Beto O’Rourke Unveils $5 Trillion Climate Change Agenda

Michael Bastasch

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke unveiled his own version of the Green New Deal, calling global warming the “greatest threat we face.”

The plan calls for $5 trillion over 10 years to build out renewable energy and infrastructure, increase research spending, affordable housing and a slew of other programs aimed at subsidizing U.S. households.

O’Rourke’s ultimate goal is to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, getting halfway there by 2030 through a “legally enforceable standard,” according to the plan’s one-page summary.

O’Rourke also said his plan would use “the full force of our democracy” to cut emissions and boost the economy. O’Rourke unveiled his climate agenda in Yosetime before meeting with climate scientists, according to CNN.

“Climate change is the greatest threat we face,” O’Rourke said in a tweet Monday. “And we won’t solve it with half measures or half the country. It will take all of us. That’s why I just announced an historic, ambitious plan to meet this challenge and invest in our communities.”

O’Rourke’s climate plan is similar to the Green New Deal resolution introduced by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey in February. However, the Green New Deal calls for net-zero emissions in 10 years.

Whereas the Green New Deal is estimated to cost tens of trillions of dollars, O’Rourke said his $5 trillion would be leveraged with $1.5 trillion in government spending. That spending would be paid for by the wealthy and corporations paying “their fair share” and ending “tax breaks” for fossil fuel companies, according to the plan.

O’Rourke would also issue executive orders and regulations aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and he would rejoin the Paris climate accord that President Donald Trump plans on withdrawing from next year.

Executive actions would also include banning new coal, natural gas and oil extraction leases on federal lands, according to the plan — a plan nearly identical to what Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren proposed two weeks ago.

Both O’Rourke and Warren, also a Democratic 2020 contender, also proposed dramatically increasing renewable energy generation on public lands — which concerns conservationists — and making more areas off-limits to development, including by expanding national parks and monuments.

“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 Monday.

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