In a continuation of our previous column, two more politicians’ political platforms in relation to the Green New Deal will be discussed. Two weeks ago, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were compared, and now Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg’s platforms will be thrown into the mix. We know this campus leans pretty liberal, but it’s useful to know more moderate platforms when talking with others. So without further ado, let’s get started.
Although Buttigieg seems to have more moderate stances compared to his fellow candidates, he stands out in that he’s actually part of the generation that will be most affected by the climate crisis. His website calls it “the greatest challenge of our time.” His actual plan is divided into three parts: 1) build a clean economy, 2) invest in resilience and 3) and demonstrate global leadership. The main goal of the first section is to invest in clean energy and reach a carbon neutral society by 2050. He wants to follow the vision of the Green New Deal but apply his own more market-focused plans. By 2025, he wants to double the amount of clean electricity produced in the United States. However, considering only approximately 17% of current energy production is green, this aspect of the plan won’t have much impact. Furthermore, as time goes on, it would appear that energy consumption will only increase, so more ambitious plans are needed. His plan ultimately commits around $1.5 trillion and estimates that it will create 3 million jobs, making it much weaker economically than plans like Bernie’s. Overall, it seems difficult to fully call this a “Green New Deal” as it seems to fail to create the radical change needed to combat climate change. This is clear when compared to other climate plans, even when compared to another fairly moderate candidate like Joe Biden.
Biden’s climate plan invests $1.7 trillion and claims to adopt the Green New Deal as its central framework. It matches in many ways the plan proposed by Buttigieg, although it is slightly more intentional in its commitment to climate justice. His stance on labor rights compared to other candidates is much weaker, however. While Biden’s plan states that he will “defend workers’ rights to form unions and collectively bargain,” in an environment that is rather hostile against unions, a president is needed that will actively fight for unions and the rights of workers in the new green sector. For a candidate who used to support “clean coal” during the Obama years, Biden has certainly come a long way. However even his plan should be considered moderate. In order to fully tackle the crisis of climate change, a radical new approach must be taken. Although he supports the ideals and the framework of the Green New Deal, without sufficient investment, the framework will not be enough.
In conclusion, as you approach conversations about the 2020 elections with your Boomer parents and family over Thanksgiving dinner, we hope these analyses have provided some helpful discussion points. And while you’re at it, maybe check that you’re registered to vote. To reiterate, no matter who we elect, we must mobilize locally and nationally: ORGANIZE. VOTE. STRIKE.