Elizabeth Warren on Climate and Jobs

June 10, 2019

From a recent MSNBC Town Hall.

Inside Climate News compared candidate programs, below.

Biden’s program stops short of embracing the most politically challenging policy elements that the most ardent supporters of the Green New Deal would like to see linked to a climate plan, like universal jobs and health care.

Still, Biden said he “believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face,” his campaign’s online summaryof the plan said. “Our environment and our economy are completely and totally connected.”

Biden promised investment in “coal and power plant communities and other communities impacted by the climate transformation” as part of his plan. “This is support they’ve earned for fueling our country’s industrial revolution and decades of economic growth,” the plan said. “We’re not going to leave any workers or communities behind.”

Also, for the first time, Biden said he would not take campaign contributions from oil, gas or coal companies or their executives. That appears to put him in line with the majority of Democratic presidential candidates, who have signed a No Fossil Fuel Funding pledge.

How Does It Compare to Others?

Biden’s platform is not that far from that of Jay Inslee, for example, the Washington governor who says climate change is Issue No. 1, but who’s far behind Biden in early polls.

For both candidates, the goal is a clean energy economy, achieved in part through massive infrastructure spending to hasten the transition and build greater resilience for communities suffering climate impacts.

Biden foresees $1.7 trillion in spending over the next 10 years, and $3.3 trillion in investments by the private sector and state and local governments. That’s about on par with the size of the $5 trillion climate plan of former U.S. Rep Beto O’Rourke of Texas, who was the first of the Democratic presidential contenders with a detailed climate plan. Both Biden’s and O’Rourke’s plans are about half the size of Inslee’s proposed $3 trillion in federal spending and $6 trillion in private spending over the next decade.

Neither candidate mentions carbon taxes as a means to fund this effort or unleash market incentives for clean energy, although Biden calls for “an enforcement mechanism … based on the principles that polluters must bear the full cost of the carbon pollution they are emitting.” He said it would include “clear, legally-binding emissions reductions,” implying a carbon cap approach.

Biden said he would pay for his plan by “reversing the excesses of the Trump tax cuts for corporations” and ending fossil fuel industry subsidies.

Biden pledged to create a new agency—ARPA-C, or “Advanced Research Projects Agency-Climate”—with a broader focus on greenhouse gas reduction technology than the technology incubator agency created at the start of the Obama administration, ARPA-E. For example, ARPA-C would include in its mission grants to jump-start early-stage technology aimed at reducing emissions in the food and agriculture sector—an area that experts believe has great potential to help address the climate crisis but is outside the purview of ARPA-E. Biden’s not the only Democratic presidential candidate thinking along these lines—Inslee has proposed an ARPA-Ag agency, and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet has an idea for an ARPA-TERRA.

Warren Also Launches a Climate Plan

Not to be outdone, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who had already released extensive policy statements on climate, threw another $2 trillion into the mix with a posting on Medium that described a 10-year program of investment in green research, manufacturing and exporting.

She wrote that it would create jobs and help “achieve the ambitious targets of the Green New Deal.”

Her plan would include $400 billion in funding over the next 10 years for green research and development, which she called a tenfold increase over the rate of spending during the past decade. It would spend $1.5 trillion for American-made clean energy products “for federal, state and local use, and for export.” She compared this to the “bloated” military procurement budget projected for the coming decade. This spending, a 30 percent increase over total federal procurement contracts, would go for everything from light bulbs to electric vehicles.

She also called for $100 billion a year in foreign assistance to purchase emissions-free American energy technology.

7 Responses to “Elizabeth Warren on Climate and Jobs”

  1. jimbills Says:

    “Biden’s platform is not that far from that of Jay Inslee, for example, the Washington governor who says climate change is Issue No. 1, but who’s far behind Biden in early polls.”

    That is a largely incorrect journalistic interpretation. Inslee is calling for 100% renewables by 2035 with a planned timeline whereas Biden’s is calling for net zero by 2050 with a grab bag of proposals like funding research on CCS and biofuels.


    ‘Inslee’s newly released proposal would put a 10-year plan into place that would mandate the following by 2030: “Reach 100% zero emissions in new light- and medium-duty vehicles and all buses, achieve 100% zero-carbon pollution from all new commercial and residential buildings; and set a national 100% Clean Electricity Standard, requiring 100% carbon-neutral power by 2030, putting America on a path to having all clean, renewable and zero- emission energy in electricity generation by 2035.”‘

    Inslee himself has said that Biden’s plan “lacked teeth”:

    • dumboldguy Says:

      So, JB, when are you going to stop talking about all these men who are running and concentrate more on the women, particularly Warren, who you seemed to dismiss on another thread with a comment to the effect that she should stay in the Senate and be a “kick-ass” Senator.

      The very reason she’d be a kick-ass president is that she HAS been a kick-ass Senator and has plans to deal with nearly ALL the problems of dirty money, corruption, lobbying, and the corporatocracy-plutocracy that has bought our country. Saying she should remain in the senate actually sounds kind of sexist—-sort of like “women should keep busy with the cooking, laundry, and making babies” and leave the REAL work to the men.

      Biden is a politician, pure and simple, and Inslee is a one-issue type who does not have Warren’s broad view or solutions. Give her the attention she is due.

      • jimbills Says:

        Please point to the post where I said or even implied she should stay in the Senate, because I’m quite sure I never wrote such a thing. I’ve never thought it, either.

        I’d say I should be allowed to respond to a quoted statement about just Inslee and Biden from time to time.

        I’ve made multiple comments about Warren. This was the first time I commented about Inslee. Calm down.

  2. J4Zonian Says:

    “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s climate plan is the only one that matches scientific consensus on the environment”

    We’re not going to stay under 1.5°. It’s virtually impossible to stay under 2° at this point, even if every country lives up to its agreements, which they’re not and won’t–at least without an ass kicking. We’re headed for at least 3°C and more likely 4 or 5°.
    That’s likely to lead to the deaths of 80-90% of people on Earth.
    2 comments: https://grist.org/article/600-environmental-orgs-say-this-is-what-they-want-in-a-green-new-deal/#comment-4285915404

    This is an emergency; we need to say so and act like it, and anyone not making that explicit through both words and actions should not be elected to anything, let alone president.


  3. doldrom Says:

    Don’t trust Biden. He’s always been in league with the corporatocracy and the big funding. He’s only adding things to the billing to help his campaign and his chances of winning … he won’t execute on anything meaningful. Betting on CCS is the typical way to avoid what needs to be done and procrastinate while leaving the ball in the corporate money court.

    Any plan that doesn’t even get around to at a minimum a form of carbon dividends will not make serious dents.

    Politically, although I am sympathetic to action about jobs and medical coverage, rolling them up together with “green” goals is not a good way to actually get anything enacted. Concentrate on separate planks, one thing at a time, without making a “comprehensive” program that will only serve as a bull’s eye for detractors.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      You may want to rethink that last paragraph—it does not show the same clear thinking as the other two.

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