Bernie Talks the Talk On Climate, Will America Walk the Walk?

Bernie Sanders on Climate Change

Vermont Senator and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders recently unveiled a comprehensive plan on Monday that makes his position clear on energy policy and climate change. He accused the “billionaire fossil fuel lobby” of opposing any and all responsible actions to limit carbon emissions, just the way the tobacco industry fought anti-smoking policies for 50 years. “Instead of engaging on this issue in good faith and allow democracy to play out, executives and lobbyists for coal, oil and gas companies have blocked every attempt to make progress on climate change and thrown unprecedented amounts of money at elected officials to buy their loyalty,” Sanders said.

Sanders calls climate change “the single greatest threat facing our planet.” His plan seeks to reduce carbon pollution by 80% before the year 2050. It calls for and end to Arctic and offshore oil drilling, a ban on fracking for natural gas, stopping exports of liquefied natural gas and crude oil, and a moratorium on nuclear power plant license renewals in the United States. He also calls for an end to the direct and indirect subsidies given to fossil fuel industries every year. The International Monetary Fund estimates those subsidies total more than 5 trillion globally annually.

Bernie Sanders calls for significant investment in clean, renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal and hydro power. He wants to increase fuel economy standards for automobiles, build electric vehicle charging infrastructure, invest in high speed rail system and make U.S. cities more walkable- and Sanders says his plan will create 10,000,000 new jobs for American workers.

Bernie Sanders’ plan received rave reviews from several leading environmentalists, including Bill McKibben, co-founder of “Bernie has shown with years of committed action that he will not just talk about this stuff on the campaign trail, he will do it in the Oval Office,” McKibben said in a statement released by Sanders’s campaign.

The timing of Bernie’s announcement could not have been better, as representatives from around the world are gathered in Paris this week at the COP21 conference to discuss ways to stave off the worst effects of climate change. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors echoed many of Sander’s proposals during an address at the Sorbonne last week. So far, Sanders has proposed the most far reaching plan of all the candidates.

So, the questions are: Is it real? Is it workable? Will it appeal to American voters? You’re American voters (unless you aren’t- Ed.), let us know what you think in the comments, below.


Source | Images: Washington Post.

Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.