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Youth climate activists grade top 2020 Democrats on Green New Deal commitment

Youth climate activists grade top 2020 Democrats on Green New Deal commitment
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Youth-led climate activist group Sunrise Movement ranked Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Tipping point week for Trump, Biden, Congress, voters Biden and Schumer face battles with left if Democrats win big Push to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw MORE (I-Vt.) the top Democratic presidential candidate in terms of support for the Green New Deal, according to candidate scorecards released by the group Thursday.

Sanders received a 92 percent, raking in 183 out of a possible 200 points based on the group's criteria. 

Sanders scored slightly higher than Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOvernight Health Care: Trump takes criticism of Fauci to a new level | GOP Health Committee chairman defends Fauci | Birx confronted Pence about Atlas Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing Government watchdog to investigate allegations of Trump interference at CDC, FDA MORE (D-Mass.), who earned 165 points, or 82 percent. Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter Trump narrows Biden's lead in Pennsylvania: poll Florida breaks first-day early voting record with 350K ballots cast MORE, who earned less than half of the available points, lagged behind the progressive senators at 42 percent.

Sunrise said the scorecard page will be updated with other Democratic candidates’ scores in coming months. Sanders, Warren and Biden were selected because they were the “three leading candidates” when scoring began, the group said. 

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All three of the candidates have said they support the Green New Deal, an ambitious legislative package aimed at combating the climate crisis, as part of their environmental agendas. The group scored the candidates on four categories: how they talk about the deal, how much they talk about the deal, a plan to win and a “Green New Deal vision.” 

“Vice President Biden earned fewer points due to setting relatively unambitious emissions reductions goals, failing to address equity and justice in his plan to transition the country’s energy system, generally lacking details around the rhetoric of his plans, and not centering the Green New Deal in his campaign,” Sunrise Movement said in a release. 

The youth-led group has not endorsed a candidate in the primary election. 

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Moreover, the group said the scorecards are not intended to influence voting, but rather are aimed at pushing all candidates to “get serious about pushing for ambitious solutions to solve the climate crisis.”

“Candidates have really leaned into the Green New Deal,” Sunrise Political Director Evan Weber said in a statement. 

“While much work remains, one thing is for sure: we’ve changed the conversation for the better, and ratcheted up the level of climate ambition to a place few would have thought possible just months ago,” he continued. “We’re going to keep focused on growing the movement, and doing the long-term work of building an army of young people who will pass a Green New Deal into law under the next President.”

Sanders held a climate summit in Iowa last month with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA may violate courts with new rule extending life of unlined coal ash ponds | Trump reverses course, approving assistance for California wildfires | Climate change, national security among topics for final Trump-Biden debate Biden distances himself from Green New Deal during town hall Ocasio-Cortez, progressives call on Senate not to confirm lobbyists or executives to future administration posts MORE (D-N.Y.), who has championed the Green New Deal. 

His campaign said he will join Iowa youth climate strikers again on Friday at a protest outside of the state capitol in Des Moines. 

The Sunrise Movement has been active in pushing 2020 candidates to address climate change as a central issue during the campaign. The group led a push for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to hold a climate-focused debate, which the DNC ultimately rejected.