Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke announced a major climate change plan during a Monday speech at Yosemite National Park in California.
It’s a doosey, ABC News reports. Check it out:
The four-pillar plan, which marks the first major policy rollout of the former Texas congressman’s presidential bid and would be carried out through both executive action and legislation, calls for an initial $1.5 trillion federal investment to “transform” the nation’s infrastructure “and empower our people and communities to lead the climate fight,” which would then “mobilize” $5 trillion total, according to a campaign memo released Monday.
Five. Trillion. Dollars.
During the announcement, O’Rourke pledged that the massive spending project would be one of the first pieces of legislation he would submit to Congress—within the first 100 days of being sworn into office.
As president and via the climate change proposal, the former Texas congressman said he hopes to “enact an enforceable standard that guarantees the United States will achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and be halfway there by 2030.”
“The greatest threat we face — which will test our country, our democracy, every single one of us — is climate change. We have one last chance to unleash the ingenuity and political will of hundreds of millions of Americans to meet this moment before it’s too late,” O’Rourke said in a statement which was released alongside the proposal.
ABC News adds:
While other plans are likely forthcoming, O’Rourke’s is among the first in the Democratic field to take on the issue of climate change with significant federal action, and comes as the party’s progressive wing, bolstered by young voters, is continuing to call for candidates to take a more aggressive approach.
Earlier this month, young climate change activists came to Washington D.C. to tell Congress that their lives are at risk unless the U.S. government takes bold steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
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“The government is taking actions that are directly contributing to the destruction of our planet,” said Aji Piper, an 18-year-old high school dropout from Seattle who is suing the federal government for failing to curb carbon emissions.
O’Rourke, who has struggled to regain the early momentum generated by his initial campaign announcement, is hoping that those same young voters will reward his focus on climate change, even as he competes for the same voters who have gravitated towards Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year old, openly gay Mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
While the $5 trillion price tag is far from the $93 trillion costs of the Green New Deal—an estimated figure that some politicians have peddled about Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal—it still would come as a massive toll to taxpayers.
ABC News reports O’Rourke claims he would pay for the proposal from “revenues generated by structural changes to the tax code that ensure corporations and the wealthiest among us pay their fair share and that we finally end the tens of billions of dollars of tax breaks currently given to fossil fuel companies.”
The proposal would usher the United States back into the internationally acclaimed Paris Climate Accords and would ramp up the U.S. effort to a “first-ever, net-zero emissions by 2030 carbon budget for federal lands, stopping new fossil fuel leases, changing royalties to reflect climate costs, and accelerating renewables development and forestation.”
Several Democratic presidential candidates have prioritized climate change and released plans of their own to combat it.