The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jamie DeMarco,
KC Chartrand,

Diploma Burning: Biden, Don't Burn Our Future

Young people burned their diplomas in front of the White House, demanding Biden restore climate provisions he is cutting from Build Back Better.


Today, young people burned their diplomas outside the White House to show President Joe Biden that they have no future unless he and Congress pass a strong climate change bill ahead of the Scotland climate talks. Specifically, students called on the President not to give in to Senator Joe Manchin's objection to the vital Clean Electricity Performance Program.

You can watch the livestream here. Photos available upon request.

This tactic of burning diplomas is novel and has never been used in the climate movement in the United States. Students sacrificed their educational documents to tell the President he needs to reverse course and either defend the CEPP or propose another policy that will reduce 400 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent from the electric sector by 2030.

In a world where least 85% of the global population has already been affected by climate change, according to research published this month in the journal Nature Climate Change, young people know that there is no time for delay. They understand that America needs to move forward with bold legislative action on a national scale to address global warming before it is too late.

Four people in their 20s participated in today's protest by burning their diplomas. Their names are: Jamie DeMarco, Emily Frias, Stacy Austin Miller, and Xandra Coleman.

"By not fighting hard enough for our climate's future, Biden is burning our future. In the world he is leaving us, we may not have any use for these degrees, and today we are making that clear," said Jamie DeMarco, Federal Policy Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and CCAN Action Fund.

"It took a lot of struggle to finish college - I overcame severe depression, sexual assault, and untreated ADHD during my years at school, but eventually I finally, finally finished. I sent in a scanned copy of this diploma to get my first salaried job out of college and it put me on the path I am on today. But none of that hard work seems to matter to the senators who refuse to do the bare minimum to keep the future livable. So today I'm showing them what they're doing to my future and to the planet," said Emily Frias, Maryland Grassroots Coordinator, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and CCAN Action Fund.

Cutting the Clean Electricity Performance Program from the reconciliation package would light their future on fire. This single program would save 300,000 lives just through local air pollution reduction, and will deliver up to 30% of the emission reductions achieved by Biden's plan.

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) is the first grassroots, nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to fighting global warming in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Our mission is to build and mobilize a powerful grassroots movement in this unique region that surrounds our nation's capital to call for state, national and international policies that will put us on a path to climate stability. - See more at:;=itemlist&...