Progressive groups on Tuesday welcomed a new 22-page policy proposal to deal with the climate crisis from former Vice President and current 2020 Democratic presidential primary contender Joe Biden, but said that the plan still wasn’t enough.
Biden’s proposal comes after the former vice president endured sustained pressure from grassroots organizations demanding he provide a clear path forward for solving the ongoing environmental catastrophe.
The Biden campaign, in a statement announcing the plan, said that the policies would have positive effects for the U.S. economy.
“If executed strategically, our response to climate change can create more than 10 million well-paying jobs in the United States that will grow a stronger, more inclusive middle class enjoyed by communities across the country, not just in cities along the coasts,” the campaign said.
The proposal represents a recognition on the part of Biden’s campaign that the party’s base is not willing to accept a tepid response to the crisis from candidates, said Jim Manley, a former aide to former Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
“Biden has been trying to take somewhat of a centrist tack,” Manley told the Post, “but he has to appease the core of the base if he’s going to win the primary.”
On Monday, as Common Dreams reported, the climate group Sunrise Movement criticized Biden for not producing concrete solutions to environmental disaster after Biden was one of four Democratic primary contenders who declined to answer a Washington Post survey on climate policy.
In a statement, Sunrise welcomed Biden’s about-face.
“The pressure worked,” said Sunrise executive director Varshini Prakash. “We forced them to backtrack and today, he put out a comprehensive climate plan that cites the Green New Deal and names climate change as the greatest challenge facing America and the world.”
However, Prakash said, the policy proposal isn’t enough.
“We need even more ambition from candidates if we’re serious about saving millions of people from death before entire nations sink into the sea,” said Prakash.
Green advocacy group 350.org, in a statement, said that Biden’s proposal was less than perfect.
“While his plan is a start, it falls short of outlining a clear course to move the U.S. off of fossil fuels in our lifetimes and onto 100 percent renewables,” said the group’s North America director Tamara Toles O’Laughlin. “It’s concerning that Biden’s plan embraces demonstrably false solutions including nuclear power, harmful biofuels, and boondoggle carbon capture and natural gas infrastructure that will continue to lock us into fossil fuel dependence with investments that harm the communities that already live in in areas where the impacts are being felt.”
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