Democrats' Green Platform Plank, Obama's Green VP Pick

Thursday, Jan 7, 2010  |  Updated 6:18 PM EDT
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Democrats' Green Platform Plank, Obama's Green VP Pick

DENVER, Colorado, August 25, 2008 (ENS) - At the opening of the Democratic National Convention Monday, the Democratic Party adopted a new platform that incorporates the energy plan put forward by Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, the presumptive presidential nominee.

The plan would implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.

It would ensure 10 percent of U.S. electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025.

It would enact a windfall profits tax on oil companies to provide a $1,000 emergency energy rebate to American families, and would help create five million new jobs by strategically investing $150 billion over the next 10 years to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future.

Co-chair of the Platform Committee, New Mexico Attorney General Patricia Madrid, told convention delegates, "We will jumpstart the economy, providing an energy rebate and keeping families in their homes. We will invest in America again, in clean energy technology, world-class education and infrastructure, so that our economy can generate the good, high-paying jobs of the future."

"And," she said, "we will harness American ingenuity to free this nation from the tyranny of oil."

"I am proud that this year the Democratic Party opened up the platform process and invited Americans in," said Madrid. "There were over 1,600 platform hearings in every state of the union. Over 30,000 people attended. This platform reflects their concerns and their hopes."

League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski commended the platform committee, calling the Obama energy plan, "the strongest, most comprehensive plan ever put forward by a presidential nominee."

"Obama's plan recognizes the enormous potential of renewable energy to end our addiction to oil, strengthen our national security, fight global warming, and create millions of jobs across America, Karpinski said. "On this platform, Barack Obama and Joe Biden will build the clean energy future that America deserves."

Environmentalists are praising Obama's choice of Senator Joe Biden as his vice presidential running mate, a choice Obama announced Saturday in Springfield, Illinois.

Introducing his running mate, Obama said, "Joe won't just make a good vice president - he will make a great one."

"Instead of secret task energy task forces stacked with Big Oil and a vice president that twists the facts and shuts the American people out, I know that Joe Biden will give us some real straight talk," said Obama.

The comment slammed the current Vice President Dick Cheney, who held secret meetings with oil company executives in 2001 while drafting the Bush administration's energy strategy, and also backhanded Republican candidate Senator John McCain, who repeatedly has promised "straight talk."

Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Biden is a six term Senator from Delaware, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Obama described him as "that scrappy kid from Scranton who beat the odds; the dedicated family man and committed Catholic who knows every conductor on that Amtrak train to Wilmington."

"That's what it's going to take to forge a new energy policy that frees us from our dependence on foreign oil and $4 gasoline at the pump, while creating new jobs and new industry," Obama said.

League of Conservation Voters President Karpinski agrees. "With a lifetime LCV environmental score of 83 percent," he said, "Joe Biden recognizes that ending our addiction to oil is vital to our national security. Senator Biden is a long-time leader on key energy and environmental issues, and the members of LCV enthusiastically support Senator Obama's choice."

In 2007, Karpinski pointed out, Biden voted to strengthen vehicle fuel economy standards and to repeal subsidies to oil companies. In 1986, he introduced the first bill designed to limit global warming pollution.

Biden has chaired Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on the national security implications of unchecked global warming.

He partnered with Republican Senator Dick Lugar to co-author and pass a resolution calling on the Bush administration to return to international negotiations to address climate change.

Biden voted yes on reducing oil usage by 40 percent by 2025, and he voted to reject drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

In Denver, the first space of its kind ever created at a national political convention is open to new media journalists, bloggers, reporters and nonprofit leaders covering the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

The Big Tent, an 8,000 square foot two story temporary structure, is a joint project of Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, DailyKos, and ProgressNow.

Set up next to a 100 year old warehouse building owned by Alliance for Sustainable Colorado in Denver's Lower Downtown district, the tent features a Google Retreat with a YouTube kiosk and speakers appear on the Digg Stage.

On Sunday, in an event closed to the public, national radio commentator Jim Hightower, founder and president of Green for All Van Jones, and Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards took a look at what the Democratic campaign for change will mean over the next four years - the conflicts and theopportunities. They covered environmental justice; climate change, clean energy and global warming; technology and democracy.

Today, Lester Brown, founder of the Earth Policy Institute, and author of "Rescuing a Planet Under Stress - Plan 3.0" was a featured speaker in the Big Tent.

"Plan B 3.0 is a comprehensive plan for reversing the trends that are fast undermining our future. Its four overriding goals are to stabilize climate, stabilize population, eradicate poverty, and restore the Earth's damaged ecosystems," said Brown. "Failure to reach any one of these goals will likely mean failure to reach the others as well."

{Photo: From left, Senator Barack Obama and Senator Joseph Biden in Springfield, Illinois for the announcement that Biden will be Obama's vice presidential running mate. August 23, 2008 by Daniel Schwen}

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.

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