Biden’s potential VP picks sound off on climate

Source: By Anne C. Mulkern, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, August 10, 2020

A political advocacy group is giving Democratic vice presidential contenders a platform to tout their climate credentials.

Climate Power 2020 has posted videos in recent weeks from Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.); former Ambassador to the United Nations and national security adviser Susan Rice; New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham; and Stacey Abrams, who unsuccessfully ran for governor of Georgia.

These women have been mentioned as possible running mates to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. The videos arrive as John Podesta, backer of the group and former President Obama adviser, seeks to make climate a major issue in the upcoming election (Climatewire, July 31).

“Climate change is what we call a national security threat multiplier,” Rice said in a video posted Friday. “Donald Trump is a threat multiplier all of his own. This president is indeed threatening the safety and the security of the American people. We cannot afford to wait any longer to tackle the climate crisis. It’s time we all act.”

Duckworth, a veteran of the Iraq War, said Trump prioritizes oil companies over service members.

“We must build a clean energy future, not only for environmental and economic reasons but for our security and safety too,” Duckworth said. “Trump is undermining American safety by putting Big Oil first.”

Military trucks, tanks, generators, helicopters and jet aircraft all rely on fuel convoys vulnerable to attack by explosive devices and ambushes, Duckworth said. Clean energy and efficient fuel use would slash the number of refueling stops, “meaning that our troops would suffer fewer casualties.”

“But Trump has put lobbyists and dirty energy executives in charge of our government who knowingly spread lies to protect their bottom line,” she said.

Warren said that while the COVID-19 pandemic poses a threat, so does climate change.

“We are running out of time to act,” Warren said. “We already see it every day, record floods, terrifying wildfires, devastating hurricanes. But right now, Washington refuses to lift a finger without permission from the fossil fuel industry.”

Harris drew a connection between climate change and maternal health, including Black babies who are stillborn.

“What we find is a lot of that has to do with the environment, including the air and the pollution that exists in those communities,” Harris said. “Let’s fight for our climate.”

Abrams told voters, “The power to end the climate crisis is in your hands.”

Trump’s press team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Biden, who served as Obama’s vice president, is expected to name his running mate in the coming days.