Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been building momentum all year. On Monday, Sanders will become the third Democratic presidential nominee to present a climate change plan. Senator Sanders, 74, plans to cut U.S. carbon emissions by 40 percent by the year 2030, implement a carbon tax, and repeal fossil fuel subsidies. In addition, he will invest in clean energy technology in order to create jobs and establish a “100 percent clean energy system,” NBC News reports.
“Right now, we have an energy policy that is rigged to boost the profits of big oil companies like Exxon, BP, and Shell at the expense of average Americans. CEO’s are raking in record profits while climate change ravages our planet and our people — all because the wealthiest industry in the history of our planet has bribed politicians into complacency in the face of climate change. Enough is enough. It’s time for a political revolution that takes on the fossil fuel billionaires, accelerates our transition to clean energy, and finally puts people before the profits of polluters.”
Climate change is an economic issue, health concern, and security threat all at once. #PeopleBeforePolluters https://t.co/1fRop010UL
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) December 7, 2015
“Bernie will tax polluters causing the climate crisis, and return billions of dollars to working families to ensure the fossil fuel companies don’t subject us to unfair rate hikes. Bernie knows that climate change will not affect everyone equally,” the Bernie Sanders climate plan will say. “The carbon tax will also protect those most impacted by the transformation of our energy system and protect the most vulnerable communities in the country suffering the ravages of climate change.”
Bernie Sanders also plans to go after the fossil fuel industry and will ban any fossil fuel lobbyists attempting to work in the White House. He cites that the oil and coal companies and the electric utilities spent over $2 billion in federal lobbying ever since 2009 and they contributed $330 million to federal campaigns during that time period. Sanders also outlines a desire to craft a climate plan that “recognizes the heightened public health risks faced by low-income and minority communities.”
Although the chances that climate change is going to be an important issue during the general elections are not very big. National security, the economy, and immigration are likely to overshadow the issue of climate change during the general election.
“It continues to rank low on a list of priorities that voters care about,” says Amy Harder, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, “and I think Republicans will see that.”
But Bernie Sanders, along with Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley, have crafted more ambitious climate plans than President Obama. O’Malley is calling for fossil fuels to be completely phased out by 2050, and Clinton is calling for America to get 33 percent of its electricity from clean energy by the year 2027.
“The debate is over,” says Sanders. “The vast majority of the scientific community has spoken. Climate change is real, it is caused by human activity, and it is already causing devastating harm here in the United States, and to people all around the globe. So what are we going to do about it? 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.”
[Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images]