On August 22nd, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) released a 14,000-word plan to implement the Green New Deal—a detailed blueprint to “avert climate catastrophe and create 20 million new jobs.” Declaring climate change a “global emergency,” “existential threat,” and “the single greatest challenge facing our country,” Sanders lays out an agenda to “transform our energy system away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.” The plan would also “guarantee health care, housing, and a good-paying job to every American, especially to those who have been historically excluded from economic prosperity.”
Major goals include:
- Achieve 100 percent renewable energy for electricity and transportation by no later than 2030 and complete de-carbonization by 2050.
- Directly invest $16.3 trillion toward these efforts in line with the mobilization of resources made during the New Deal and World War II.
- Guarantee five years of current salary, housing assistance, job training, health care, pension support, priority job placement, and early retirement for displaced fossil fuel workers.
- Declare climate change a national emergency.
- Provide $200 billion to the Green Climate Fund, rejoin the Paris Agreement, and reassert U.S. leadership on climate change.
- Reduce domestic emissions by at least 71 percent by 2030 and reduce emissions among less industrialized nations by 36 percent by 2030—the total equivalent of reducing U.S. domestic emissions by 161 percent.
Sanders claims the plan will “pay for itself over 15 years” by:
- Making the fossil fuel industry pay for their pollution, through litigation, fees, and taxes, and eliminating federal fossil fuel subsidies.
- Producing revenue from electricity generation and wholesale distribution under the control of four federal Power Marketing Authorities.
- Scaling back military spending no longer needed to defend foreign oil fields and oil transport routes.
- Collecting new income tax revenue from the 20 million new jobs created by the plan.
- Reducing federal and state safety net spending as millions of unemployed and underemployed workers obtain good-paying, unionized jobs.
- Making the wealthy and large corporations pay their “fair share.”
Whether one believes the plan would boost U.S. prosperity or crush it, this much is clear—Sen. Sanders is targeting the companies that supply 80 percent of U.S. energy. The plan would “make the fossil fuel industry pay for their pollution” by “massively raising taxes on corporate polluters’ and investors’ fossil fuel income and wealth,” raise penalties on pollution from fossil fuel energy generation, and prosecute executives who misled the American people about climate change risks.
The plan would also ban offshore drilling, end all new federal fossil fuel infrastructure permits, ban fracking and mountaintop coal mining, ban fossil fuel exports and imports, and adopt new financial rules pressuring financial institutions, universities, insurance corporations, and large institutional investors to dump fossil fuel stock.