Vermont Senator and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders released a climate change plan today calling for an 80 percent cut in carbon emissions by 2050.
Under Sanders’ plan, the US would cut carbon emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050, and would create a Clean Energy Workforce consisting of 10 million jobs and a 100 percent clean energy system.
Sanders said these goals could be achieved by eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, taxing carbon pollution, and investing in energy efficiency measures and renewable energy.
Sanders would also ban Arctic oil drilling, offshore oil drilling, and fracking for natural gas. He would put a moratorium on nuclear plant license renewals and stop the exports of liquefied natural gas and crude oil.
“The debate is over. The vast majority of the scientific community has spoken. Climate change is real,” Sanders said in a Time magazine article. “We will act boldly to move our energy system away from fossil fuels, toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy sources like wind, solar, and geothermal because we have a moral responsibility to leave our kids a planet that is healthy and habitable.”
In his plan, Sanders sticks to his populist politics, framing the issue not only as an environmental problem, but an economic one and calling on voters to reclaim democracy from the “billionaire fossil fuel lobby.”
To bring about environmental and economic justice, Sanders’ plan also includes a ban on fossil fuel lobbyists from working in the White House and the creation of a national environmental and climate justice plan that emphasizes health risks in low-income and minority communities.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also released a climate change plan that goes beyond current policies. Her plan calls for a 700 percent increase in solar capacity by the end of 2020 and the production of enough renewable energy to power every US home within 10 years of taking office.
Sanders plans may go further than Clinton’s, but could also be more contentious. However, both Sanders’ and Clinton’s plans go well beyond anything put forward by the Republican candidates, who largely deny human responsibility for climate change.