep making that opportunity clear. I also really wished we had gone further on the discussion of how we are going to specifically phase out all fossil fuels, and stop promoting false solutions like carbon capture and storage. We needed to stop burning fossil fuels yesterday if staying below 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius of warming will be more than a pipe dream.