“We must think beyond Paris. In the first 100 days of Bernie’s presidency, he will convene a summit of the world’s best climate experts to chart a course toward the healthy future we all want for our families and communities,” the plan states, vowing to bring together the “world’s best engineers, climate scientists, policy experts, activists, and indigenous communities.”
The plan, however, goes far beyond a pledge to get people in a room talking.
He’s vowing to put in place policies that would slash U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.
That’s well beyond Obama’s vow in international climate talks to ensure policies that cut emissions by 26-28 percent by 2025. (That’s especially true because Sanders cuts are based on 1990 emissions levels, while Obama’s baseline is 2005, when emissions were higher. Simply put, Sanders is vowing deeper cuts from a lower starting point).
Sanders’ plan offers a suite of policies for getting the U.S. on that emissions pathway, and envisions “an economy powered by more than 80 percent clean-energy sources by 2050.”
Some of them would require congressional action, including his proposal for a tax on carbon emissions; doing away with a suite of fossil-fuel-industry tax breaks (though these breaks have already withstood years of Democratic onslaughts); and making “massive investments in energy efficiency and clean, sustainable energy such as wind and solar power.”
But other elements would use executive powers. Sanders says he would ratchet up fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks to an average of 65 miles per gallon in 2025. Obama administration regulations will require a fleetwide average of 54.5 miles per gallon by that year.
He also wants to thwart exports of liquefied natural gas, although regulators have already blessed a number of projects in recent years, and Sanders opposes calls to relax the decades-old, de facto ban on crude oil exports.
Overall, the platform signals that while the front-running Clinton has offered some aggressive steps on energy and climate, such as an expansive solar-power plan and opposition to Arctic offshore drilling, Sanders remains to her left on energy and the environment.
Elsewhere, the plan mirrors legislation Sanders recently floated that would bar the federal government from offering new drilling leases offshore and on public lands.
There are also vows to invest billions of dollars in modern power grids, high-speed rail, charging infrastructure for electric cars, and other low-carbon tech.
Another element of the plan is designed to provide a “just transition” for fossil-fuel-industry workers during the shift to renewable energy sources. Sanders is vowing legislation to provide a “comprehensive package of benefits for workers, including extended unemployment benefits, education opportunities, health care, and job training for those transitioning to a career in the clean-energy industry.”