The point of no return for climate change “is no longer over the horizon,” the UN secretary-general recently warned. “It is in sight and hurtling toward us.” This was a blunt summary of a new report showing that the world is nowhere on track to prevent the worst impacts of the climate crisis.
America needs a president who won’t just recognize the urgency of this crisis, but one who will lead the country toward a clean energy future at the speed and scale that science demands, while also attacking income and racial inequality head-on. We need a Green New Deal — and here are some of the things I will do in the first 100 days as president to achieve it.
On day one, I’ll issue a sweeping executive order rolling back all of Donald Trump’s disastrous pro-fossil fuels policies, banning new fossil fuel leases offshore and on public lands, and committing the United States to rejoin the Paris Climate Accords. During my first 100 days as president, I’ll introduce 100% Clean Energy For America legislation that will set bold and ambitious sector-specific standards to power our economy with clean energy, and create millions of good new union jobs.
And that’s just the beginning. It’s not enough to merely say we need to act, which is why I have put forward the most detailed climate plans of any presidential candidate. After Gov. Jay Inslee called for a full government mobilization to defeat the climate crisis, I took his advice and adopted his vision with a comprehensive plan to complete the transition to clean energy by decarbonizing our electricity, our vehicles, and our buildings by 2030. My plan for green manufacturing would invest in R&D and federal procurement to develop and manufacture the clean energy technology we need right here at home, creating good middle-class manufacturing jobs across our country. My Green Marshall Plan would export those American-manufactured clean energy products around the world.
My plan for climate risk disclosure would hold corporations accountable for their role in worsening the climate crisis, using market forces to accelerate the transition away from dirty fossil fuels. From trade to agriculture to affordable housing, I have woven ideas to fight climate change while rebuilding the middle class throughout my plans — and I’m not done yet.
Some in Washington question the cost of addressing climate change. But the truth is that the cost of inaction is already impacting millions of Americans, with low-income and communities of color being hit first and worst. Wildfires rage in California. Crops are flooded in Iowa. Climate refugees fleeing natural disasters arrive on our southern border. I’ve seen the effects of environmental racism firsthand, in communities like Detroit and Rosemont, South Carolina. My proposals will lift frontline communities and address decades of discrimination and environmental racism — because in a Green New Deal, we will leave no community and no worker behind.
Inaction in Washington continues, even as our communities suffer. What's more, too many of the proposals being put forward in Washington and in the presidential race lack the ambition and the urgency required. Today we have a government, and an economy, that works great for the rich and powerful, and not very well for the rest of us. Fossil fuel billionaires like the Koch Brothers and big corporations like Exxon Mobil pay hundreds of millions to lobbyists, so-called think tanks and politicians so that they can keep drilling — and they’ve made record profits along the way. For too long, the fossil fuel companies have gotten away with pouring fuel on the fire of the climate crisis. This ends in a Warren administration.
It’s time for politicians to be honest with the American people about what it will take to defeat the climate crisis, because when Americans decide to go all in on solving a problem, there is nothing we can’t achieve together. Just like we mobilized to defeat the Nazis and put a man on the moon, we too can solve the climate crisis. Just like FDR helped create the modern middle class with the New Deal, we too can rebuild the middle class with a Green New Deal that equitably creates millions of good, union jobs. As president, I’ll unite the nation around a national climate effort, and call on everyone to rise to this challenge. We must dream big and fight hard again, and that’s what my campaign is all about.
Our states and our cities have made it clear to our allies that while our current president may not be in the fight, the American people are still in. And outside the halls of the UN’s climate summit, young people around the world continue to strike for their future. They deserve elected leaders who will fight as hard for them as they are fighting for our future. It’s time for the next president to answer their call. It’s time for a Green New Deal.
Elizabeth Warren is a US senator from Massachusetts and a candidate for president.