The Intercept - August 22, 2019

"One major reason why the previous 2007 plan flopped is that some of its most influential advocates were more concerned about winning over corporations than convincing the public it was a good idea."

If you tried to design a program with the aim of offending the top brass of the world’s most powerful corporations and the politicians whose careers they bankroll, you’d get something like what Bernie Sanders unveiled today in his $16.3 trillion Green New Deal platform. That’s part of the point. “We need a president who has the courage, the vision, and the record to face down the greed of fossil fuel executives and the billionaire class who stand in the way of climate action,” the plan’s opening salvo states, going on to echo a famous line from Franklin Delano Roosevelt. “We need a president who welcomes their hatred.”

Sanders outlines an expansive system, building on the resolution introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey in April, that would generate publicly owned clean energy and 20 million new jobs, end fossil fuels imports and exports, revivify the social safety net, redress historical injustices like environmental racism, and make prolific investments toward decarbonization at home and abroad — among many, many other things. It would not only transition American society away from fossil fuels but renegotiate decades-old nostrums, championed by the right, about the respective roles of the government and the economy.

“It definitely is the biggest and boldest plan and vision out there,” Evan Weber, political director for the Sunrise Movement, told The Intercept, “both in the sheer scale of it and also in a lot of the mechanisms for achieving that scale, that really seem like [Sanders is] pushing the boundaries of how American society currently is structured.”

There are novel, meaty policy proposals that make Sanders’s proposal stand out from an already ambitious field: a cash-for-clunkers and financial assistance program to scale up electric vehicle usage, and plans to boost public transit ridership 65 percent by 2030; a requirement that the Congressional Budget Office work with the Environmental Protection Agency to give new legislation a “climate score,” like the budget scores it currently doles out; and abiding by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to ensure the free, prior, and informed consent by Indigenous peoples.

It’s also sparked controversy among energy wonks who see anti-nuclear provisions as antithetical to decarbonization. The plan also rules out carbon capture and storage, which experts suggest may be necessary in the short-run to transition hard-to-decarbonize sectors — but that fossil fuel executives have also long pushed as a way to extend its life indefinitely. Carbon taxes have been a mainstay of Sanders’s climate plans, and his Green New Deal blueprint doesn’t foreclose on the option but also doesn’t emphasize it. ...
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