Kamala Harris Gets a D- For Her Climate Plan

Paul Kitagaki Jr./ZUMA

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Kamala Harris has released her climate plan, and I’m sorry to say that it’s a dog’s breakfast. I don’t really even want to evaluate it, but I suppose I have to. Here are the highlights:

  • I have no idea how big it is. Harris says her plan calls for “$10 trillion in public and private funding,” which is meaningless except to get her headlines that call it a $10 trillion plan. The only thing that matters is direct public spending, and she doesn’t put a number to that.
  • “Pillar 1” of her plan—presumably the most important part—is “A Foundation for Justice.” I’m all for justice, but it has little to do with keeping the planet from burning up.
  • Pillar 2 is “Holding Polluters Accountable.” Getting revenge on oil companies is lovely, I’m sure, but also does nothing to keep the planet from burning up.
  • Pillar 3 finally gets to climate-related proposals. Harris says she will generate 100 percent of our electricity with renewables by 2030, which is laughable, and get to a completely carbon-neutral economy by 2045. This frankly sounds more like lefty one-upmanship than a serious plan.
  • Pillar 3 is surprisingly hazy. It has lots of details, but only barely mentions buildout of solar and wind. Harris talks about electric buses and cash for clunkers and various tax credits, but says nothing about spending on renewable infrastructure, which is far more important.
  • There’s a small section about R&D, but it’s vague and, as usual, contains no actual dollar commitment. It does, however, contain stuff like this: “She would work with Congress to pass STEM diversity legislation, including her Combatting Sexual Harassment in STEM Act and 21st Century STEM for Girls and Underrepresented Minorities Act. Additionally, Kamala has proposed a $60 billion plan to boost STEM at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other minority serving institutions.” Seriously?
  • There is nothing about nuclear either pro or con. Harris is apparently afraid of taking a stand on this.
  • Pillar 4, once again, has nothing to do with climate change.
  • Pillar 5 is “Asserting International Leadership.” This is good. It’s nice to see a significant chunk of her plan acknowledging that we have to do more than just reduce carbon emissions in America. The details of this are a little fuzzy, but I think that’s probably inevitable.

I hate to be so harsh toward a candidate that I like, but Harris’s plan reads to me more like a 10,000-word pander than the work of someone who has genuinely spent any time on climate change and takes it seriously.

I have updated my summary of all the Democratic climate plans here.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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