On Thursday, the Vermont senator unveiled his $16 trillion proposal to combat climate change and create green jobs.

By Eliza Thompson
August 23, 2019 09:18 AM
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On Thursday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders released his proposal for a Green New Deal that would combat climate change and create green jobs. The ambitious $16 trillion plan aims to fully eliminate all fossil fuel use in the United States by 2050, and would declare climate change a national emergency. “We’re fighting for the future of the planet,” Senator Sanders said on Thursday during a tour of a California town ravaged by wildfires last year. “It is expensive, but the cost of doing nothing is more expensive.”

The senator’s plan would create 20 million new jobs in areas like sustainable agriculture and energy efficiency retrofitting, and promises to protect fossil fuel workers who would be displaced by the new focus on renewable energy. He also emphasizes protection for “frontline communities” — those people living in under-resourced areas affected by climate change — with a $40 billion Climate Justice Resiliency Fund.

Sanders has long been a supporter of the original Green New Deal resolution championed by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and organizations like the Sunrise Movement. Other candidates have also released climate change agendas, but Sanders’s is far and away the most expensive. Senator Elizabeth Warren, for example, has put forth a $2 trillion green manufacturing plan, while former Vice President Joe Biden has a plan to spend $1.7 trillion to make the U.S. carbon-free by 2050. 

Despite the plan’s high cost, Sanders claims that it will pay for itself within 15 years, and says that not taking action will result in higher costs — both economic and otherwise — for future generations. “I’ve got four kids and seven beautiful grandkids,” Sanders said in April. “I refuse to leave them a planet that is not healthy and habitable.”

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