I was dismayed to discover that the DNC Platform Drafting Committee sent two emails requesting feedback from Democratic party members on issues to be addressed by the party’s platform. One email was just a brief notice from the DNC that “had one small box for me to put my thoughts into.”
The other was an email sent by Keith Ellison, one of the members of the DNC Platform Committee (he was a pick of Bernie Sanders). His missive was a little bit longer, but here are the issues he listed for which he requested feedback (as well as all of one’s contact info), and specifically the recipient’s priorities from among a drop-down menu of issues:
Raising the minumum wage
Making college more affordable
Protecting women’s health care choices
Protecting and expanding Social Security
Overturning Citizens United
Reducing economic equality
Wall Street accountability and consumer protection
Common-sense gun reform
Criminal justice reform
Now these are all valid matters worthy of the Democratic Party’s careful consideration as it drafts it’s proposed party platform, and I don’t wish the disparage the importance of any of them. However, there is one glaring omission from this list. Can you guess what it is?
Answer: CLIMATE CHANGE
I suppose one could argue the “Other’ category is adequate, but I personally don’t find that Rep. Ellison’s failure to list Climate Change among the issues that Democrats are being asked to prioritize was a very smart move. Indeed, I consider it disturbing considering that nine out of ten of the hottest years on record have occurred since 2005, with the two hottest years being 2014 and 2015. And 2016 is shaping up as a the likely new Numero Uno on that list, based on the number of record hottest months already.
So, forgive me if I find the lack of interest in this issue – well – a big effing deal. Here’s just a few things the DNC ought to be considering including in their party’s Platform regarding Climate Change:
1. Ban Fracking.
2. End the huge subsidies that benefit fossil fuel companies.
3. Create a national environmental and climate justice plan that recognizes the heightened public health risks faced by low-income and minority communities.
4. Department of Justice investigation into Exxon Mobil and other fossil fuel companies, which not only knew about the dangers of climate change, but spent millions of dollars to spread doubt about the causes and impacts of burning fossil fuels.
5. Adopt an immediate clean energy initiative to replace fossil fuels while creating millions of new jobs by investing in renewable energy technologies.
6. Promote Conservation, including upgrading the nation’s electricity grid so less energy is lost in transmission.
7. Provide subsidies to consumers and businesses that convert to the use to wind solar or other forms of renewable energy technology. For example, support solar net metering, which means that people who invest in solar should be able to offset the cost – or in some cases even make money – on their electric utility bill.
8. Pass the Low Income Solar Act to increase low-income families’ access to solar energy by making it more affordable for people who own their own home to get access to community solar projects.
9. Make residential and commercial buildings more energy efficient, by passing the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Residential Energy Savings Act to provide federal loans to states to perform energy efficiency updates.
10. Build electric vehicle charging stations and subsidize electric motor vehicles.
11. Build high-speed passenger and cargo rail to reduce carbon emissions.
And that’s just a short list of some of the things we should be advocating to reduce carbon emissions and protect the planet.
Maybe someone could let the DNC and Rep. Ellison know that Climate Change better be a priority for the Democratic Party if we hope to create a sustainable world in which we, our children and grandchildren can continue to live and thrive.