Following months supporting climate-friendly initiatives and tough talk for ending fossil fuel subsidies, the United States Democratic Party removed this campaign pledge from its manifesto.
Both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris ran with a claim to end subsidies for fossil fuels, a tax-payer cost amounting to more than $649 billion.
In addition, the final draft fails to mention the Green New Deal, a proposed resolution to fight climate change by targeting a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The resolution also aims to introduce clean transportation to reduce pollution, the provision of rights to affordable food and adequate housing as well as “research and development of new clean and renewable energy technologies and industries”.
Although the document offers a passionate call to action, its ink contradicts efforts it must take to be strong on climate change. The United States has paid out more than $34 billion in loans for fossil fuel projects around the world, much of that under the stewardship of President Obama, whose vice-president was Mr Biden. Biden’s own son, Hunter Biden, was present on the board for Burisma Holdings, which describes itself as “the leading private natural gas producer operating in Ukraine”. He left the board in 2019.
A welcome statement from the manifesto reads “We will rejoin the Paris Climate
Agreement and, on day one, seek higher ambition from nations around the world…”. Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Climate Agreement was damaging and embarrassing for American foreign policy. His actions wrecked and divided opinion critical to asking attention for environmental justice. Though his measures collapsed bridges needed to be crossed for combatting the rise of greenhouse gas emissions, steps taken by previous administrations look no different. Asking the world to raise its game on climate change appears to be sanctimonious talk at best, considering US interest in China for the production of commercial goods will stifle this claim. Europe has done more (though not enough) to combat climate change, and developing nations have suffered much from climate iniquity, sometimes at the behest of western industry.
The Democrats may be the lesser of two evils, but its track record on climate change says different. Actions speak louder than words. But the removal of amendments to cease fossil fuel subsidies is not a great introduction.