Bernie Sanders Aims for 80 Percent Cut in Carbon Emissions

Vermont Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders proposed new legislation on December 10th to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050. The Climate Protection and Justice Act aims “to establish a price on carbon pollution,” according to a press release issued on Senator Sanders’ website.

The new bill proposal coupled with the American Clean Energy Investment Act of 2015 and The Clean Energy Worker Just Transition Act, which Senator Sanders also proposed last week, seeks to provide millions of employment opportunities for Americans while spearheading $500 billion “in clean energy investments between now and 2030,” according to a press release issued on December 8th.

One key aspect of the new bill is a focus on low-income and minority communities, offering energy efficient alternatives for renovating homes in regions often affected by climate change. The legislation that seeks to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent also aims to invest in “energy efficient and sustainable energy technologies” with working American families at the helm. 

“It is absolutely vital that we do what many economists tell us we must and that is put a price on carbon,” Senator Sanders said in last week’s Senate meeting. “It is the simplest and most direct way to make the kind of cuts in carbon pollution that we have got to make if we are going to successfully transition away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.”

The proposed Climate Protection and Justice Act would have an acting council, the Climate Justice Resiliency Council, which would oversee the allocation of funds. The act puts forth $20 billion a year in grants to climate change affected regions, an allocation of $3 billion a year for “energy efficiency investments,” and a $1 billion annual investment for the agricultural sector, as well as proposed funds for the manufacturing sector to compete with international rivals, according to the press release.

The price of carbon for fossil fuel producers and importers would increase from $15 per ton in 2017 to $37 per ton by 2035, with a 5 percent annual growth thereafter. The revenue generated would then be allocated to the 80 percent of Americans with income less than $100,000 per year in an effort to offset fossil fuel prices in the future, according to the proposed Climate Protection and Justice Act. 

Climate change is on our doorstep. And for many Americans, the effects of climate change have already begun to alter lifestyles. Often, those who pollute the least are the first to feel the precursors to the growing effects of climate change.

Factory smokeGrowing concerns over climate change were voiced by Native American community leaders who demand assistance. “We deserve equitable treatment and justice, which means resources to adapt to the rapidly changing climate, to live as a people who are identified by our culture and not as a people who once were, and to continue living as we have traditionally in spite of the changes caused by the excessive use of fossil fuel,” said Millie Hawley, president of the IIRA Council for the Native Village of Kivalina located in Alaska, according to the press release.

The effects of global climate change and the blatant ignorance of governments on the issue has brought us to a possible point of no return. The COP21 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris may have sent the message that fossil fuel is no longer the way forward, but we will see if action will prevail over words. In response, the head of Europe’s coal lobby stated that they will be “hated and vilified in the same way that slave-traders were once hated and vilified,” according to media outlets.

How do you weigh in on Bernie Sanders’ new legislation for climate change?

—Stephen Seifert

Stephen Seifert is a writer, professor, adventurer and a health & fitness guru. His flair for travel and outdoor adventure allows him to enjoy culture and traditions different than his own. A healthy diet, routine fitness and constant mental development is the cornerstone to Stephen’s life.



Recommended Articles