Beto O’Rourke, a Democratic presidential candidate, has signed a pledge to not accept any campaign donations from the oil and gas industry, and to return donations received since the start of his campaign that do not fit in with the requirements of the pledge.
The Hill quotes the initiators of the pledge, a youth climate group, Sunrise Movement, as urging candidates and other politicians to "reject contributions from fossil fuel executives, lobbyists and their front groups and protect our health, climate, and democracy instead."
The group has now applauded O’Rourke, who, according to media reports, had earlier refused to sign the pledge and was quoted by Bloomberg as saying:
"If you work in the oil fields, you answer the phones in the office, if you’re one of my fellow Texans in one of our state’s largest employers, we’re not going to single you out from being unable to participate in our democracy."
There is something to be said about the difference between a roughneck and an office administrator at an oil company and the executives and lobbyists for the industry, so it would be interesting if the candidate will continue accepting individual donations from people working in the oil and gas industry.
Sunrise Movement praised the hopeful for his move in a tweet.
The group also boasted that "So far, over 1400 candidates have signed the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge nationwide, including 12 of 20 presidential candidates. Any candidate who wants to be taken seriously by our generation needs to sign the pledge and back the Green New Deal.”
O’Rourke last week released a climate change plan that aims to make the United States a net zero emitter by 2050 for the price of US$5 trillion. At the time, O’Rourke said if he was elected he would introduce a “legally enforceable” rule that Americans remove an amount of greenhouse gases equal to the amount they produce.