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E 11-2020        November 2-9th, 2020

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Climate Critics Tear DNC Draft Apart

By Madison Hoiby

Following a recent resurgence in climate activism, a leaked Democratic National Committee Platform Draft is receiving mixed reviews for its approach to the climate crisis.

The leaked 2020 platform surpasses its 2016 antecedent by length, but critiques from climate scientists suggest bigger isn’t always better. Although the new draft has strong suits, like transitioning the American agriculture sector to net-zero emissions, it fails to address cutting down fossil fuel production and use within the U.S., two (of many) leading contributors to global climate change.

The platform’s focus on climate is heavily influenced by the Biden-Sanders task force, established on July 8, but it seemingly tunes out progressive recommendations from the DNC, like converting all United States electricity, transportation, and building sectors to 100% renewable energy by 2030 and banning fracking and crude exports.

However, sections of the draft concentrated on environmental justice succeeded in gaining support from climate activists. The draft included promises of investment into clean and wastewater infrastructure, sustainable and regenerative agriculture, and clean energy generation and distribution for communities, particularly those of Indigenous peoples.

The draft also shared plans to establish an environmental justice fund to combat legacy pollution and noted current health risks disproportionately affect people of color, low-income, and Indigenous communities.  The platform also mentioned efforts to invest in sustainable infrastructure and energy-efficient public housing, as well as retrofitting buildings and improving energy access.

In addition to environmental-justice goals, the platform mentioned swapping out school buses across the country with zero emission alternatives, weatherproofing energy systems in various municipal buildings, and working towards making the U.S. agriculture sector reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

However, with promises like these, many skeptics claim there must be measurable numbers and statistics to track true progress.

“The platform should be more clear and accountable,” Daniel Aldana Cohen, a University of Pennsylvania sociologist, stated in an article by the Earther. “... it needs to be more ambitious on grant programs to retrofit low-income tenants’ homes, because no market incentive program will ever reach those units.”

The 2020 draft, which was sent to approximately 200 party delegates on Tuesday, July 21, will be reviewed and amended in time for the Democratic Party Convention in mid-August. During that time, party officials can tweak the platform to better address the climate movement.

To review the entire 2020 Democratic Party Platform draft, visit DemConvention.com.