Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) makes a point during the Democratic presidential primary debate at Drake University on January 14, 2020 in Des Moines, Iowa. Six candidates out of the field qualified for the first Democratic presidential primary debate of 2020, hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Climate Groups Thank Sanders for Being Only Candidate at Debate to Stand Against Trump-Led Trade Deal

"We can do much better than a Trump-led trade deal that does not even have the phrase 'climate change' in it."

Julia Conley

Climate action advocates thanked Sen. Bernie Sanders for being adamant during Tuesday night's Democratic debate that climate and trade issues are one and the same, even as debate moderators attempted to separate the subjects.

When asked about the USMCA, which he voted against moving out of committee on Tuesday, Sanders said he would not support any trade deal that "does not incorporate very, very strong principles to significantly lower fossil fuel emissions in the world."

"Every major environmental organization has said no to this new trade agreement because it does not even have the phrase 'climate change' in it," the Vermont senator and 2020 presidential candidate said.

When Des Moines Register political reporter Brianne Pfannenstiel told Sanders that the debate would soon cover the climate crisis but the topic at hand was trade, the senator countered, "They are the same in this issue."

Watch:

Grassroots group the Sunrise Movement praised the senator for making clear the connection between the climate and trade.

The group, which endorsed Sanders last week, was among the climate action advocates praising the senator following the debate.

Sanders was joined by only three of his Democratic colleagues on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Tuesday—Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)—in voting against the USMCA. 

The lawmakers cited concerns over "special protections" for fossil fuel companies' profits, food safety regulation rollbacks, allowances for chemical companies to keep data about toxic pesticides secret, and other failures to mitigate the climate and ecological emergency, as reasons for opposing the deal.

In December, climate action groups including the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) sent a letter to lawmakers imploring them to reject the USMCA because it "fails to meet the baseline standards for environmental and climate protection that the environmental community has consistently called for."

Food & Water Action called the deal "a one-way ticket to climate disaster" in a statement Wednesday.

"Elected officials in America are charged with protecting consumers against cheap and unsafe imported food, contaminated water, and public health threats," said Mitch Jones, the group's policy director. "USMCA ransacks protections on all three fronts."

"America needs a leader who will intervene on deals like this that could lead to our children eating contaminated deli meat," he added. "Every leader in this country, especially one who wants to be our president, must oppose USMCA in the name of a healthy future."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Critics Warn Biden 'Summit for Democracy' Will Highlight Democrats' Failures at Home

"President Biden can't champion democracy across the globe without fulfilling his promise to protect our voting rights at home."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Like a Teenager Promising to Clean Their Room in 30 Years': Biden Net-Zero Climate Goal for 2050 Ridiculed

"2050 is an extremely weak goal for the federal government to free itself from climate-heating pollution. It ignores existing technology and adds decades to GSA's own commitment to 100% renewable energy by 2025."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Should Cancel Student Debt or Watch $85 Billion Evaporate From US Economy: Analysis

Far-reaching cancellation enacted by Biden could add more than $173 billion to the nation's GDP in 2022 alone.

Kenny Stancil ·


Given Cover by Red-Baiting GOP, Corporate Dems Rebuked for Tanking Biden Nominee for Top Bank Regulator

"If you think that Senate Democrats rose up to [Republicans'] shameful display of modern McCarthyism by rallying around President Biden's nominee or her ideas that banking should work for the middle class, then you don't know the soul of today's Democratic Party," wrote one columnist.

Julia Conley ·


'S.O.S.!': Groups in Red States Nationwide Plead With Democrats to Pass Voting Rights Bill

"We can tell you firsthand that our Republican senators have no interest in joining this effort."

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo