Back in 2004, Democrats vowed to make their National Convention in Boston the greenest political convention in history, and since then those efforts have only expanded.
Organizers have made greening the convention a top priority along with making it the “most open and accessible convention in history.”
When the convention begins tonight in Charlotte, it will be livestreamed “gavel-to-gavel” at DemConvention.com/live and a mobile phone app, in both English and Spanish. You can participate on Twitter at hashtag #dnc2012.
Greener Than Ever
Although Clean Coal is prominently featured as a sponsor of this year’s convention (unbelievable), it features sustainably sourced food, full-scale reuse and recycling, green building materials, and green transportation choices.
Delegates will be treated to organic, locally sourced food and shuttle buses and “pedal” buses will get them around.
All the building products used, such as paints and carpeting, will be low-VOC and made from recycled materials, and will find new uses after the event ends.
A “Green Team” of volunteers will make sure recyclables and compostable items make it into the right bins. The caterer for the main media welcoming event plans to make it completely compostable.
And to minimize waste, delegates and volunteers will get re-usuable water bottles, which they can re-fill at stations around the city.
Demcratic National Platform
On the energy front, the Democratic National Platform, “Moving America Forward, continues Obama’s All-of-the-Above Energy Policy to make the US energy independent.
The Hill notes that the 2012 platform is weaker than that of 2008 when it comes to climate change. The 2008 platform 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.”
The Democratic Platform also differs from 2008 in its move to an “all-of-the-above” approach to energy. In 2008, the platform emphasized freeing the US from the “tyranny” of oil. This platform focuses on using it – and natural gas – responsibly.
The Republican Platform calls 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, says The Hill.
Here are excerpts from the Democratic Platform on energy, climate and environment:
“We’ve supported nearly 225,000 clean energy jobs and Americans are importing less oil,” it says. “Historic investments in clean energy technologies have helped double the electricity we get from wind and solar. New emissions and fuel efficiency standards for American cars are reducing our oil use, saving consumers at the pump, and putting Americans back to work. Our dependence on foreign oil is now at a 16-year low, and a new era of cheap, abundant natural gas is helping to bring jobs and industry back to the United States.”
“The all-of-the-above approach includes “wind, solar, biofuels, geothermal, hydropower, nuclear, oil, clean coal, and natural gas. President Obama has encouraged innovation to reach his goal of generating 80% of our electricity from clean energy sources by 2035.
“Democrats support making America the world’s leader in building a clean energy economy by extending clean energy incentives that support American businesses and American jobs in communities across the country. It’s not enough to invent clean energy technologies here; we want to make them here and sell them around the world.
“We can further cut our reliance on oil with increased energy efficiency in buildings, industry, and homes, and through the promotion of advanced vehicles, fuel economy standards, and the greater use of natural gas in transportation.
“Harnessing our natural gas resources needs to be done in a safe and responsible manner, which is why the Obama administration has proposed a number of safeguards to protect against water contamination and air pollution. We will continue to advocate for the use of this clean fossil fuel, while ensuring that public and environmental health and workers’ safety are protected.
“We support more infrastructure investment to speed the transition to cleaner fuels in the transportation sector. And we are expediting the approval process to build out critical oil and gas lines essential to transporting our energy for consumers.
“Building a clean energy future means that new exploration and production needs to be approached safely and responsibly. Democrats are committed to balancing environmental protection with development, and that means preserving sensitive public lands from exploration, like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Pacific West Coast, Gulf of Maine, and other irreplaceable national landscapes.
“We are saving consumers money on their energy bills – both at home and at the pump – but Republican energy policy is full of empty rhetoric and bad ideas that would make their Big Oil donors even richer at the expense of the middle class. Republicans would keep giving billions of taxpayer dollars a year to profitable oil companies and increase costs on consumers. Democrats will fight to cut tax subsidies for Big Oil while promoting job growth in the clean energy sector, so we can cut the deficit and increase jobs and growth in America.”
On the Environment, it says:
“We know that global climate change is one of the biggest threats of this generation – an economic, environmental, and national security catastrophe in the making. We affirm the science of climate change, commit to significantly reducing the pollution that causes climate change, and know we have to meet this challenge by driving smart policies that lead to greater growth in clean energy generation and result in a range of economic and social benefits.
“President Obama has been a leader on this issue. We have developed historic fuel efficiency standards that will limit greenhouse gas emissions from our vehicles for the first time in history, made unprecedented investments in clean energy, and proposed the first-ever carbon pollution limits for new fossil-fuel-fired power plants. As we move towards lower carbon emissions, we will continue to support smart, energy efficient manufacturing.
“Democrats pledge to continue showing international leadership on climate change, working toward an agreement to set emission limits in unison with other emerging powers. Democrats will continue pursuing efforts to combat climate change at home as well, because reducing our emissions domestically-through regulation and market solutions-is necessary to continue being an international leader on this issue. We understand that global climate change may disproportionately affect the poor, and we are committed to environmental justice.
“We are restoring treasured landscapes like the Great Lakes, the Florida Everglades, and local wilderness areas. We are working with Gulf Coast states to restore the Gulf and hold BP and other responsible parties accountable.
“Democrats will continue to work with local communities to conserve our publicly- owned lands and dramatically expand investments in conserving and restoring forests, grasslands, and wetlands across America for generations to come. We will ensure that our National Parks are protected while expanding opportunities for Americans to visit and experience these national treasures. Democrats will continue working to ensure the integrity of the waters Americans rely on every day for drinking, swimming, and fishing, by supporting initiatives that restore our rivers, oceans, coasts, and watersheds. We will preserve landscapes and ecosystems and open more lands and waters for hunting, fishing, and recreation. This will bolster local economies and is good for communities today and for generations to come.
“Our opponents have moved so far to the right as to doubt the science of climate change, advocate the selling of our federal lands, and threaten to roll back environmental protections that safeguard public health. Their leaders deny the benefits of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts – benefits like job creation, health, and the prevention of tens of thousands of premature deaths each year. They ignore the jobs that are created by promoting outdoor recreation, cleaning up our air, and promoting a healthy environment.”
On Climate Change, it says:
“The national security threat from climate change is real, urgent, and severe. The change wrought by a warming planet will lead to new conflicts over refugees and resources; new suffering from drought and famine; catastrophic natural disasters; and the degradation of vital ecosystems across the globe.
“That is why, in addition to undertaking measures to enhance energy independence and promote efficiency, clean energy, and renewable sources of power here at home, the President and the Democratic Party have steadily worked to build an international framework to combat climate change.
“We will seek to implement agreements and build on the progress made during climate talks in Copenhagen, Cancun, and Durban, working to ensure a response to climate change policy that draws upon decisive action by all nations. Our goal is an effective, international effort in which all major economies commit to reduce their emissions, nations meet their commitments in a transparent manner, and the necessary financing is mobilized so that developing countries can mitigate the effects of climate change and invest in clean energy technologies.
“That is why the Obama administration has taken a leadership role in ongoing climate negotiations, working to ensure that other major economies like China and India commit to taking meaningful action. It is also why we have worked regionally to build clean energy partnerships in Asia, the Americas, and Africa.”
Read the full platform: