Bernie Sanders has attacked Hillary Clinton’s climate plan as “not enough” and slammed the Paris climate pact for going “nowhere near far enough.” With his recently unveiled “People Before Polluters” climate plan, Sanders appears ready to take unprecedented steps to combat global warming if elected to the highest office in the United States. The independent Vermont senator and 2016 Democratic presidential contender calls climate change the greatest single threat facing the planet and the biggest national security threat.
The major goal for Sanders’ comprehensive climate plan is to cut U.S. carbon pollution by 40 percent by 2030 and more than 80 percent by 2050. This would be achieved by taxing carbon pollution, repealing fossil fuel subsidies and making massive investments in energy efficiency and clean energy sources such as wind and solar.
The plan also calls for banning fossil fuel lobbyists from the White House, bringing the fossil fuel industry to justice for funding climate disinformation campaigns, returning billions of dollars to working families to ensure they aren’t hit with unfair rate hikes and protecting low-income and minority communities who are the most vulnerable to climate change. It also details ending Arctic and offshore oil drilling, banning fracking for natural gas and placing a moratorium on nuclear power plant license renewals.
Sanders would ramp up renewable energy investments in solar, wind, geothermal, hydro power, advanced renewable fuels and other renewables. The transportation system would be retrofitted to run on electricity via a clean energy smart grid — high-speed rail, electric vehicle charging stations and public transportation. Sanders says his plan to transition the country to 100 percent clean energy would create 10 million good-paying jobs.
In order to get to 100 percent clean energy, the plan points to a 50-state interactive map from The Solutions Project, based on the research from Mark Jacobson, director of the Atmosphere and Energy Program at Stanford University. Jacobson’s research has found that America can be completely powered by a combination of wind, water and solar (WWS) by 2050.
The environmental community is praising Sanders’ climate plan. Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, said that “Bernie’s vision of a transformed America is powerful, because it recognizes both the ecological need and the human priority.” Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace USA, said the plan shows that Sanders “has broken free of the corporate and 1% money that has held back climate policy for far too long. Sanders has issued a powerful call for climate justice and decisive action to keep fossil fuels in the ground and support the communities who are suffering from climate and environmental impacts.”