Elizabeth Warren’s weakness

First of all, a reminder that Elizabeth Warren is not running for president.

While Warren is terrific on economic issues (and seems to be influencing Hillary Clinton’s campaign in that regard), Warren is not so good on climate change, at least not yet, according to an article by Ben Adler at Mother Jones.

1dae3-elizabeth-warrenLast month, the people behind Ready for Warren launched Environmental Activists for Warren, arguing that she is an environmentalist’s best possible candidate.

But is she? In fact, her Senate record includes no notable acts of leadership on climate change. Her voting record is strong, but she hasn’t introduced climate legislation or been among the most outspoken on the issue. The one thing she has done, which her supporters eagerly point to, is come out against the Keystone XL pipeline. This does put her to the left of Hillary Clinton on the issue, but not Bernie Sanders, the presidential candidate and senator from Vermont, who not only opposes Keystone but has a long record of introducing climate and clean energy legislation.

“There’s not much there,” says R.L. Miller, founder of the Climate Hawks Vote super-PAC, regarding Warren’s climate record. “So far she hasn’t done much besides signal that she is against the Keystone pipeline, which is sort of a no-brainer when you’re a Democrat in a blue state.” Climate Hawks Vote ranks senators not just by their votes but by their leadership. In its latest rankings for the last Congress, Warren was tied for 23rd in the Senate—right in the middle of the pack for her party. Her cumulative score on climate leadership was about half that of Sanders, who came in first.

Miller does express hope that Warren will distinguish herself more as a climate leader going forward. In April, Warren called for climate action and slammed oil companies during a speech at the Good Jobs, Green Jobs conference in Washington, DC. And in January, she joined the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which will give her an opportunity to work more on these issues. Miller also notes that Warren’s willingness to criticize big corporations and stand for the public against their interests may create opportunities for more aggressive climate policies in her future.