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Bernie Sanders unveils most extreme climate change plan of all 2020 Dems

He says the plan will 'pay for itself' in 15 years

Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) released a climate change plan Thursday that far exceeds the plans of other Democrats in both ambition and cost, according to the New York Times.

Sanders, who supported the infamous Green New Deal posted by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), gave his plan the same title and wants to eliminate fossil fuel use completely by 2050.

The Sanders plan carries a price tag of $16.3 trillion, including $200 billion committed to assisting poor nations in dealing with climate change and its impacts.

To show just how much pricier Sanders' plan is than those of his fellow Democratic candidates, Joe Biden's climate plan requires $1.7 trillion over 10 years, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) proposed a $2 trillion plan.

The ambitious plan could be an attempt by Sanders to position himself as the top climate change candidate in the Democratic primary, after Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington ended his climate change-focused bid this week.

"President Trump thinks that climate change is a hoax," Sanders said. "President Trump is dangerously, dangerously wrong. Climate change is an existential threat to the entire country and the entire world and we must be extraordinarily aggressive. I have seven grandchildren, and I'm going to be damned if I'm going to leave them a planet that is unhealthy and uninhabitable."

Sanders said his plan will pay for itself in 15 years by imposing fees on the fossil fuel industry and eliminating subsidies, scaling back military spending, and increasing tax revenue through new renewable energy jobs. Sanders claimed that the plan would create 20 million jobs.

Under his plan, climate change would be declared a national emergency, and there would be a heavy investment in new solar, wind, and geothermal power sources nationwide.

Sanders' plan does not embrace nuclear energy, instead calling for a moratorium on nuclear power plant license renewals and referring to nuclear energy as a "false solution." For some, that undermines the value of the plan.

"The Sanders plan appears to be big, but it's not serious," said Joshua Freed, vice president for clean energy at Third Way, a Democratic think tank. "We need to have every option on the table."

One last thing…
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