US energy transition
Image credit: Michael Ainsworth/AP Images

US Senator Bernie Sanders, considered a leading contender for nomination as the 2020 Democratic Party presidential candidate, has announced his much-anticipated climate policy proposal. “We can sure as hell transform our energy system away from fossil fuels to 100% renewables today and create millions of jobs in the process.”

The Sanders New Green Deal promised a revision of what amounts to all aspects of the country’s society, by calling for the elimination of support for fossil-fuel generation, and increased investment in wind and solar, energy efficiency and electrified transport. The plan requires a full transition to 100% renewable electricity and transportation by 2030 at the latest.

According to the plan “Climate change will be factored into virtually every area of policy,” the plan reads, “The federal government electrified America as part of the New Deal. The United States of America put people on the moon 50 years ago…”

“We can sure as hell transform our energy system away from fossil fuels to 100% renewables today and create millions of jobs in the process.”

In terms of investment, the plan would require financial input to the tune of $16.3 trillion — the biggest spend proposed by a Democratic candidate to date, with a $1.52 trillion share aimed directly at renewable energy and $852 billion to the development of energy storage and related infrastructure.

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Should Sanders win the White House, electricity will be distributed through a $526 billion, publically-owned smart grid. The grid would distribute electricity under the management of five Power Market administrations, up from the current four, as well as the country’s Bureau of Reclamation and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

How to pay for it all?

Sander’s proposes the elimination of fossil-fuel subsidies, a cut in global military spending on oil-related activities, and income tax from the projected 20 million jobs resulting from the plan. The plan further projects that whilst electricity revenues will power the plan between 2023 and 2035, electricity would be “virtually free” and will ensure “the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share."

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