Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Bernie Sanders Releases Climate Plan, Continuing One-Party Debate

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Bernie Sanders Releases Climate Plan, Continuing One-Party Debate

Article excerpt

On Monday, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders became the third Democratic presidential nominee to roll out a climate change plan, tying the issue to several broader themes in his campaign, including economic inequality and money in politics, in a bid to separate himself from his Democratic rivals.

Specifically, Senator Sanders vows in his 16-page proposal to cut US carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030, create a carbon tax, repeal fossil fuel subsidies, and invest in clean energy technology as a means to both create jobs and create a "100 percent clean energy system."

While his plan is ambitious - and some may say politically impossible, at least on certain issues - it's not dramatically different from plans laid out by his Democratic rivals, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. And with polls suggesting that climate policy is much more important to Democratic voters than Republicans, it underscores the fact that while climate policy will be an important issue in the Democratic primary, it is unlikely to be one in the general election.

Mr. O'Malley was the first to release a climate plan, back in June. His plan proposes making the country powered 100 percent by renewable energy by 2050, banning offshore drilling, and increasing energy efficiency and climate resiliency in the nation's infrastructure.

Mrs. Clinton responded with her own plan a month later, underscored by two national goals: to have half-a-billion solar panels installed across the country by the end of her first term, and to have the United States generate enough renewable energy to power every home in the country within 10 years.

In his pledge to put "people before the profits of polluters," Sanders is also tying climate policy to broader issues in his campaign: namely income inequality and corporate money in politics.

In his proposal he says he would "ban fossil fuels lobbyists from working in the White House," noting that oil companies, coal companies, and electric utilities spent $2.26 billion in federal lobbying since 2009 and contributed $330 million to federal campaigns in that period. …

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