In the United States, Senator Bernie Sanders on Thursday proposed a sweeping 10-year, $16 trillion plan that would rapidly transition the U.S. energy sector to renewables in order to mitigate the climate crisis. It’s the most ambitious climate plan laid out by any presidential candidate to date. Sanders announced his Green New Deal while touring Paradise, California, a town that was completely incinerated in a massive wildfire last year. Speaking at a town hall in Chico later in the day, Sanders defended the price tag of his proposal, saying the cost of inaction would be far higher.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “The economists have told us that the cost of inaction, inaction on climate change, will cost some $69 trillion throughout the globe. The scientists have told us that the cost of inaction on climate change will put the entire planet and life as we know it on Earth in serious jeopardy, because what we have been told is that if we do nothing, the effects of climate change will lead to over 250,000 deaths every single year across the globe, from factors including malnutrition, heat stress, malaria and other diseases. And that is a very conservative number.”
Sanders’s plan calls for all U.S. homes and vehicles to be powered by renewables by 2030, with massive public investment in solar, wind and geothermal electricity. It would ban fracking, mountaintop removal coal mining and international trade in fossil fuels. It would also see the U.S. rejoin the 2015 Paris climate accord and pay $200 billion to the Green Climate Fund. And it would guarantee a just transition for employees of fossil fuel industries. Sanders says his Green New Deal would create 20 million union jobs over a decade.