Former Vice President Joe Biden has made fighting so-called manmade climate change a pillar of his 2020 presidential platform, but reports show that he is leaving behind a huge carbon footprint traveling on the campaign trail.
In 2019, Biden said the country has to take “drastic action right now to address the climate disaster facing our nation and the world.”
But his actions speak louder than his words, according to E&E News:
So far the Biden campaign has offset roughly half of its emissions from the team’s transportation to rallies, fundraisers and other political events. A spokesman told E&E News that the campaign’s contract with Advanced Aviation to provide flights for Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), includes carbon offsets. The campaign’s payments to the Virginia-based jet company make up less than 55% of the more than $5 million that the campaign has spent on transportation and likely represent only a plurality of its overall emissions, according to campaign filings and interviews.
That’s disappointing to climate scientists, who would like to see Biden’s team — which is on pace to raise more than $1 billion before the final votes are cast in 12 days — match its political promises on climate change with commensurate action. Biden has said global warming is an existential threat.
“The time is now to be changing our behaviors and to follow through on our words and commitments,” Heidi Roop, a climate scientist at the University of Minnesota, said in the E&E report. “People who are in positions of leadership and positions of power, they need to start walking the walk.”
But the message from the Democrat Party is far from unified, with some saying what matters is radical transformation of the U.S. economic infrastructure to stop global warming, such as ending the production of fossil fuels.
And E&E News reported that while other Democrats running in the presidential primary, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and billionaires Mike Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, said they would offset their campaign travels carbon emissions, only Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) made consistent payments to “offset emissions.”
Yet even Sanders didn’t respond to inquiries about campaign offsets, “but if the campaign paid the company’s listed price of $15.50 per metric ton for all of its emissions, that means Sanders’ bid for the White House resulted in 4,309 tons of carbon. That’s the same amount of carbon released by burning roughly 4.7 million pounds of coal or driving 931 cars for a year, according to EPA data,” E&E News reported.
E&E News reported that a Biden spokesman declined to say how much of the nearly $2.8 million the campaign has paid to Advanced Aviation has gone toward offsets. Biden’s spokesman also declined to say how the campaign was tracking its carbon footprint.
“That includes emissions associated with events featuring Biden and Harris as well as the production and distribution of yard signs, campaign literature and other swag disseminated by the campaign,” E&E News reported. “It would also include electricity consumed by its offices and remote staffers.”
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