Dems’ Unity Platform: Combat Climate Change, Build Clean Energy Economy, and Environmental Justice

The Democrats will hold their virtual Convention this week, and even had it been in person, the usual drama and disputes are nowhere to be found — the party has unified around the ticket and the platform, and climate change and environmental issues are a huge priority.  That’s not to say it was all smooth sailing.  In late July, according to E&E News, the Party added to the platform climate change provisions championed by progressives including an amendment to endorse the goal to keep global warming less than 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial times, and for the United States to do its “fair share” when compared to other nations to reach that goal.

Why This Matters:  Taking a step back to recall where the Democrats began in early 2019, with the Green New Deal and the rise of progressive voices on climate in the Congress, many expected at that time that the divisions would widen and worried that a shift to the left might splinter off centrist Dems and play into the hands of the President and Republicans.  Oh, what a difference 18 months makes.  Climate crises have impacted every region of the country, and the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored a point long understood by Black and brown communities — pollution was harming their health and prosperity.

Senator Harris Reinforces EJ As a Priority

As we explained last week, Senator Harris approaches climate justice from a prosecutorial lens and much of her own presidential climate plan focused on holding polluters accountable for the damage they’ve inflicted on vulnerable communities as well as strengthening laws to prevent these actions going forward.  When Senator Harris teamed up with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in introducing a new and improved version of their climate “equity” legislation, Inside Climate News explained that climate activists saw it as a hopeful sign of Democratic unity.  They reported that the Sunrise Movement is now supportive of Harris.  Its political director said, “she is responsive to activist and movement pressure to make climate a top priority,”  adding that “with the right people in power, ‘we might make the first down-payments on the national mobilization necessary to confront the climate crisis over the next decade.'”

What to Expect Each Night

Monday:  The Keynote is Michelle Obama.  Bernie Sanders gets a co-starring role – and that is the best chance for hearing anything about the environment or climate change on opening night.  Best of the rest: potential breakout Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Senators Amy Klobuchar and Catherine Cortez Masto, Representative Jim Clyburn,  and the Governors Republican John Kasich, the former governor of Ohio, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Performances by Maggie Rogers and Leon Bridges, if you are just watching for the entertainment.

Tuesday:  The Keynote is Dr. Jill Biden, with former President Bill Clinton in the co-starring position.  But they might call the 9 pm hour Climate Crisis time because Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and former Sec. of State John Kerry (a big FOP) are leading the pack, along with Chuck Schumer, plus “rising stars” Stacey Abrams, Jonathan Nez, president of the Navajo Nation, and mayors Robert Garcia of Long Beach and Randall Woodfin of Birmingham. Sorry, no singing in prime time.

Wednesday:  The Keynote is VP Nominee, Senator Kamala Harris, with former President Barack Obama right after her.  It is powerful ladies night — in the 9 pm hour, you get the trifecta — Hillary Clinton, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  Performances by Billie Eilish and Jennifer Hudson round out ladies’ night.

Thursday: The Keynote is of course Joe Biden.  The leadup to him is an impressive list of also-rans and Tammys — Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, Cory Booker, and Senators Tammy Baldwin and Tammy Duckworth.  Plus a dash of Keisha Lance Bottoms and Gavin Newsom.  The Chicks will rock “the house” virtually, of course.  And then we all throw confetti in our living rooms.

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