Common ground is emerging after the second meeting of the joint climate task force devised by Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden, according to one participant.
Varshini Prakash, a co-founder of the Sunrise Movement who was appointed to the task force by Sanders, the Vermont independent, said the first two meetings have been "encouraging" and left her "cautiously optimistic."
After becoming the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Biden suggested he would expand his climate plan and agreed to form six policy task forces with Sanders supporters in an attempt to bridge the divide between the party’s progressive and centrist wings.
The comments from Prakash, a vocal Biden critic during the primary, suggest Biden’s overtures to the left have made some headway.
"I’ve also seen the Biden folks bring a lot," she said in a video posted yesterday, after lauding the other members appointed by Sanders.
Prakash specifically praised two task force members appointed by Biden, Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Va.) and Gina McCarthy, the former EPA administrator who now heads the Natural Resources Defense Council.
McEachin brought "a ton of ideas for how to do bottom-up policymaking, where we listen first and then craft policy out of what communities need," Prakash said.
McCarthy, she said, "has been stressing the importance of timelines and urgency, that the benefits of this transition need to get to people today and tomorrow, not by 2050."
The next task force meeting would focus on more specifics, Prakash said.
Prakash didn’t mention Secretary of State John Kerry, whom Biden appointed as co-chair, or Biden’s other two picks, Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, and Kerry Duggan, a former energy and environment aide to Biden.
The other members are Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who is also a co-chair, and Catherine Flowers, founder of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice. Both were appointed by Sanders.
During the primary, the Sunrise Movement graded Biden’s climate plan as an F-minus. Biden has not gotten an endorsement from the group, which helped popularize the Green New Deal, and some of its local chapters have ruled out endorsing him — an uncommon stance among environmentalists.
The group’s national organization has taken a less confrontational tone.
Sunrise leaders have met with Biden’s top advisers. And in her video message, Prakash said she would use the task force to push for a 10-year timeline for climate mobilization and an emphasis on justice and equity.