Joe Biden has achieved major eco-certification this week, as Earth Day’s 50th anniversary draws attention to climate change. Already advocates of climate action Al Gore and Jay Inslee announced today that Biden has their approval. The League of Conservation Voters approved Biden on April 20 and potentially free up tens of millions of dollars in funding if the group continues to go through the big spending it has done previous elections. And more than 80 leading scientists wrote an open letter Biden give their support prior to Earth Day. It is a great demonstration of institutional support for Biden, but it remains to be seen whether these statements of support will help Biden overcome voters concerned with climate change who have emerged as a top priority in the Democratic primary race.
Much of that concern boils down to the policies Biden has already announced. The candidate’s climate plan would bring the US to a “100 percent clean energy economy” by 2050 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from planetary heating. But progressive climate activists are concerned that the suspected candidate is not going far enough to halt fossil fuel extraction. – notably not endorsing a complete drilling and mining ban on federal land and waters. He has only gone so far as to say that he will stop new oil and gas permits and has not explained how he would stop existing extraction or fracking. Without those moves, Biden’s campaign remains enraged at young, green progressives.
Biden’s broad goal for 2050 is in line with the recommendations of a leading climate science authority, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for which several scientists who recently endorsed Biden have produced reports.
“Vice President Biden has long relied on the scientific consensus on climate change,” said the scientists’ letter. “We are confident that, unlike President Trump, Joe Biden will respect leaders in the scientific community and public health experts, collaborate with and listen to the existential climate crisis and other environmental threats,” he continues.
But while progressive groups share the goal of cutting emissions by 2050, they aren’t convinced that Biden’s plan has enough money to get there. In his campaign documents, Biden promises to spend $ 1.7 trillion on climate action over 10 years, a lot less than the $ 16.3 trillion promised by its rival Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). For many climate activists, it is a disturbing shortage that suggests the candidate does not appreciate the seriousness of the challenge.
“Our goal is to get our generation to beat Donald Trump, and as it stands, it will be considerably more difficult for us to do that. Unless Joe Biden really shows young people that he is ready to fight for us, our job will become more difficult, “” Stephen O’Hanlon, a spokesman for the Sunrise movement, a group that was driving the drive for a Green New Deal, told The edge this month.
Biden has indicated that he can expand his climate plan in the future. “I have asked my campaign to start a process to engage meaningfully with more voices of the climate movement – including environmental justice leaders and workers’ organizations, and to work together on additional policies in areas ranging from environmental justice to new, concrete goals we can achieve within a decade, to more investment in a clean energy economy, “Biden said in a statement after winning voter union approval. He also announced that he and Sanders will be working together on one climate change task force.
But some young environmentalists aren’t holding their breath for a dramatic transformation of the suspected Democratic nominee. “We will not endorse anyone who waits with bated breath @JoeBiden, “The El Paso Chapter of Sunrise Movement tweeted on April 13.