Climate change is one of the most urgent issues of our day. So, it's great to see that the Democratic Party is taking the issue seriously. The 2016 Democratic National Convention platform supports a price on carbon and methane emissions.
The DNC platform acknowledges that climate change “is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time.” It also points out some startling facts about climate change, including that 15 of the 16 hottest years on record have occurred this century and that 2016 is on track to break global temperature records. It mentions that coastal cities like Miami and Baltimore are threatened by rising seas, and the U.S. West Coast has suffered from years of extreme drought.
The DNC platform builds upon the work that President Barack Obama has already done to tackle climate change. That extends to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by over 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. It also includes America's pledge to the Paris Agreement, which aims to keep average global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius. The DNC's support also extends to the Clean Power Plan, which seeks to reduce carbon pollution from power plants through regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The DNC also takes a tough stance on fossil fuel companies, even calling for eliminating tax breaks and subsidies for these firms. It calls for extending tax incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy. It opposes drilling in the Arctic and off the Atlantic coast, and calls for reform of fossil fuel leasing on public lands.
The platform also supports President Obama’s decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, and is in favor of Department of Justice investigations into ExxonMobil.
The DNC supports what it calls a “clean energy economy,” and that support includes:
- Getting 50 percent of electricity in the U.S. from clean energy sources with a decade.
- Installing half a billion solar panels within four years and enough renewable energy to power every home in the country.
- Reducing energy waste in homes, schools, hospitals and offices.
- Modernizing the electric grid.
- Making American manufacturing the cleanest and most efficient in the world.
- Reducing oil consumption through cleaner fuels, investing in public transportation, more electric vehicles, increasing fuel efficiency of vehicles and build bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in urban and suburban areas.
- Powering the government with 100 percent clean electricity.
“This is the most aggressive plan to combat climate change in the history of the Democratic Party,” said Warren Gunnels, Bernie Sanders’ policy director. “We have got to follow through on the promise of this agreement, to put people before the profits of polluters and solve the global crisis of climate change before it’s too late.”
The Democratic and Republican parties greatly differ on climate changeThe RNC Platform is completely opposite, favoring an “all of the above” energy policy that takes “advantage of all our American God-given resources.”
The RNC supports developing coal and opposes cap-and-trade legislation. It also supports offshore drilling on the Atlantic coast and the Arctic, as well as opening the outer continental shelf for oil drilling and increasing oil and natural gas exploration on federal land.
The RNC also supports the Keystone XL Pipeline. In short, it is a recipe for an environmental nightmare.
When it comes to climate change, the views of the two presumptive nominees couldn’t be more different. Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton calls climate change “an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time.” But her GOP counterpart Donald Trump has repeatedly called it a hoax. Clinton calls for reducing American oil consumption by a third, reducing energy waste and generating enough renewable energy to power every home in the U.S. Politifact says of Trump that “he’s enshrined opposition to climate change efforts as a key part of his platform.”
Image credit: Flickr/Marc Nozell
Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.