Democrats Pass Most Aggressive Climate Change Plan in Party History

ORLANDO, Fla. – Democrats agreed to the most aggressive plan to combat climate change in the history of the party here Saturday night. The accord commits Democrats to fight for a price on carbon, methane and other greenhouse gases and for massive investment in renewable energy sources like wind and solar power.

It will also further advance the goals of the grassroots environmental movement by applying the formula that was used to evaluate and ultimately oppose the Keystone XL pipeline to all future fossil fuel pipeline projects. All federal decision making should look at the proposal’s impact on the climate, according to the new platform language.

While the plan does not ban fracking nationally as Sanders has called for, it will significantly limit fracking by forcing companies to disclose the chemicals they pump into the ground by eliminating the Halliburton Loophole. It also protects the right of states and localities to ban fracking.

“I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished tonight. This is the most aggressive plan to combat climate change in the history of the Democratic Party. As a result of this plan natural gas is no longer regarded as a bridge to the future. The future of America’s energy system now clearly belongs to sun and wind power. But we are not finished. We have got to follow through on the promise of this agreement, to put people before the profits of polluters and solve the global crisis of climate change before it’s too late,” Warren Gunnels, Sanders’ policy director said.

The amendment to the Democratic Party advances nearly all of the goals Sanders laid out in his platform to address climate change.

Below is the amendment to the Democratic platform:

Secondary Amendment to Amendment number 41

Democrats are committed to closing the Halliburton loophole that stripped the Environmental Protection Agency of its ability to regulate hydraulic fracturing, and ensuring tough safeguards are in place, including Safe Drinking Water provisions, to protect local water supplies. We believe hydraulic fracturing should not take place where states and local communities oppose it. We will reduce methane emissions from all oil and gas production and transportation by at least 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2025 through common-sense standards for both new and existing sources and by repairing and replacing thousands of miles of leaky pipes. This will both protect our climate and create thousands of good-paying jobs.

Page 19 Line 18, insert:

Democrats believe that carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases should be priced to reflect their negative externalities, and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy and help meet our climate goals. Democrats believe that climate change is too important to wait for climate deniers and defeatists in Congress to start listening to science, and support using every tool available to reduce emissions now.

Page 19, Line 26, insert:

We will streamline federal permitting to accelerate the construction of new transmission lines to get low-cost renewable energy to market, and incentivize wind, solar and other renewable energy over the development of new natural gas power plants.”

We support President Obama’s decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. As we continue working to reduce carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gas emissions, we must ensure federal actions don’t “significantly exacerbate” global warming. We support a comprehensive approach that insures all federal decisions going forward contribute to solving, not significantly exacerbating climate change.

Democrats believe that our commitment to meeting the climate challenge must also be reflected in the infrastructure investments we make. We need to make our existing infrastructure safer and cleaner and build the new infrastructure necessary to power our clean energy future. To create good-paying middle class jobs that can’t be outsourced, Democrats support high labor standards in clean energy infrastructure, and the right to form or join a union, whether in renewable power or advanced vehicle manufacturing. During the clean energy transition, we will insure landowners, communities of color and tribal nations are at the table.

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