“It’s not being taken seriously enough,” Janet Redman said about the DNC’s policy agenda on climate change. “The fact that they’ve said no to different financial tools for cutting carbon, the fact that they’ve said no to keeping fossil fuels in the ground.”

While Hillary Clinton has been pressured to say she wouldn’t vote for the Trans-Pacific Partnership as it is right now, there is still concern over whether or not she supports the investor state dispute clause, Redman told the Real News Network.

That particular provision enables companies from other countries to sue the government for things like protections for workers and the environment. There is a real concern, Redman said, that if we sign on to agreements like the TPP, we will not be able to uphold the labor and environmental standards we have in the U.S.

Redman testified at the DNC platform planning committee about climate change as a foreign policy and security issue. While there has been some support for stopping fracking at home, that push has not been reflected internationally, where we continue to support the expansion of natural gas fracking and export of our technologies around the world, Redman said.

On the other hand, there was unanimous agreement that the Department of Justice should be investigating fossil fuel companies that misled shareholders by not making them aware of public interest concerns, Redman said. So, for example, EXXON Mobil would be held accountable for being knowledgeable about the fact that burning carbon would create a climate crisis for the people that actually hold shares in that company.

“That’s an interesting knock on corporate power,” Redman said. “But this does not go far enough.”

Redman said she was not as disappointed as others might be that the platform did not adopt a carbon tax policy.

“A carbon tax is unfortunately regressive unless a lot of work is done to make sure that there are rebates to low-income folks,” Redman explained. Since low-income people spend more on their energy bills — about 15 percent of their income — we need to make sure that the policies we propose to curb carbon are fair and equitable.

The best ways to reduce carbon are regulations on power plants and changing the way we move our goods from trucks to rail lines, Redman said. One kind of market mechanism that we could use right away, Redman said, is taking away tax subsidies that we give to the fossil fuel industry.

“That in itself would make burning oil, coal, and gas less profitable right off the bat,” Redman said. “There are some easy potential victories that could’ve been in this platform that aren’t right now.”


Janet Redman directs the Climate Policy program at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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