Climate ‘hawks’ hatch super-PAC ahead of 2014 races

A group of veteran political organizers have launched a super-PAC to support Democrats who make climate change a top priority.

“Climate Hawks Vote” registered with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) late last week. 

Co-founder RL Miller tells E2-Wire that advocates aren’t satisfied with Democrats who make climate a second-tier issue, and “Climate Hawks Vote” stands ready to get involved in primary and general election fights.

“We're seeking to elect leaders willing to take on the greatest challenge facing the next few generations of humanity. Too many Democratic politicians consider climate to be just another issue bubbling below the surface of top priorities, and too many Democrats are willing to excuse Democratic politicians who tout their states' coal and oil resources as long as they're good on other issues,” Miller said in an email.

Miller is an activist and blogger who chairs the California Democratic Party's environmental caucus.

Climate Hawks Vote's advisory board includes:

Van Jones, the activist and former White House aide who will co-host CNN’s “Crossfire” revival; 350.org founder Bill McKibben; CREDO Mobile political director Becky Bond; and veteran organizer and fundraiser Tom Matzzie, the former Washington director for Moveon.org and current CEO of Ethical Electric.

Miller said the PAC is eyeing House and Senate races, as well as state-level legislative, gubernatorial and attorney general contests.

Could Climate Hawks Vote back any Republicans? Miller didn't rule it out.

“[W]e're not partisan, but the Republican Party is so deeply entrenched in denying the existence of climate change that if a Republican climate hawk were to emerge, we would look hard at a Republican's willingness to buck leadership as well as the Republican's position on climate,” Miller said.

“Climate hawk” is a term increasingly used to describe lawmakers and advocates who back aggressive steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The plan to launch Climate Hawks Vote was earlier outlined in June at Netroots Nation, the big annual conference of progressive activists and organizers, according to its website.

Miller said the group hopes to “engage and educate voters,” as well as advocate on climate change in general election contests and back “climate-oriented” Democrats in primaries.

The group also hopes to “engage and train younger climate hawks interested in running for office,” Miller said.