The Green New Deal and Militarism
Senator Bernie Sanders
(August 22, 2019) — Climate change is an existential threat to our country and to the entire world. If we do not act boldly and aggressively to transform our global energy system away from fossil fuels within the next few years, there will be irreparable harm done to the planet.
That is why today we are releasing our plan for a Green New Deal. It is the most bold, progressive plan to actually confront the challenge of climate change and stop it. And I am asking for you to say you support it.
Today I went to Paradise, California to see the damage inflicted less than a year ago by the devastating, climate change-fueled Camp Fire that destroyed 14,000 homes and killed 85 people.
What I saw there made clear that unless we take major action to combat climate change, what happened in Paradise will continue to happen all across the country and the planet.
Make no mistake about it. The climate crisis that we face today is similar to the enormous challenges faced by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1941, when the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor.
Faced with battling a world war on two fronts – both in the East and the West – the United States came together, and within three short years restructured the entire economy in order to win the war and defeat fascism.
As a nation and as a planet, let us stand together and boldly embrace the moral imperative of addressing the climate crisis and mobilize the political will necessary to make massive investments in sustainable energy, energy efficiency, and a transformation of our transportation system.
Today, I am proud to be releasing the most comprehensive and progressive climate change platform of any candidate running for president in the history of this country.
The Green New Deal is not going to be a way for billionaires and corporations to create even more inequality – but it will be a way for us to build an economy that works for all of us.
Let me very briefly tell you what is in this plan.
Transforming Our Energy System
A Bernie Sanders administration will eliminate all of the fossil fuel industry’s tax breaks. We will use that revenue to make massive investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable energy.
We will then use that revenue to meet the recommendations of climate scientists by moving to 100% renewable energy for electricity and transportation by 2030 and decarbonizing our economy by 2050.
We are also going to move to a full-employment economy and create 20 million new jobs in the process. These jobs will be good-paying, union jobs building the new electric cars and high-speed rail systems that we need, weatherizing millions of homes and buildings, rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, and generating sustainable energy.
Ending the Greed of the Fossil Fuel Industry
When we are in the White House, the era of fossil fuel greed is over.
That means, among other things, that we will end all of the ways taxpayers currently subsidize and support the fossil fuel industry. We will immediately end all new and existing fossil fuel extraction on federal public lands. We will ban fracking and mountaintop removal coal mining.
And let me tell you something else that we are going to do. We are finally going to end the fossil fuel industry’s legal immunity.
Make no mistake about it. What the executives of Exxon Mobil and other fossil fuel executives are doing is exactly what the tobacco industry did when it lied about the health risks associated with smoking — conduct that led to federal racketeering convictions.
That is unacceptable. When I am president, I will appoint an Attorney General who will finally hold the executives at Exxon Mobil and other fossil fuel companies accountable for their criminal behavior.
Adaptation and Just Transition to the Green New Deal
When we talk about moving away from the fossil fuel industry and towards renewable energy and energy efficiency – we are talking about the need for a just transition for workers in the fossil fuel industry.
Let’s be clear: Coal miners are not our enemy. Workers on oil rigs are not our enemy. Fossil fuel workers are doing everything they can to feed and take care of their families.
For decades, their pensions have been cut. Their health care benefits have been slashed. Their jobs have disappeared. Their communities have been destroyed. All the while, executives at fossil fuel companies get richer and richer and richer.
That is unacceptable. Fossil fuel workers deserve a just transition. They deserve a decent job. And the communities that have been destroyed by the fossil fuel industry must be rebuilt.
We will ensure that fossil fuel workers receive a living wage, re-training, a good job and a secure pension. And we will create millions of jobs rebuilding our roads, bridges, and water systems, constructing community centers, restoring our wetlands, and substantially expanding our capacity to fight forest fires and respond to climate emergencies.
How We Will Win
I would be lying to you if I said any of this is going to be easy.
This plan to save our planet would be difficult enough on its own. It will be even more so because of the amount of money the fossil fuel industry will spend to protect the profits they make from destroying our planet.
But we know that we cannot allow the greed of fossil fuel billionaires to destroy our planet and our kids’ future for one second longer.
Make no mistake. Failure is not an option. Unless we take the action necessary to save our planet and reverse climate change, our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are going to look back on this period in history and ask a very simple question: Where were they? Why didn’t the United States of America, the most powerful nation on earth, lead the international community in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and preventing the devastating damage that the scientific community was sure would come?
Winning this battle will be tough. But this is what I believe.
If we stand together, we can end the fossil fuel era that has brought us to the brink of an unprecedented disaster.
If we stand together, we can transform our energy system and create 20 million good paying jobs in the process.
If we stand together, we can create an economy free of carbon emissions.
If we stand together, there is nothing, nothing, nothing that we cannot accomplish.
Will you stand with us today and say you support the Green New Deal?
Let us go forward together and do it – future generations are counting on us to leave this planet healthy and habitable.