"Climate Mandate": Sunrise and Justice Democrats Call For a Green New Deal Biden Cabinet

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 17 Nov 2020 14:32:00 GMT

The youth-led Sunrise Movement and progressive political group Justice Democrats have teamed up for the Climate Mandate campaign to push President-elect Biden to assemble a progressive governing team. Their message:

“President-elect Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump with the highest youth turnout ever. Now, Joe Biden must assemble a powerful governing team to stop the climate crisis, create millions of good-paying jobs, address systemic racism, and control the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The “Climate Cabinet” should have no ties to fossil fuel companies, or corporate lobbyists; be representative of America; and “fight with the urgency that the climate crisis demands,” the groups say.

In addition, they are calling for the formation of the White House Office of Climate Mobilization to coordinate efforts across agencies.

They offer three recommendations each for many Cabinet-level agencies, with a top pick listed first. The list leans heavily into the progressive caucus of the House of Representatives, not surprisingly previously endorsed for election by the groups. The list does not include some major departments, like Defense and Energy. Some of their recommendations, like Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) for Interior, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for Treasury, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for Labor, are known to be on Biden’s short list of candidates.

People can support the effort by signing a petition for a “fierce and creative governing team” to “build back better from the crises we’re in.”

In an aggressive video promoting the effort, the groups ask of Biden: “Will he be the leader of the American majority, or will he be Mitch McConnell’s vice president?”

Their recommended picks:

Interior :”A visionary Secretary of the Interior has enormous latitude to crack down on giveaways to fossil fuel corporations, like permits to drill for oil on public lands and in public waters. With a progressive leader at the helm, we can make real progress. As the first Native American to hold this position, Rep. Deb Haaland would usher in a new era of Indigenous authority over stolen land. She is a fierce ally of our movement who has fought for renewable energy job creation in the House as Vice Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands.”
  • Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.)
  • Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.)
  • Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.)
State :”America needs a Secretary of State who will raise the level of ambition for climate action throughout the world. Beyond rejoining the Paris Climate Accords, the next Secretary of State can convene world leaders during the first 100 days to ratchet up the global response to climate change. Rep. Barbara Lee is one of a few brave Congressional Representatives who voted against the Iraq War. Her foresight would end the era of oil wars. She introduced the Women and Climate Change Act to develop coordinated strategies to mitigate the impact of climate change on women and girls around the world.”
  • Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)
  • Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.)
  • Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)
Treasury :”A bold Secretary of the Treasury can help transform the country’s spending priorities, even without Congress. By steering federal money to programs that encourage the development of renewable energy job creation, a Treasury Department can make real progress. Senator Warren has been a visionary leader, and one of our staunchest allies in Congress. She’s taken on Wall Street her entire career, and fought for transformative change in her presidential campaign. She’s a Green New Deal champion, and has called for transformative investments to tackle climate change and create millions of good union jobs.”
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)
  • Sarah Bloom Raskin, former member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and former United States Deputy Secretary of the Treasury
  • Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor
Attorney General :”A visionary Attorney General can stand up for justice, work to dismantle systemic racism, and hold polluters accountable for their crimes by enforcing clean air and water laws already on the books, and using others to go after fossil fuel corporations who profit off of deception about climate change. Keith Ellison is the Attorney General of Minnesota, and a longtime progressive leader. He has sued Exxon Mobil, Koch Industries, and the American Petroleum Institute over their campaign of deception about climate change, and took George Floyd’s killers to court. As the first-ever Muslim Member of Congress, he co-chaired the Progressive Caucus.”
  • Keith Ellison, Minnesota Attorney General
  • Larry Krasner, Philadelphia District Attorney
  • Dana Nussel, Minnesota Attorney General
Council of Economic Advisors :”The Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) is a key leader who helps guide the nation’s economic strategy. A visionary leader at the helm can help the nation build back better, guarantee every American a good job, expand workers rights, and deliver investment equitably to every community, whether Black, white, brown, Indigenous, urban or rural. Darrick Hamilton is a leading expert on closing the racial wealth gap and a strong advocate for a federal jobs guarantee.”
  • Darrick Hamilton, Executive Director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University
  • Stephanie Kelton, professor of economics and public policy at Stony Brook University
  • Heidi Shierholz, Senior Economist and Director of Policy, Economic Policy Institute
  • National Economic Council* :”A progressive Director of the National Economic Council will have a pivotal role in helping the president build back better, guarantee every American a good job, expand workers rights, and deliver investment equitably to every community. Joseph Stiglitz is a world-renowned economist who has called for a mobilization to confront climate change on par with mobilizing for a third world war.”
  • Joseph Stiglitz, former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers
  • Bharat Ramamurti, managing director, Roosevelt Institute
  • Manuel Pastor, director, USC Equity Research Institute
Labor :”America needs a Secretary of Labor ready to create green jobs with good pay and good benefits, and who can create a Civilian Climate Corps to employ millions of people to do the urgent work of repairing and strengthening our communities in the face of climate change. Senator Sanders has shifted American politics to focus on solutions at the scale of the crises workers are experiencing. He can bring the power of the federal government to every labor contract negotiation. He can lead the push to create millions of good-paying jobs as we mobilize to stop climate change.”
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
  • Mary Kay Henry, SEIU President
  • Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.)
Environmental Protection Agency :”A visionary EPA Administrator can do a lot to combat the climate crisis without Congress. It’s not just undoing Trump’s rollbacks of clean air and water standards; an EPA Administrator who understands the urgency of the crisis can help electrify the economy by enacting new standards for green vehicles and buildings. Mustafa Ali is a visionary environmental justice leader who began working on social justice issues at the age of 16. He joined the EPA as a student, and is one of the country’s most respected voices on climate and environmental justice issues.”
  • Mustafa Santiago Ali, former EPA assistant associate administrator
  • Kevin De Léon, former California Senate Senate Leader
  • Heather McTeer Toney, Director, Moms Clean Air Force
Housing and Urban Development :”America needs a Secretary of Housing and Urban Development who understands our vision for a Green New Deal for public housing, because ending homelessness and moving our economy to clean energy must go hand in hand. Rep. Rashida Tlaib is a progressive powerhouse, and the author of the People’s Housing Platform—a groundbreaking, progressive housing framework that declares housing as a fundamental human right. She is also a champion of environmental justice and addressing the disparate health impacts of fossil fuel emissions on frontline communities.”
  • Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.)
  • Jumaane Williams, New York City Public Advocate
  • Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.)
Transportation :”America needs a Secretary of Transportation who is ready to combat climate change by building accessible public transit for all. A visionary in charge could redirect federal grants towards electric vehicle charging station, and public transit. Rep. García is one of the first Mexican immigrants to serve as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and has been a leader in calling for federal transportation and infrastructure policies that address climate change.”
  • Rep. Chuy García (D-Ill.)
  • Sara Nelson, President, Association of Flight Attendants
  • Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.)
Agriculture :”America needs a Secretary of Agriculture who will bring investment and economic opportunity to family farmers and rural communities. By investing in local and regional food systems that support farmers, agricultural workers, healthy soil, and climate resilience, the next Secretary of Agriculture can ensure economic security while advancing our fight against climate change. Rep. Chellie Pingree has been an organic farmer for more than 40 years and recognizes that farmers are allies in the fight against climate change. She is Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Committee on Interior and Environment and serves on the Subcommittee on Agriculture of the House Appropriations Committee.”
  • Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine)
  • Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio)
  • Sen. Cory Bookery (D-N.J.)
Health and Human Services :”All people have a right to quality health care. The COVID pandemic has demonstrated all too tragically the interconnected threads of environmental injustice, lack of access to affordable health care, and mortality from new risks. A visionary Health and Human Services Secretary can work to expand access to health care for all. Rep. Pramila Jayapal is a progressive powerhouse, and the first South Asian American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. She’s a leading proponent of Medicare for All, and a key champion of the Green New Deal.”
  • Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.)
  • Dr. Abdul El Sayed, former candidate for governor of Michigan
  • Dr. Donald Berwick, former Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Sunrise: What Comes Next After Election Day?

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 05 Nov 2020 02:00:00 GMT

Even after every vote has been cast, the fight for the Green New Deal will be far from over.

We know it might take days or even weeks for every ballot to be counted. Trump is already openly refusing to leave office even if he loses. And even if Joe Biden is declared the winner, we need to make it clear from Day 1 that we won’t back down until he makes the Green New Deal the law of the land.

The day after the election, our movement will come together to take stock, regroup and chart our course ahead. Sign up to join our call Wednesday 11/4 from 9-10pm ET / 6-7pm PT.

Sunrise Movement Launches "Wide Awake" Campaign Confronting Politicians At Their Doorsteps

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 18 Aug 2020 18:58:00 GMT

The youth climate activist collective known as the Sunrise Movement has begun protesting outside the homes of politicians they hold responsible for the “death economy” of rising climate, racial, and economic injustice. The “Wide Awake” campaign is inspired by the Wide Awakes, a militant youth abolitionist organization in the years leading into the Civil War.

We are Wide Awake. And, for the next hundred days, the architects of this death economy will be too.

This is not just an uprising, it’s a mothafucking haunting. We will march to their homes at midnight so they understand that we are wide awake to their role in crafting this nightmare. When they try to dine at restaurants we’re forced to work at — despite the risk of COVID — because our unemployment is ending, we will not serve them. When they do nothing to stop federal agents from snatching us off the streets, when they force us to go back to school in unsafe conditions, when they do nothing to stop our democracy from crumbling, we will bang on their doors from dusk until dawn and make them hear us. We will make their lives a waking nightmare until they stand with us or give way to the power of the people and the vision we have for a new world.

“Wide Awake” actions so far include:

Climate Council Conversation: "Why Democrats Should Run on Climate"

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 22 Jul 2020 23:00:00 GMT

Join our chair Michelle Deatrick July 22 at 7pm ET as she facilitates a conversation between actress and activist Jane Fonda, Representative Deb Haaland (D-NM), Sunrise Movement National Spokesperson Naina Agrawal-Hardin, and 350 Action’s North America Director, Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, about why Democrats need to run on climate.

Watch here.

Sunrise's Democratic Presidential Scorecard: Sanders A-, Warren B-, Biden F

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 10 Dec 2019 00:28:00 GMT

The youth climate activist group Sunrise Movement has published a 200-point climate leadership scorecard on the top three Democratic presidential candidates, with Bernie Sanders leading Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden far behind.

Sanders earned 91.5% of the possible points; Warren 82.5%; and Biden a strikingly low 37.5%.

The careful scoring process is broken into four sections: “How they talk about it,” “How much they talk about it,” “Plan to win,” and “Green New Deal vision.”

Sanders and Warren earned identical scores for “How they talk about it” and “Plan to win”- reflecting their similarity in rhetoric about the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for comprehensive action that directly confronts the fossil-fuel industry. Both campaigns have laid out comprehensive plans for action that are built around principles of climate justice.

However, Sanders has talked about climate change significantly more than Warren on the campaign trail and in the presidential debates—a difference reflected in the metric used by the Sunrise Movement, which is the frequency with which climate change is discussed on the campaign Twitter feeds.

The Green New Deal section was a 100-point analysis of the candidate’s climate plans, representing half of the full score. Sanders received an A (95 points) compared to Warren’s B (85 points) for his clear plan for a phase-out of fossil-fuel extraction and for more detailed and ambitious plans for sustainable agriculture, forestry, climate refugees, energy democracy, public infrastructure, renewable energy investment, and public transportation.

In all categories Biden lagged significantly.

Perhaps relatedly, the Biden campaign’s top climate staffer, Heather Zichal, is a former John Kerry and Barack Obama staffer who parlayed her years of service into highly lucrative positions in the natural gas industry.

When Biden has been confronted by climate activists at campaign stops, he has responded dismissively that he was involved in one of the first climate bills passed by Congress and if they’re still not happy, they should vote for someone else.