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

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Supporters of the “Green New Deal” participate in a rally at Howard University May 13, 2019 in Washington, DC. The Sunrise Movement held an event for the final stop of the “Road to a Green New Deal” tour to “explore what the pain of the climate crisis looks like in D.C. and for the country…

Youth-led climate activist group Sunrise Movement ranked Sen. Bernie Sanders (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 Warren (D-Mass.), who earned 165 points, or 82 percent. Former Vice President Joe Biden, 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. 

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. 

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-Cortez (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. 

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Bernie Sanders climate crisis election 2020 Elizabeth Warren Green New Deal Joe Biden Sunrise Movement Sunrise Movement

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