Bernie Sanders unveiled an ambitious climate change plan Thursday with a $16 trillion price tag that promises to create 20 million new jobs and end unemployment in America.
Billed as the 'Green New Deal,' the 2020 presidential candidate's proposal capitalizes on the notoriety of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez's climate change framework of the same name and declares global warming a climate emergency.
The document differs significantly from the detailed plans set out by Ocasio-Cortez earlier this year by omitting detailed proposals in favor of broad-brush aspirations.
Ocasio-Cortez's deal became the object of ridicule for suggesting banning farting cows and eliminating all air travel. Instead Sanders' offers a series of aspirations and little granular detail.
'Bernie will declare a national emergency on climate change and take immediate, large-scale action to reverse its effects,' the white paper on the senator's plan says. 'This is an existential threat and we will do whatever it takes to confront it.'
The plan will pay for itself over 15 years and make the United States total reliant on renewable energy for electricity and transportation by 2030, an outline boasts. It promises the Green New Deal will be far-reaching and present solutions for other major problems like illegal immigration.
He focuses his proposal around an Obama-era plan to build high speed rail system across the entire nation.
Sanders also pledges to invest heavily in an electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
'We will move beyond oil toward an electric car. Concerns of cost and whether there will be access to a charging station have prevented many people from being able to choose this low-carbon option. We are going to change that,' the proposal declares.
It insists, 'When Bernie is president, he is going to fully transform our energy sector away from fossil fuels, ensuring no one is priced out of this transition.'
Sanders' plan does more than just wean the U.S. off fossil fuels. He vows to prosecute oil companies and penalize them for the release of pollutants.
He advocates for both criminal and civil suits in his plan yet leaves it up to states and local governments to determine how they'd like to be compensated.
Already known for his stance against the billionaire class and big corporations, Sanders' plan further pits him against the oil and gas industry.
Sanders egged them on in a morning tweet promoting the plan, 'I welcome their hatred.'
'We need a president who will face down the greed of fossil fuel executives and the billionaire class who stand in the way of climate action,' he said. 'We will enact the #GreenNewDeal and bring the world together to defeat the existential threat of climate change.'
Pledging that his Green New Deal will be comprehensive, Sanders' campaign said he'd 'launch the decade of the Green New Deal' and create a nationwide program 'centered around justice and equity during which climate change will be factored into virtually every area of policy, from immigration to trade to foreign policy and beyond.'
'Together, we will reduce US carbon pollution emissions by 71 percent and emissions among less industrialized countries by 36 percent from 2017 levels by 2030,' the outline asserts.
Sanders campaign says the plan will pay for itself in a 15- year period through fines on the fossil fuel industry, higher taxes on the rich, tax income from newly created jobs, subsidy eliminations, a smaller military footprint, and the generation of new energy.
'Revenues will be collected from 2023-2035, and after 2035 electricity will be virtually free, aside from operations and maintenance costs,' the plan claims.
AOC had not weighed in on Sanders' plan as of Thursday morning. The Democratic congresswoman's Twitter account has been dark for several days. Her last tweet promoted a recent appearance on 'The Late Show' to discuss the threat posed to humanity by climate change.
She's teamed up with Sanders on several issues over the last several months, although she has yet to offer any 2020 candidate her endorsement.
In one of her last tweets before she went silent she said, 'Bernie Sanders is the enormous political courage he consistently wields on behalf of others.'
Her comment came after Sanders stood up for AOC and minority women in the House who have come under assault from the Republican president. He's fixated on the women, and Ocasio Cortez and her Green New Deal in particular.
Trump says the Green New Deal is a form of socialism that would drain the U.S. economy and send it spiraling into a recession.
'We have a group of socialists or communists could be, could be. They're not far away,' he said at a Manchester, New Hampshire, rally last week, as he invoked the plan.
Sanders hit back at Trump in his Green New Deal rollout. He called the leader's withdraw from the Paris Climate Change Agreement 'an international disgrace' and mocked the Republican's claim that 'climate change is a hoax' crafted by the Chinese.
'Donald Trump thinks climate change is a hoax. Donald Trump is bought and paid for by the fossil fuel industry. Their time is up,' Sanders tweeted. 'We are going to end the greed of the fossil fuel industry and pass a #GreenNewDeal.'
Climate change has charged into focus in the 2020 race, with two Democratic candidates basing their bids on what they've said is an urgent and existential threat.
The evening prior to Sanders' plan's release, one of those leading voice on climate change in the 2020 presidential content bowed out. Washington Jay Inslee called off his campaign, after it failed to generate enough traction to win him a podium at the next presidential debate.
Billionaire Tom Steyer continues to compete for the presidency on a platform that's centered on preventing the climate from warming.