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EcoWatch is a community of experts publishing quality, science-based content on environmental issues, causes, and solutions for a healthier planet and life.
President-elect Joe Biden speaks at a White House summit on climate change on October 19, 2015 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

With Democrats anxious about the probability that President-elect Joe Biden will be forced to grapple with a Republican-led Senate after taking office in January, a coalition of more than a dozen climate action groups are calling on Biden to take every possible step he can to help solve the planetary emergency without the approval of Congress.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. and Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., along with affordable housing advocates and climate change activists announce the introduction of public housing legislation as part of the Green New Deal outside the Capitol on Nov. 14, 2019. Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

When former Vice President Joe Biden effectively clinched the Democratic nomination in April, one major concern for the climate movement was the fact that his plan for tackling the issue was less ambitious than that of some of his primary rivals.

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waterlust.com / @tulasendlesssummer_sierra .

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.

Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.

Read More Show Less
Trump takes questions after delivering remarks during a news conference at the North Portico at the White House on Sept. 7, 2020 in Washington, DC. Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

After President Donald Trump on Monday suggested a COVID-19 vaccine could be fully developed and put to market "before a very special day" — apparently referring to the Nov. 3 presidential election — Sen. Bernie Sanders warned that Trump's ongoing politicization of the vaccine process threatens to undermine public trust and safety.

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Protestors gather at the 2017 D.C. Climate March on April 29, 2017. Mark Dixon / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Julia Mahncke

U.S. President Donald Trump has undone many major pieces of climate policy during his term, walking out on the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global warming and eliminating numerous Obama-era environmental regulations.

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Sunrise Movement

By Julia Conley

Weeks after the Sunrise Movement launched a swing state mobilization campaign with a plan to reach more than 1.5 million voters before Election Day, climate campaigners are showing no sign of slowing down their Get Out the Vote efforts — sending the message to young Americans that voting President Donald Trump out of office is the crucial first step in a greater effort to "build our political power in Washington."

Read More Show Less
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders speaking with attendees at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention in San Francisco, California. Gage Skidmore / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Lisa Newcomb

As wildfires burn through California and the western United States, the Gulf Coast prepares for two potential hurricanes within a 48-hour timeframe, and record high temperatures dominate the summer, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday noted the resounding absence of any mention of the climate crisis during the first night of the Republican National Convention.

Read More Show Less
Four more years will be enough to cement in place Trump's anti-environmental policies and to make sure it's too late to really change course. Enrique Meseguer / Pixabay

By Bill McKibben

To understand the planetary importance of this autumn's presidential election, check the calendar. Voting ends on November 3—and by a fluke of timing, on the morning of November 4 the United States is scheduled to pull out of the Paris Agreement.

President Trump announced that we would abrogate our Paris commitments during a Rose Garden speech in 2017. But under the terms of the accords, it takes three years to formalize the withdrawal. So on Election Day it won't be just Americans watching: The people of the world will see whether the country that has poured more carbon into the atmosphere than any other over the course of history will become the only country that refuses to cooperate in the one international effort to do something about the climate crisis.

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Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders speak about the coronavirus crisis on a live broadcast, in a nearly empty restaurant/bar in Los Angeles, California during the 11th Democratic Party 2020 presidential debate on March 15, 2020. Mario Tama / Getty Images

With their podiums placed six feet apart as a precaution against the coronavirus, the two leading Democratic presidential primary candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe Biden faced off on public health and the climate crisis at the 11th Democratic debate.

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Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden addresses a crowd at a town hall event at Clinton College on August 29, 2019 in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Sean Rayford / Getty Images

By Jeff Berardelli

At the first presidential debate on Tuesday night, former Vice President Joe Biden said point-blank that he does not support the Green New Deal — a progressive plan which not only aims to aggressively tackle climate change but also encompasses many other issues like social justice, jobs, housing and health care.

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Democratic presidential hopefuls Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders greet each other with a safe elbow bump before the start of the Democratic Party 2020 presidential debate in a CNN Washington Bureau studio in Washington, DC on March 15, 2020. Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

Unity Task Forces formed by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled sweeping party platform recommendations Wednesday that—while falling short of progressive ambitions in a number of areas, from climate to healthcare—were applauded as important steps toward a bold and just policy agenda that matches the severity of the moment.

"We've moved the needle a lot, especially on environmental justice and upping Biden's ambition," said Sunrise Movement co-founder and executive director Varshini Prakash, a member of the Biden-Sanders Climate Task Force. "But there's still more work to do to push Democrats to act at the scale of the climate crisis."

The climate panel—co-chaired by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and former Secretary of State John Kerry—recommended that the Democratic Party commit to "eliminating carbon pollution from power plants by 2035," massively expanding investments in clean energy sources, and "achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for all new buildings by 2030."

In a series of tweets Wednesday night, Ocasio-Cortez—the lead sponsor of the House Green New Deal resolution—noted that the Climate Task Force "shaved 15 years off Biden's previous target for 100% clean energy."

"Of course, like in any collaborative effort, there are areas of negotiation and compromise," said the New York Democrat. "But I do believe that the Climate Task Force effort meaningfully and substantively improved Biden's positions."

 

The 110 pages of policy recommendations from the six eight-person Unity Task Forces on education, the economy, criminal justice, immigration, climate change, and healthcare are aimed at shaping negotiations over the 2020 Democratic platform at the party's convention next month.

Sanders said that while the "end result isn't what I or my supporters would've written alone, the task forces have created a good policy blueprint that will move this country in a much-needed progressive direction and substantially improve the lives of working families throughout our country."

"I look forward to working with Vice President Biden to help him win this campaign," the Vermont senator added, "and to move this country forward toward economic, racial, social, and environmental justice."

Biden, for his part, applauded the task forces "for helping build a bold, transformative platform for our party and for our country."

"I am deeply grateful to Bernie Sanders for working with us to unite our party and deliver real, lasting change for generations to come," said the former vice president.

On the life-or-death matter of reforming America's dysfunctional private health insurance system—a subject on which Sanders and Biden clashed repeatedly throughout the Democratic primary process—the Unity Task Force affirmed healthcare as "a right" but did not embrace Medicare for All, the signature policy plank of the Vermont senator's presidential bid.

Instead, the panel recommended building on the Affordable Care Act by establishing a public option, investing in community health centers, and lowering prescription drug costs by allowing the federal government to negotiate prices. The task force also endorsed making all Covid-19 testing, treatments, and potential vaccines free and expanding Medicaid for the duration of the pandemic.

"It has always been a crisis that tens of millions of Americans have no or inadequate health insurance—but in a pandemic, it's potentially catastrophic for public health," the task force wrote.

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, a former Michigan gubernatorial candidate and Sanders-appointed member of the Healthcare Task Force, said that despite major disagreements, the panel "came to recommendations that will yield one of the most progressive Democratic campaign platforms in history—though we have further yet to go."

 

Observers and advocacy groups also applauded the Unity Task Forces for recommending the creation of a postal banking system, endorsing a ban on for-profit charter schools, ending the use of private prisons, and imposing a 100-day moratorium on deportations "while conducting a full-scale study on current practices to develop recommendations for transforming enforcement policies and practices at ICE and CBP."

Marisa Franco, director of immigrant rights group Mijente, said in a statement that "going into these task force negotiations, we knew we were going to have to push Biden past his comfort zone, both to reconcile with past offenses and to carve a new path forward."

"That is exactly what we did, unapologetically," said Franco, a member of the Immigration Task Force. "For years, Mijente, along with the broader immigrant rights movement, has fought to reshape the narrative around immigration towards racial justice and to focus these very demands. We expect Biden and the Democratic Party to implement them in their entirety."

"There is no going back," Franco added. "Not an inch, not a step. We must only move forward from here."

Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) in Washington, DC in June 2019. Michael Brochstein / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

By Eoin Higgins

Progressive Democrats led by Rep. Ilhan Omar and Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday introduced a bill to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and other industry giveaways, calling taxpayer support of the climate-killing business — a counterproductive and dangerous use of federal funds as the climate crisis worsens and Americans suffer through an economic downturn sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

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A new study finds that wealthy Americans living in spacious houses in upscale neighborhoods are responsible for 25% more emissions on average than those living in smaller houses in poorer areas. Pxfuel
Dreaming of a white-picket-fence home in an affluent suburb? Chances are your carbon footprint will be 15 times larger than your less-well-off neighbor.
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EcoWatch is a community of experts publishing quality, science-based content on environmental issues, causes, and solutions for a healthier planet and life.
President-elect Joe Biden speaks at a White House summit on climate change on October 19, 2015 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

With Democrats anxious about the probability that President-elect Joe Biden will be forced to grapple with a Republican-led Senate after taking office in January, a coalition of more than a dozen climate action groups are calling on Biden to take every possible step he can to help solve the planetary emergency without the approval of Congress.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. and Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., along with affordable housing advocates and climate change activists announce the introduction of public housing legislation as part of the Green New Deal outside the Capitol on Nov. 14, 2019. Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

When former Vice President Joe Biden effectively clinched the Democratic nomination in April, one major concern for the climate movement was the fact that his plan for tackling the issue was less ambitious than that of some of his primary rivals.

Read More Show Less
waterlust.com / @tulasendlesssummer_sierra .

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.

Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.

Read More Show Less
Trump takes questions after delivering remarks during a news conference at the North Portico at the White House on Sept. 7, 2020 in Washington, DC. Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

After President Donald Trump on Monday suggested a COVID-19 vaccine could be fully developed and put to market "before a very special day" — apparently referring to the Nov. 3 presidential election — Sen. Bernie Sanders warned that Trump's ongoing politicization of the vaccine process threatens to undermine public trust and safety.

Read More Show Less
Trending
Protestors gather at the 2017 D.C. Climate March on April 29, 2017. Mark Dixon / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Julia Mahncke

U.S. President Donald Trump has undone many major pieces of climate policy during his term, walking out on the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global warming and eliminating numerous Obama-era environmental regulations.

Read More Show Less
Sunrise Movement

By Julia Conley

Weeks after the Sunrise Movement launched a swing state mobilization campaign with a plan to reach more than 1.5 million voters before Election Day, climate campaigners are showing no sign of slowing down their Get Out the Vote efforts — sending the message to young Americans that voting President Donald Trump out of office is the crucial first step in a greater effort to "build our political power in Washington."

Read More Show Less
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders speaking with attendees at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention in San Francisco, California. Gage Skidmore / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Lisa Newcomb

As wildfires burn through California and the western United States, the Gulf Coast prepares for two potential hurricanes within a 48-hour timeframe, and record high temperatures dominate the summer, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday noted the resounding absence of any mention of the climate crisis during the first night of the Republican National Convention.

Read More Show Less
Four more years will be enough to cement in place Trump's anti-environmental policies and to make sure it's too late to really change course. Enrique Meseguer / Pixabay

By Bill McKibben

To understand the planetary importance of this autumn's presidential election, check the calendar. Voting ends on November 3—and by a fluke of timing, on the morning of November 4 the United States is scheduled to pull out of the Paris Agreement.

President Trump announced that we would abrogate our Paris commitments during a Rose Garden speech in 2017. But under the terms of the accords, it takes three years to formalize the withdrawal. So on Election Day it won't be just Americans watching: The people of the world will see whether the country that has poured more carbon into the atmosphere than any other over the course of history will become the only country that refuses to cooperate in the one international effort to do something about the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
Trending