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Biden Issues Powerful Stance on Climate Justice and Reinvigorating Economy, but Still Falls Short in Scale Scope and Speed Necessary to Fight Climate Emergency

BROOKLYN, NY: July 14, 2020— The Climate Mobilization issued the following comments regarding the environmental justice & economic opportunity and the sustainable infrastructure plans by former Vice President Joe Biden.

“Biden gets a lot right, especially around in the areas of racial and climate justice and equity for historically marginalized groups and working people; but he’s still got a lot of room for improvement in increasing the scale, scope and speed in which he addresses the Climate Emergency,” said Matt Renner, Executive Director for The Climate Mobilization.

“Support for a Biden presidency from the climate movement should be contingent on his commitment to actually achieving climate safety in a just and equitable way, not simply going beyond what is considered politically possible,” added Renner.

The Climate Mobilization also points out that the interim targets for decarbonization are not stringent enough.

“The last twelve months were the hottest we’ve ever experienced – an average of 1.3ºC above pre-industrial temperatures. Vice President Biden’s plan, while a clear departure from the market-based solutions of the past two decades, ultimately fails to reckon with the massive climate risks we face within the next decade,” said Laura Berry, Director of Research and Policy for The Climate Mobilization. “Eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector would only cut domestic emissions by 27% — but we need to be eliminating emissions across the economy as quickly as possible.”

 The Climate Mobilization Key Critiques of the Biden plan:

  • Biden’s commitments (too-late interim targets for decarbonization) don’t even give us the chance of a coin flip described by the IPCC.
  • Carbon free electricity is a critical milestone in the effort to achieve zero carbon. But it is not nearly comprehensive and excludes transportation, industrial uses, and non-electric heating. Alone decarbonizing the electric power sector would only reduce US emissions by 27%.
  • Buildings – plans to upgrade and weatherize millions of homes, incentivize replacement of appliances, and build sustainable housing are good – but not very specific. Only has a commitment to reduce emission from building stock 50% by 2035.
  • Transportation – Federal investments towards providing all Americans with access to zero carbon and sustainable public transit in large (100,000+ resident) cities is good, commitment to work with Amtrak to electrify national passenger rail is also good, but no overall emissions targets or plan to address emissions standards for vehicles beyond Obama-era regulations.
  • The Climate Mobilization celebrates the plan’s commitment to environmental justice – 40% of the $2T public investment to go to marginalized, frontline, and fence line communities. Increase in federal equity mapping to target investment. Commitment to creating an office of environmental and climate justice at the Department of Justice and developing a broad set of tools to address how “environmental policy decisions of the past have failed communities of color.”

Understanding the Science: According to the IPCC special report on global warming of 1.5ºC – we must reduce emissions by 45% by 2030 and globally reach net zero by 2050 to have a 40-60% chance of staying below 1.5ºC of warming – which means there’s a 50/50 chance that we’ll go beyond 1.5ºC even with those cuts. A new study from the World Meteorological Association also shows that there’s now a 20% chance we’ll reach 1.5ºC of warming by 2024.

Other recent plans that go beyond Biden’s recent plan: 

The DNC Council on the Environment and Climate Crisis: Calls for spending around $10-$16 trillion in federal expenditures over the next decade in order to address the Climate Emergency: And also ambitious short- and long-term emissions and renewable energy targets: near-zero emissions by 2040; 100% clean renewable energy by 2030 in electricity generation, buildings, and transportation; and 100% zero-carbon new building infrastructure by 2025.

Bernie Sanders’ Green New Deal Plan:$16.3T plan, 161% emissions reductions by 2030 (by supporting international emissions reductions), with zero emissions domestic power + transportation by 2030 and full decarbonization by 2050.

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Kristen Cashmore

Senior Director
Kristen brings more than 25 years of social justice advocacy to Climate Mobilization. Her previous positions at human rights, public health, environmental justice, and clean energy organizations inform her work with the variety of stakeholders she is engaging with to bring an accelerated response to the climate emergency. Kristen earned a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from UC Berkeley, where she was a teaching assistant in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management.

Malik Russell

Communications Director

Malik leads Climate Mobilization’s press and communications strategy. He formerly served as Communications Director for the NAACP. He is a journalist, author, community-based educator, and former lecturer in the Department of Strategic Communications at Morgan State University. The former editor of the Washington Afro-American newspaper, he has worked as a journalist in the Black Press for over two decades.He has a BA in American history from Brandeis University and earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Baruch College in New York, where he was selected as a National Urban Fellow.

Ezra Silk

Deputy Director

Ezra is co-founder of The Climate Mobilization and Climate Mobilization Project. He authored The Climate Mobilization’s Victory Plan, an influential exploration of how the federal government can organize and implement a mobilization to save civilization from the Climate Emergency and ecological crisis. This document directly shaped the demands of the Extinction Rebellion movement and the Green New Deal framework. Ezra was also a lead author of the climate emergency declaration resolution introduced in Congress in July 2019. A former newspaper reporter, Ezra has a BA in history from Wesleyan University.

Matt Renner

Executive Director of The Climate Mobilization and Managing Director of Climate Mobilization Project

Matt has worked as a nonprofit executive in clean energy, climate policy, and journalism for over a decade, focusing on the near-term social and economic impacts of climate change. He leads organizational expansion and works closely with the communications and organizing teams. Matt earned a BA in political science from UC Berkeley, where he was deeply inspired by the work of Professor George Lakoff.

Laura Berry

Research & Policy Director

Laura brings over a decade of experience to Climate Mobilization in climate advocacy, organizing, research, and policy. She has worked on climate, environmental, and sustainability issues from local to global scales with organizations including the Stockholm Environment Institute, the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, and 350.org. She is passionate about deepening democratic engagement in response to the Climate Emergency. Laura has a BA in human ecology from College of the Atlantic and an MSc in global environment, politics, and society from the University of Edinburgh.

Rebecca Harris

Organizing Director

Rebecca leads Climate Mobilization organizing efforts. Along with a history of social movement organizing, Rebecca he has worked as a journalist covering equity in Chicago public schools. Most recently, Rebecca worked as Development and Communications Manager at Latino Union of Chicago, an immigrants’ and workers’ rights organization. She is a 2017 graduate of the Reframe Mentorship in strategic communications and a 2019 participant in the Anne Braden Organizer Training Program.

Marina Mails

Operations and Community Manager
Marina manages operations and volunteers for both The Climate Mobilization and Climate Mobilization Project. She brings broad experience working in non-profit organizations, health care settings, and running her own private counseling practice. Before joining Climate Mobilization, Marina maintained a practice focusing exclusively on climate-related emotional coping, helping people make bold choices for lifestyle and professional change in response to the Climate Emergency. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish from Wake Forest University and a Masters in Counseling from UNC Greensboro.

Sydney Ghazarian

Digital Organizer
Sydney leads digital strategy for The Climate Mobilization and Climate Mobilization project. She is also a founder of National Democratic Socialists of America Ecosocialist Working Group and worked to establish climate as a primary focus of the American Left. Sydney has previously worked in journalism and in academic research. Sydney received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California San Diego.

Cris Lagunas

Strategy Director

Cris is helping to grow the Climate Emergency Movement by supporting creative campaigns and extending the reach of the movement’s message. Cris is a co-founder of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, an organization dedicated to using direct action tactics to expose, challenge and dismantle the immigration detention system.Cris got his start in organizing when he was 15 years old, getting involved in a local group of fellow undocumented youth.

Margaret Klein Salamon, PHD

Founder and Executive Director of Climate Mobilization Project

Margaret leads organizational strategy for The Climate Mobilization and Climate Mobilization Project. In this role she has helped catalyze a burgeoning worldwide Climate Emergency Movement. Margaret earned her PhD in clinical psychology from Adelphi University and a BA in social anthropology from Harvard. Though she loved being a therapist, Margaret felt called to apply her psychological and anthropological knowledge to solving climate change. She is author of Facing the Climate Emergency: How to Transform yourself with Climate Truth available from New Society Publishers in April, 2020.

AriDy Nox

Organizational Development and Engagement Manager
AriDy brings creativity, enthusiasm and a tremendous capacity for organization to her/their role, assisting the executive director with travel, communication and fundraising. AriDy Nox is a multi-disciplinary black femme storyteller and social activist. They have served as a national representative for The Young Women of Color Leadership Council, the Millennials of Color Leadership Bureau, and held writing positions with Advocates for Youth and RH Reality Check. She has worked as an administrative and executive assistant for a myriad of organizations including the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at Tisch School of the Performing Arts at NYU, the Youth Engagement Fund and the Community Resource Exchange.