Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Phillips 66, and Marathon Petroleum, the nation’s largest oil refinery company, work behind the scenes of statehouses around the country to roll back car emissions standards. Exxon Mobil and the Koch brothers fund think tanks like the Heartland Institute and other efforts to create doubt on global warming, and they have captured key elements of the Republican Party. In the 2017-18 election cycle alone, the oil and gas industry contributed $82 million to Congressional candidates and elected officials.
The world’s top scientists tell us there’s only 11 years to take preventative action get fossil fuels out of national economies. But Democratic leaders are acting like they don’t understand the urgency of the problem. The Democratic Party has no plan to address the greatest threat to the earth and human existence.
We need a Green New Deal – a massive program of investments in clean-energy jobs and infrastructure, to decarbonize the energy sector and transform the economy to make it fairer. The key components of a GND would be 100 percent clean energy; a transition to a just economy; and massive public sector investments. The GND would create jobs in solar and wind energy, efficient buildings, public transportation, clean water, and public health.
Instead of forming a Green New Deal committee, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer worked to form an advisory body with no mandate to come up with a plan, no subpoena power to bring fossil fuel executives s to account for their contribution to the oncoming climate catastrophe, and no rule that members of the committee cannot receive fossil fuel money. In the Senate, Chuck Schumer assigned pro-coal Senator Joe Manchin as the Democratic Ranking Member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. This is a colossal failure of leadership by the Democratic Party leadership.
Also, this advisory committee has no mandate to focus on inequities of race, income, or gender as it relates to climate change. African-Americans are 52% more likely than white Americans to suffer the consequences of deadly heat waves; Asian Americans are 32% more likely and Hispanics 21% more likely. Native Alaskan lands are submerging into the ocean melting polar ice. Puerto Ricans are suffering the loss of potable water, healthcare and education today due to hurricanes intensified by warming oceans.
Bernie Sanders’s 2016 campaign included a GND. At the time of his campaign, he had already introduced his “American Clean Energy Investment Act” with Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and his infrastructure bill, the “Rebuild America Act.” Soon, Bernie will be introducing a comprehensive Green New Deal bill in the Senate.
Truthout editor Alison Rose Levy of Truthout set forth a litmus test of climate is the litmus for every potential candidate for the highest office. “Does a candidate— whatever their age, gender, race, party affiliation and/or charismatic appeal — have the willingness and capacity to address climate and lead Americans in the coming age of increasing climate destruction?”