Climate Politics Pull the Democratic Party Even Further Left

Climate Politics Pull the Democratic Party Even Further Left

June 16, 2020

Since Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) dropped out of the presidential race, former Vice President Joe Biden has spent much of his time on the campaign trail pandering to progressive voters. Biden has largely used climate policy to appeal to the more progressive audience, and, as expected, it is starting to have consequences.

Reuters recently reported that the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) council on climate change irked party leadership when it published policy recommendations that ventured beyond Biden’s plan. In a recent press release, members of the DNC Environment and Climate Crisis Council called for up to $16 trillion in spending to shift the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels while banning hydraulic fracturing and oil and gas exports.

The council’s proposals far exceed Biden’s current climate plan, which bans new oil and gas permits on public lands and dedicates $1.7 trillion to accelerate the transition to renewable energy, but allows continued fracking and exports in the meantime.

Many within the Democratic party have worried that Biden’s pursuit of support from the “Bernie bros” will jeopardize his support among moderate voters. Cecil Roberts, president of the United Mineworkers Union, believes that this policy recommendation alone will have political consequences. He went on to say:

I can assure you that the mere issuing of this report has already cost Democrats potential votes in places like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan.

These consequences should come as no surprise, though, as the natural gas and oil industry is a stable of countless communities across America. A Power The Future study outlines the value of the industry, comparing Pennsylvania and New York’s approach to fracking. Since 2012, the natural gas impact fee in Pennsylvania has raised at least $1.7 billion for the state. New York’s ban on fracking has cost roughly 400 jobs per year in many counties.

Biden is being advised by a panel led by U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has called for a vast government-run effort to move away from fossil fuels, and John Kerry, who helped negotiate the Paris climate agreement as President Barack Obama’s Secretary of State.

Particularly right now, in the wake of Covid-19’s economic fallout, America cannot afford to sacrifice jobs for political rhetoric. But, as long as eco-left leaders like AOC and Kerry continue to dictate a party’s climate policy, that’s what the Democratic party is going to continue doing.