Biden’s broken environmental promises should disqualify him from re-election

Prominent Democrats have expressed their disappointment with President Joe Biden’s broken environmental promises, many of them throwing their support behind insurgent challenger Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the 18th century, human activities have raised atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels by 50% – meaning the amount of CO2 is now 150% of what it was in 1750.

This is concentration the heat-trapping greenhouse gas, that comes from the extraction and burning of fossil fuels is greater than what naturally happened at the end of the last ice age 20,000 years ago.

In a major blow to Biden’s climate commitments, several prominent Democrats are expressing their disappointment and vowing not to vote for him in future elections.

The criticism stems from Biden’s failure to uphold his promise on global warming and his administration’s recent decision to provide nearly USD 100 million in export finance to expand the PT Kilang Pertamina Balikpapan Petroleum Refinery in Indonesia.

Biden promised during the campaign ‘No more drilling on federal lands, period, period, period,’ but in the White House he approved ConocoPhillips’ Alaskan Willow oil project—which will produce enough greenhouse gas emissions to nullify the climate benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act—he leased more federal land for oil & gas drilling in his first two years than Trump did during his entire term in office, he approved oil and gas leases for an area in the Gulf of Mexico larger than Italy; and he allowed a separate $39 billion LNG mega-project in Alaska.

Adam McGibbon, a public finance strategist at Oil Change International, stated, “Biden’s claims to be a climate leader are increasingly laughable after EXIM’s approval of this refinery. Biden has broken the most significant climate promise the United States made at the 2021 Glasgow climate conference.”

Collin Rees, the U.S. Program Manager at Oil Change International, criticized the approval, saying, “This dirty refinery would threaten the air, land, and water of communities in Indonesia, making a mockery of Biden’s purported commitment to environmental justice.”

Lisa McCormick, a leading progressive Democrat in New Jersey, voiced her concerns about establishment politicians and their reliance on corporate funding, saying, “Establishment politicians live in a world where raising money is the only thing that matters, so they cater to the same greedy corporate overlords who fund the Republican crazy machine.”

“President Joe Biden may be better than Donald Trump, but he is not a suitable candidate for 2024,” said McCormick. “Biden virtually surrendered after he hit his first policy roadblock in Congress, then he disgraced the United States by meeting the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince who killed Khashoggi. The Earth is on fire, but President Biden is not doing nearly enough to stop the Climate Crisis.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that humans have a little more than 10 years to limit warming to a level that can potentially avoid the worst catastrophic impacts of climate change.

As climate impacts are being felt by our communities now as wildfires, droughts, heat waves, record-breaking rainfall, stronger hurricanes, and rising seas, we are paying for these changes in dollars and human lives and the costs will continue to escalate.

At the heart of the discontent lies the broken pledge made by the United States at the United Nations COP26 climate summit in November 2021.

The pledge aimed to end direct international public financing for fossil fuels, except in exceptional circumstances aligned with limiting global warming to 1.5ºC. However, the approval of financing for the Indonesian refinery demonstrates a clear deviation from this commitment.

The approval of financing for the Indonesian refinery comes just as Biden is preparing to attend the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan. Last year, the G7 nations adopted a pledge similar to the one made at the COP26 summit, reaffirming their collective commitment to end international public finance for fossil fuels by the end of 2022.

However, recent financing approvals by the United States, Japan, and Italy for fossil fuel projects indicate that this commitment has not been fulfilled.

Critics argue that the Indonesian refinery project faces numerous issues, including local fire risk, a history of oil spills, inadequate community engagement, and insufficient environmental impact assessments.

Moreover, the project contradicts established climate science, which indicates that oil demand must decrease to have a chance of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5ºC.

The approval of financing for the refinery not only undermines climate goals but also poses financial risks, potentially resulting in the project becoming a stranded asset.

The move is also seen as damaging to U.S. energy security and perpetuating the ongoing energy crisis caused by reliance on fossil fuels.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has highlighted the need to halt new oil and gas investments to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5ºC.

The approval of public finance for fossil fuels will only exacerbate the energy crisis, contrary to the United States’ commitment to addressing climate change.

Senator Ed Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced the Green New Deal Resolution (GND), alongside co-sponsors and leaders from the labor, environmental justice, and climate movements, at a press conference in front of the National Mall, a project whose renovation was funded in part by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.

The Green New Deal resolution envisions a 10-year national mobilization, akin to FDR’s New Deal, that would put millions to work in good-paying, union jobs repairing the nation’s infrastructure, reducing air and water pollution, and fighting the intertwined economic, social, racial and climate crises crippling the country.

Thirteen new co-sponsors joined the Green New Deal resolution this year: Senator Alex Padilla and Reps. Kaiali’i Kahele, Tony Cardenas, Cori Bush, Sara Jacobs, Jake Auchincloss, Nikema Williams, Jamaal Bowman, Mondaire Jones, Ritchie Torres, Marie Newman, Katie Porter, and Teresa Leger Fernández.

The Green New Deal is also endorsed by a host of organizations including the Association of Flight Attendants, Service Employees International Union, People’s Action, Corazon Latino, Center for Popular Democracy, Indivisible, The Green New Deal Network, Working Families Party, Greenpeace USA, Sunrise Movement, Justice Democrats, Organic Consumers Association, Climate Justice Alliance, Future Coalition, Labor Network for Sustainability, National Domestic Workers Alliance, Common Defense, NDN Collective, United for Respect, Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, United We Dream,, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance and more.

In his famous debate with former President Donald Trump, Biden explicitly stated, “The Green New Deal is not my plan.”

“No, I don’t support the Green New Deal,” he said, insisting instead that he supports “the Biden plan, which is different than what [Trump] calls the radical Green New Deal.”

Around the time of Ronald Reagan and the ascendance of movement conservatism, the GOP began lumping environmental policy into the same big bucket as all progressive social or economic policy: pie-in-the-sky dreams that would raise taxes and damage the economy.

Thanks to decades of subsequent repetition — often echoed by defensive Clinton-era Democrats — the “environment vs. economy” frame has become ubiquitous enough to seep out of politics into popular culture. Even people who claim to know very little about politics will have the impression, the feeling, that it’s true.

Republicans are working furiously to shore up a false choice between the environment and the economy, and Biden has clearly taken the bait.

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