Youth Climate Activists Grade 2020 Dems on Green New Deal Commitment

Youth-led climate advocacy group Sunrise Movement unveiled its scorecards for the top three Democratic primary candidates on Thursday, showing Sen. Bernie Sanders at the top as the candidate who most successfully framed the Green New Deal as a top national priority and “provided the most ambitious and comprehensive plan to reduce fossil fuel emissions.”

The Sunrise Movement, which formed in 2017, has succeeded in strong arming more than 100 Democratic lawmakers to back the Green New Deal.

On the group’s 200-point assessment, Sanders scored 183 points (92%), followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) with 165 points (82%). Vice President Joe Biden, still widely considered the frontrunner in the 2020 contest based on national polling, landed far behind with just 75 points (42%).

Sanders received a 92 percent, raking in 183 out of a possible 200 points based on the group’s criteria.

Common Dreams reports “The Sunrise Movement found there was some room for improvement in Sanders’ platform, stating he should prioritize a plan to ensure that an end to fossil fuel imperialism does not give way to ‘renewable energy imperialism,’ to sustainably manage marine biodiversity, and should clarify his plan to create a federal taskforce for phasing out fossil fuels.”

Sanders scored slightly higher than Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who earned 165 points, or 82 percent. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who earned less than half of the available points, lagged behind the progressive senators at 42 percent.

Sunrise said the scorecard page will be updated with other Democratic candidates’ scores in coming months.

The Hill reports that “All three of the candidates have said they support the Green New Deal as part of their environmental agendas. The group scored the candidates on four categories: how they talk about the deal, how much they talk about the deal, a plan to win and a ‘Green New Deal vision.'”

“Vice President Biden earned fewer points due to setting relatively unambitious emissions reductions goals, failing to address equity and justice in his plan to transition the country’s energy system, generally lacking details around the rhetoric of his plans, and not centering the Green New Deal in his campaign,” Sunrise Movement said in a release.

“Candidates have really leaned into the Green New Deal,” Sunrise Political Director Evan Weber said in a statement.

“While much work remains, one thing is for sure: we’ve changed the conversation for the better, and ratcheted up the level of climate ambition to a place few would have thought possible just months ago,” he continued. “We’re going to keep focused on growing the movement, and doing the long-term work of building an army of young people who will pass a Green New Deal into law under the next President.”

Sanders held a climate summit in Iowa last month with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), and his campaign said Sanders will join Iowa youth climate strikers again on Friday at a protest outside of the state capitol in Des Moines.

The Sunrise Movement has been active in pushing 2020 candidates to address climate change.

About Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith is a newcomer to Washington D.C. She met, and married an American journalist and moved to D.C from the U.K. She graduated with a B.A in Graphic, Media and Communications and worked in design and retail in the U.K.

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