Late last Friday Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman Tom Perez quietly introduced a resolution to allow contributions from rich fossil fuel executives and industry political action committees. Perez’s backtracking was offered under the disingenuous guise of giving fossil fuel workers a political voice, but everyone knows that it was simply a money grab that keeps the door open for undue industry influence of Democratic candidates. The late Friday tactic was reminiscent of what bad governments do to avoid attention from the public - announcing new rules or initiatives and hoping that it’ll all be lost in the weekend scramble. But what Perez didn’t count on was just how anti-fossil-fuel the American people have become as awareness grows of the energy source’s major contribution to climate change.
The public reaction has been swift and rightfully damning.
Actor and activist Piper Perabo made mincemeat of the idea that this resolution has anything to do with the reality of supporting workers:
.@DNC @TomPerez What are you doing???!!! There should be LESS Corporate $$$ in politics!
Union memebers can donate to candidates individually and with their union.
DNC reverses ban on fossil fuel donations https://t.co/ROzl5RZ39H Thanks @PodSaveAmerica for highlighting this.
— Piper Perabo (@PiperPerabo) August 14, 2018
Gary Wockner got to the heart of why this miscalculation is not only ethically and environmentally bankrupt, but also a complete strategic fail:
Neither political party is going to save the planet or America. They are both owned by fossil fuels.#COPolitics #COleghttps://t.co/extN7uPI0R?
"Democratic National Committee Proposes Reversing Its Ban On Fossil Fuel Donations"
This is how Dems drive down turnout and Repubs win
— Gary Wockner (@GaryWockner) August 10, 2018
And regular people are making plans to show up en masse and protest this reversal in a variety of ways. This didn’t turn out to be the under-the-radar sleight of hand that Tom Perez and the DNC were hoping for.
We Can Have Good Jobs AND An Inhabitable Planet
The argument about whether climate change and climate disaster exist is over. With extreme weather events hurling toward us faster and faster, hurricanes becoming more severe and producing higher rainfall, and more places becoming downright uninhabitable, it is impossible for anyone to credibly deny that humanity is on a disastrous path if giant steps aren’t immediately taken to curb the worst effects of climate change. We know that getting off fossil fuels and rapidly transitioning to 100% renewables - completely by 2035 at the latest - is the only way to save the planet; (ohaithere, OFF Fossil Fuels Act). We also know that any political strategy involving the legitimization of fossil fuels is reckless and irresponsible.
That transition to a new system of fueling our economy won’t be without some difficult puzzles to solve. How to offset employment lost because of the end of fossil fuels with jobs gained from renewable energy is certainly one of the important challenges to tackle, but it can be done. In fact, there is such a significant amount of job growth already on the horizon for the renewable energy sector (which doesn’t even account for a bold renewable transition plan like the OFF Act which would only strengthen this growth) that the question becomes, “Why is the United States allowing these jobs to go to other countries?” From U.S. News in 2017:
“The renewable energy sector employed 8.1 million people worldwide in 2015, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Collectively, 60 percent of those jobs are in Asia, including 3.5 million in China, while 9.5 percent of the world's renewable energy jobs are in the United States. IRENA expects there will be 24 million jobs in the clean energy sector by 2030. Solar photovoltaics were invented in the United States and wind turbines were pioneered here as well – yet we have ceded much of the current leadership in those technologies to other nations, principally China.”
As long as we cling to the destructive energy model of the past and don’t put forth an all-hands-on-deck effort toward new solutions, we are facing an ever-increasing level of climate chaos that will threaten our very existence. Eventually, the bill for our failure to act will come due as our future generations experience mass migration, war, famine, and a complete collapse of society when climate catastrophes worsen. That’s an unacceptable outcome. We can and we have to develop a new way forward. We have to dig deep as a nation, Democrats have to dig deep as a party, and humanity has to dig deep to find the will and the courage to work together to change our future. If Democrats wants us to believe it can do for us what Republicans won’t, they have to do more than talk about it — their policies and their resolutions have to demonstrate climate leadership.
The DNC’s decision to reverse its ban on fossil fuel contributions is not at all about giving a say to workers. It’s about telling fossil fuel corporations that as a party, Democrats are open for business. We can’t sit back and allow them to wheel and deal with our futures — some things are too precious.
Take A Stand With Us
We will rise up and send a message back to Tom Perez and the DNC — that fossil fuel PAC contributions are a deal-breaker and they need to do right by us by reinstating their original promise to the people. We’re going to have to hold their feet to the fire, so stand with Food & Water Action and tell the DNC: Don’t accept dirty fossil fuel money. The American people are brave enough to find a way for the renewable energy plan and jobs that will preserve our future, and we’re best able to do it without interference from fossil fuel corporations.