Feel the Bern on Climate Change Again

Senator Bernie Sanders threw his hat into the ring yesterday for the Democratic nomination, and he turned to climate change about halfway through his launch video, saying that he is “running for President because we need to make policy decisions based on science, not politics.  We need a President who understands that climate change is real, is an existential threat to our country and the entire planet, and that we can generate massive job creation by transforming our energy system away from fossil fuel and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy.”  The Washington Post reported that he intends to introduce a Green New Deal bill of his own in a few months that will contain more details than the resolution introduced by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey.

Senator Sanders has introduced a great deal of climate and clean energy legislation in recent years.  Here are the most significant of his bills on climate change and clean energy:

  • The Climate Protection and Justice Act, to tax carbon and methane emissions from coal, oil, and natural gas at the source of production, and to use the revenue to make historic investments in energy efficiency and sustainable energy.
  • The Low-Income Solar Act would help ensure that all Americans can benefit from the energy and cost savings of solar, by providing grants to low-income families to offset the upfront costs of residential solar arrays, and by improving access to community solar projects.
  • The End Polluter Welfare Act would end subsidies to the huge fossil fuel companies that have long benefited from decades of generous tax breaks, subsidized leases and loan programs.
  • The Residential Energy Savings Act would fund energy efficiency financing programs that help homeowners and residents invest in energy efficiency retrofits.
  • The Clean Energy Workforce Just Transition Act to help retrain workers and make investments in a 21st century economy, including clean energy technologies, broadband infrastructure, and entrepreneurial hubs in regions most impacted by the shift away from fossil fuels.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is also a candidate, put out a video yesterday via Twitter endorsing the Green New Deal and the need for bold action on climate change, saying “We need real, structural change to protect our environment – and we need it now.”

Why This Matters: With Bernie Sanders now in the race, the Green New Deal is firmly in the mix of issues that will be discussed and debated by the Democratic candidates for President.  The conversation is changing already – this is no longer a second-tier issue.  But the debate needs to go from platitudes to policy proposals.  And that will keep the issues of climate change and environment on the front pages until election day.  We at ODP intend to focus on the Green New Deal and what all the candidates think it should contain.  Keep reading us for the best information and analysis of all things GND.  

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