Credit: Dustin Chambers for The New York Times
WASHINGTON — Senator Bernie Sanders on Thursday will release a $16.3 trillion blueprint to fight climate change, the latest and most expensive proposal from the field of Democratic presidential candidates aimed at reining in planet-warming greenhouse gases.
Mr. Sanders’s proposal comes one day after Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, who made climate change the central focus of his campaign, announced he was dropping out of the 2020 race. Mr. Inslee’s absence could create an opening for another presidential aspirant to seize the mantle of “climate candidate.”
Mr. Sanders was an early supporter of the Green New Deal, an ambitious but nonbinding congressional plan for tackling global warming and economic inequality. He is bestowing that same name upon his new plan, which calls for the United States to eliminate fossil fuel use by 2050.
It declares climate change a national emergency; envisions building new solar, wind and geothermal power sources across the country; and commits $200 billion to help poor nations cope with climate change.
Mr. Sanders said in an interview Wednesday night that his proposal would “pay for itself” over 15 years and create 20 million jobs in the process.
There is no broadly agreed-upon figure of how much needs to be spent to decarbonize the United States economy, but one study estimated that as much as $4.5 trillion could be needed just to modernize the nation’s power grid.
Still, the Sanders plan’s eye-popping price tag is several times bigger than those of his leading opponents. Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has called for spending $1.7 trillion over 10 years. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has a $2 trillion green manufacturing plan. Other candidates, including former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas, have also put forth ambitious proposals. MORE