By Ben Geman - 09/04/12 02:20 AM EDT
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Democrats’ official platform expected to be approved at the party's national convention on Tuesday calls for an international deal to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
The platform says Democrats will pursue efforts to combat climate change through regulations and market solutions, setting up a continued battle with Republicans who argue such steps could hold back the economy.
“Democrats pledge to continue showing international leadership on climate change, working toward an agreement to set emission limits in unison with other emerging powers,” states the platform.
Still, the new version's language on an international agreement is arguably less aggressive than the 2008 platform, which included stronger language making the case for an international deal: “We need a global response to climate change that includes binding and enforceable commitments to reducing emissions, especially for those that pollute the most: the United States, China, India, the European Union, and Russia,” it stated.
Domestically, the platform is weaker in calling for climate change legislation that the party's previous platform in 2008.
It lacks the 2008 version’s explicit call for cap-and-trade, a proposal that collapsed in the Senate in 2010 after House Democrats moved legislation through the lower chamber. Some Democrats say that vote was a factor in Democrats' losing their House majority in the fall of 2010.
The 2012 platform mirrors the formal National Security Strategy the White House released in 2010 in calling the climate threat “real, urgent and severe.”
In contrast, the GOP platform approved at their convention in Tampa, Fla. last week criticizes the emphasis on climate risks in Obama administration military planning documents.
The Democrats' platform defends climate change regulations that the GOP is seeking to scuttle, highlighting the differences between the parties.
The Republicans platform called on Congress to thwart Environmental Protection Agency climate change regulations, alleging they will burden economy, and Mitt Romney supports stripping EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
However, the Democrats’ 2012 platform differs from the party’s 2008 blueprint in some respects.
The 2012 platform echoes Obama’s frequent statements of support for expanded oil-and-gas drilling as part of a wider energy strategy.
It supports an “all-of-the-above approach to developing America’s many energy resources, including wind, solar, biofuels, geothermal, hydropower, nuclear, oil, clean coal, and natural gas.”
The 2008 version lacked this language, and indeed made multiple pledges to free the nation “tyranny” of oil – a line that’s not repeated in the 2012 version.
The 2012 version also backs “expediting the approval process to build out critical oil and gas lines essential to transporting our energy for consumers.”
The new platform, however, also devotes space to numerous lines of support for “clean” energy programs, backs the toughened auto mileage rules the administration has issued, and reiterates Democratic calls to nix tax breaks for oil companies.