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Democratic Party Platform Engages Climate Change

September 3rd, 2012 · 14 Comments

In contrast to its total absence from the Republican Party platform (as a sign of the GOP’s anti-science global warming denial), the Democratic Party platform directly engages on climate change issues — with the term appearing 18 times in the platform.

Note: the photo to the right comes from the Democratic Party’s platform page.

Not surprisingly, the environment section has direct discussion of climate change issues.

We know that global climate change is one of the biggest threats of this generation – an economic, environmental, and national security catastrophe in the making. We affirm the science of climate change, commit to significantly reducing the pollution that causes climate change, and know we have to meet this challenge by driving smart policies that lead to greater growth in clean energy generation and result in a range of economic and social benefits.

This is a straightforward and accurate paragraph that highlights the seriousness of the issue while outlining that tackling climate change with “smart policies” will create many benefits for society.

The next paragraph begins:

President Obama has been a leader on this issue.

Sadly, that first sentence stretches the reality. President Obama entered office speaking seriously about climate change and the need for fidelity to science. Sadly, in the past few years, “climate change has been the Voldemort of the Obama Administration: ”The Threat-That-Must-Not-Be-Named.”” The silence from the Administration and the Obama-Biden election team on climate issues has been deafening … at least until the past few days.

The paragraph continues

We have developed historic fuel efficiency standards that will limit greenhouse gas emissions from our vehicles for the first time in history, made unprecedented investments in clean energy, and proposed the first-ever carbon pollution limits for new fossil-fuel-fired power plants. As we move towards lower carbon emissions, we will continue to support smart, energy efficient manufacturing. Democrats pledge to continue showing international leadership on climate change, working toward an agreement to set emission limits in unison with other emerging powers. Democrats will continue pursuing efforts to combat climate change at home as well, because reducing our emissions domestically – through regulation and market solutions – is necessary to continue being an international leader on this issue. We understand that global climate change may disproportionately affect the poor, and we are committed to environmental justice.

Much of this is truthful and powerful. Truly, the fuel efficiency standards could merit credit as one of the greatest achievements to date by the Administration and will have serious positive impacts.

The environment section ends with a direct statement about GOP anti-science attitudes:

Our opponents have moved so far to the right as to doubt the science of climate change, advocate the selling of our federal lands, and threaten to roll back environmental protections that safeguard public health. Their leaders deny the benefits of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts – benefits like job creation, health, and the prevention of tens of thousands of premature deaths each year. They ignore the jobs that are created by promoting outdoor recreation, cleaning up our air, and promoting a healthy environment.

“Doubt the science of climate change” … why such a wishy-washy statement about the Republican Party’s embrace of conspiracy-theory global warming denialism and the GOP’s rejection of the scientific communities understanding of humanity’s impact on the climate?

Climate Change has prominence in the national security section, as an emerging threat:

Climate Change. The national security threat from climate change is real, urgent, and severe. The change wrought by a warming planet will lead to new conflicts over refugees and resources; new suffering from drought and famine; catastrophic natural disasters; and the degradation of vital ecosystems across the globe. That is why, in addition to undertaking measures to enhance energy independence and promote efficiency, clean energy, and renewable sources of power here at home, the President and the Democratic Party have steadily worked to build an international framework to combat climate change. We will seek to implement agreements and build on the progress made during climate talks in Copenhagen, Cancun, and Durban, working to ensure a response to climate change policy that draws upon decisive action by all nations. Our goal is an effective, international effort in which all major economies commit to reduce their emissions, nations meet their commitments in a transparent manner, and the necessary financing is mobilized so that developing countries can mitigate the effects of climate change and invest in clean energy technologies. That is why the Obama administration has taken a leadership role in ongoing climate negotiations, working to ensure that other major economies like China and India commit to taking meaningful action. It is also why we have worked regionally to build clean energy partnerships in Asia, the Americas, and Africa.

Simply put: a tip of the hat for a forceful statement with valid and valuable aspirations.


Energy dominates the Economy portion of the Platform which begins:

All-of-the-Above Energy Policy. In the last four years, President Obama and the Democratic Party have taken concrete steps to make us more energy independent. We’ve supported nearly 225,000 clean energy jobs and Americans are importing less oil, breathing cleaner air, and saving money on energy costs. Historic investments in clean energy technologies have helped double the electricity we get from wind and solar. New emissions and fuel efficiency standards for American cars are reducing our oil use, saving consumers at the pump, and putting Americans back to work. Our dependence on foreign oil is now at a 16-year low, and a new era of cheap, abundant natural gas is helping to bring jobs and industry back to the United States.

Cheers for the emphasis on clean energy jobs and energy efficiency, jeers for “All-of-the-Above” and the mistaken emphasis on moving to greater emphasis on a fossil fuel into the indefinite future in contrast to the need to confront climate change. The energy section, I haven’t fully read.

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Tags: 2012 Presidential Election · climate change

14 responses so far ↓

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  • 5 JAN FREED // Sep 4, 2012 at 8:37 am

    O, The Kochs grew fat on their fossil fuels,
    And hired a nest of fossil ghouls
    Who fed lies to their minions of fossil fools
    AS they vote for those Koch sucking fossil tools
    So more billions protects the Koch’s deadly rule.

  • 6 JAN FREED // Sep 4, 2012 at 8:40 am

    Yes, Mitt scoffs. Mitt, Romney, in describing energy policy, wants, first and foremost, to foster oil and coal development.

    Other alternative energies, as Mitt describes his vision, are just “pie in the sky”.

    No surprise. In Mitt Romney, Big Oil and Coal have found their man.

    He ignores important and obvious facts and just “plays pretend”. To make his case we would have to play pretend along with him: a play-date from hell.

    Let’s pretend July wasn’t the hottest month ever in U.S. recorded history. This is one record out of thousands like it, just in 2012. Odds it is “normal”? Like winning the lottery, twice.

    Pretend, too, that more than thirty National Academies of Science do not believe the thousands of such extremes worldwide are due to our dumping a trillion tons of CO2 excreta into our very fragile, very thin atmosphere*.

    Let’s just pretend that when he hands America’s precious lands and waters over to oil and coal, they will promise to behave, and, then, actually behave; what BP spill? So 2010! Or, that Mitt would put health regulations into place. He (and Ryan) opposed mercury restrictions and CAFÉ standards that would prevent 2 billion tons of carbon pollution.

    Let’s pretend that local oil production will lower prices at the pump, though it never has before. Talk about “pie in the sky”! .

    Let’s pretend that Mitt really cares about jobs for Americans. Though offering $2.3 billion more in new tax breaks to oil, he opposed tax credits to wind energy projects, which would ax 37,000 jobs in the process.
    Those CAFÉ standards will create 500,000 jobs by 2030.

    May I respectfully, if somewhat sharply, remind The Pusher-in-Chief:

    Our climate has changed and disastrously so from only +1.5 deg F. increase. Our climate is on track to go from the current 1.5 deg F warming seven times higher to 11 deg F warming as we pursue unrestrained “drill, baby drill” and coal!

    And, Mother Nature will not be playing peek-a-boo, no matter your winning dimples or sweet talk.
    It would be “game over” for civilization, say the experts – whose predictions have been quite prescient for decades, unlike those of the “hoaxsters”, with their worthless cynicism and parody of “thoughtfulness”.

    No doubt Mitt has fire insurance on the slim chance he will need it; yet, Mitt, as the dashing riverboat gambler, gambles with our lives.

    What of his efforts to kick the carbon habit? In parading his fantasy further, Mitt Romney states, “In place of real energy, Obama has focused on an imaginary world where government-subsidized windmills and solar panels could power the economy. This vision has failed”

    Imaginary? Sorry, that is simply not the case. Examples of alternative energy success stories far outnumber the fumbles so very cherished by the (no longer) Grand Old Party.

    To quote Citizens Climate Lobby,

    “Solar power has become cheaper than new nuclear power in North Carolina, and the trend is similar across the nation” And, New Jersey “ plans to generate 3% of its electricity from solar power and 12% from offshore wind by 2020, when 30% of the state’s electricity will come from carbon-free resources.”

    Instead of simply pooh-poohing these industries, we could learn from the stunning success of Germany, or Portugal, which is using 47% renewable energy this year.

    Green energy systems have a far higher growth potential than dirty energy and have created far more jobs (by a factor of 2 to 11 times) for every dollar invested. In 2007 alone, Green energy sales ($1 Trillion) out performed the sales of Exxon-Mobil, GM and Wal-Mart combined ($900Billion). And that was 2007!

    Alternatives are here. Or, to paraphrase Neil Armstrong, “the pie in the sky has landed “ And they need to be enthusiastically promoted ASAP over dangerous carbon energy sources to blunt the deadly changes in climate. How? A policy favored by many economists, a “carbon fee and dividend”, would shift us towards clean energy and, with the dividend, lower taxes. Would Romney or Ryan support such a plan? Doubt it.

    Don’t be a “fossil fool” and play pretend in matters of life and death.

    * For example, The American Meteorological Society, 2012: “There is unequivocal evidence that Earth’s lower atmosphere, ocean, and land surface are warming; sea level is rising; and snow cover, mountain glaciers, and Arctic sea ice are shrinking. The dominant cause of the warming since the 1950s is human activities…. Prudence dictates extreme care in accounting for our relationship with the only planet known to be capable of sustaining human life.”

  • 7 Scott A. Mandia // Sep 4, 2012 at 9:25 am

    The GOP has confused science with politics. There is no informed debate that humans are overloading the air with too much carbon and that this carbon is causing the planet to dramatically warm. There is no informed debate that increasing carbon will cause this warming to continue. (For perspective, the amount of CO2 that is added to the air every day by human activities, primarily from burning fossil fuels, is equal to the weight of oil spilled by 16,000 Gulf Oil Spills per day.)

    Who else is concerned? Military and intelligence experts warn that climate-induced crises could topple governments, feed terrorist movements or destabilize entire regions. Health officials warn us that climate change could be the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. Climate change was recently listed as the greatest strategic risk currently facing the property/casualty insurance industry.

    We need to reduce our emissions of carbon for the sake of our public health, national security, and economic competitiveness. Surely it is foolish to base our economic energy needs on sources that are dwindling in supply and increasing in price when, instead, we could move toward energy efficiency and cheaper-by-the-year, infinite sources such as the sun and wind. If we stay addicted to fossil fuels and do not begin investing in those technologies now, we will be buying them from China in the future instead of selling it to them.

    I cannot vote for the GOP if they refuse to accept the science. GOP: Accept the science and then argue about why progressive policies are bad. At least you will have a leg to stand on then. Let us have the intelligent argument instead of ignoring it.

  • 8 Jack // Sep 4, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Yet, there’s not a single data proving the man-induced CO2 is leading the temperature rise.

    Sigh … “proving” is a term that is outside scientific discussion for something like this.

    Certainly, when it comes to an individual who smokes 5 packs per day and then has lung cancer, we cannot (CANNOT) “prove” that the tobacco caused the cancer. With scientific analysis, the generalized linkage has been strongly shown and stood up to $billions of attack seeking to undermine the science. Which, by the way, is exactly what has been happening with global warming / climate change science for decades.

    Ever heard of “preponderance of evidence”?


    All we have is opinion after opinion.

    What a slur against the world’s scientists — from National Academies to the editors of peer-reviewed journals to the individual scientists. Those 1000s of scientists and all their work is “opinion after opinion”.

    Science is based on observable data, not opinion.

    Suddenly, the world is going to fry if we don’t stop driving cars. How is that so when data doesn’t say so?

    So what the globe is getting warmer.

    There is significant science laying out that the “so what” is pretty scary and we are already seeing implications.

    Let’s find out what is causing it?

    The world’s scientists say that humanity is the major driving factor — from agricultural practices, to burning fossil fuels, to blacktops, to … — and you are calling for “proof” rather than (massive) preponderance of evidence prior to doing any action when the experts lay out clearly that delayed action raises the risk and the cost of action.

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  • 10 Democratic Party Platform Engages Climate Change » // Sep 4, 2012 at 4:57 pm

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  • 11 The futility of climatespotting: No matter what he says, Obama can’t make big moves on climate | Grist // Sep 5, 2012 at 10:56 am

    […] a great deal more climatespotting. We know now that the term “climate change” appears 18 times in the Democratic Party Platform (as opposed to once, mockingly, in the Republican Platform). Hero! […]

  • 12 President Obama speaks re climate, crowd cheers, ‘The Village’ notices // Sep 7, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    […] the Democratic Party platform had strong words on climate issues (along quite toned down from 2008), commentators were noticing a dearth of climate mentions during […]

  • 13 The 2012 Election and the Environment: Part One: | telios talk // Sep 11, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    […] difficult positions when they are perceived as “politically risky”. An analysis on the blog “Get Energy Smart! NOW!”   states that “the silence from the administration and the Obama-Biden election team on […]

  • 14 Green Party of Delaware | // Oct 4, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    […] We know that global climate change is one of the biggest threats of this generation – an economic, environmental, and national security catastrophe in the making. We affirm the science of climate change, commit to significantly reducing the pollution that causes climate change, and know we have to meet this challenge by driving smart policies that lead to greater growth in clean energy generation and result in a range of economic and social benefits. […]