Friday, August 26, 2016

Deconstructing the Democratic Party Platform...

Well, just the sections that address climate change and clean energy.

I'm doing this not just for my own amusement and edification, but also to find out what's been proposed/promised, so when it's time to hold the Clinton administration's feet to the fire, we know what they committed to in the platform.

Hair On Fire People annotations are in italics below the paragraph they comment on.

And so without further ado.... from the Democratic Party platform, 2016...

Combat Climate Change, Build a Clean Energy Economy, and Secure Environmental Justice

Climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time. Fifteen of the 16 hottest years on record have occurred this century. While Donald Trump has called climate change a “hoax,” 2016 is on track to break global temperature records once more. Cities from Miami to Baltimore are already threatened by rising seas. California and the West have suffered years of brutal drought. Alaska has been scorched by wildfire. New York has been battered by superstorms, and Texas swamped by flash floods. The best science tells us that without ambitious, immediate action across our economy to cut carbon pollution and other greenhouse gases, all of these impacts will be far worse in the future. We cannot leave our children a planet that has been profoundly damaged.

This is a pretty good preamble. Just two notes:

We won’t just “leave our children a planet that has been profoundly damaged” – we must live in that damage ourselves. Talking about children allows wiggle room for procrastination.

The “planet” will be fine, whatever ultimately happens. What we should focus on is damage to the climate and the biosphere. The rocky ball that revolves around the sun will continue on apace – even without us, and even with wildly changed climatic conditions. But OUR survival in a radically altered climate and biosphere is not guaranteed, nor is the survival of our fellow travelers, the rest of the biomass of Planet Earth – nor is the survival of the food webs that keep us alive. We may be facing down extinction. And that should terrify us.

Democrats share a deep commitment to tackling the climate challenge; creating millions of good-paying middle class jobs; reducing greenhouse gas emissions more than 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050; and meeting the pledge President Obama put forward in the landmark Paris Agreement, which aims to keep global temperature increases to “well below” two degrees Celsius and to pursue efforts to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius. We believe America must be running entirely on clean energy by mid-century. We will take bold steps to slash carbon pollution and protect clean air at home, lead the fight against climate change around the world, ensure no Americans are left out or left behind as we accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy, and be responsible stewards of our natural resources and our public lands and waters. Democrats reject the notion that we have to choose between protecting our planet and creating good-paying jobs. We can and we will do both.

More scientifically literate types than I am can probably parse this paragraph better, but just at first blush it occurs to me that only a couple of years ago our “target” was reducing greenhouse gas emissions more than 80% below 1990 levels – not 2005 levels. Is this new research? Is this a different benchmark? How is this different?

Mentioning both that Paris Agreement’s aim of keeping global temperature increases to “well below two degrees Celsius” as well as noting “efforts to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius” is heartening, because it keeps 1.5 degrees in the platform as a goal.