WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, the Sunrise Movement celebrated major climate victories as President Joe Biden announced monumental executive actions to begin a society-wide mobilization to stop climate change, create millions of good jobs, and roll back centuries of systemic environmental racism. Sunrise was not only instrumental in electing President Biden, but ensured he ran on the most progressive climate platform in history. Now, in a victory for the movement, President Biden is beginning to follow through on his promises, symbolizing a turning point in this country’s climate politics and our nation’s history.
“Young people organized like hell to get Biden elected, delivering him a mandate for action on the climate crisis, Covid-19, systemic racism, and the economy,” said the Sunrise Movement’s Executive Director Varshini Prakash. “Today makes clear that President Biden hears our generation’s demands loud and clear, understands the power of our movement, and is serious about using executive power to deliver on his campaign promises.”
Major victories include: the establishment of a White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy and National Climate Task Force with the full mandate and scope of powers and authority we called for in an Office of Climate Mobilization; the creation of “Civilian Climate Corps” modeled after the New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps through executive action to put Americans to work in government jobs tackling the climate crisis; working alongside environmental justice leaders and communities to ensure a whole-of-government approach to Environmental Justice and assuring that 40% of climate investments go to frontline communities; using the federal government’s power of the purse to raise labor standards while spurring production of 100% clean energy technology; working alongside farmers to create jobs in sustainable agriculture and wealth in rural America; ensuring economic development and a just transition for fossil fuel communities; and aggressively pursuing renewable energy development while putting all fossil fuel leasing on federal lands and waters under review and stopping all new leasing.
“These actions mark a historic step forward. But today must just be the beginning. We have no time to waste. The climate crisis, compounded by the pandemic, racial injustice and decades of Republican obstruction and destructive policies, demands that we make up for lost time to match the scale and urgency of this moment,” Prakash continued. “Democrats have a majority in the House, Senate, and a President ready to take action. Now is the moment to deliver transformative change for the American people, and our generation will not accept any excuses for delay or inaction on delivering historic legislation to build back better, creating millions of good jobs investing in clean energy, communities, and sustainable infrastructure. If the Republican minority stands in the way, President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer must push to abolish the Senate filibuster to ensure the will of the people and deliver needed economic relief and transformation.”
These victories come just one week after the Sunrise Movement announced its legislative and executive priorities for the Biden administration and Congress in their Green New Deal Year One initiative.