GOP spokeswoman calls Sanders climate change plan 'fantasy land'

A spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee (RNC) on Monday said Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersProtect women's right to choose how and when they work Senate braces for a nasty debt ceiling fight Schumer leaves door open for second vote on bipartisan infrastructure deal MORE' (I-Vt.) plan to combat climate change is "fantasy land."

“If you read Bernie’s plan, it is so radical,” Liz Harrington told Hill.TV. “It is complete government takeover, getting us off of fossil fuels.”

Sanders' campaign didn't immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment. 

Sanders last week released his sweeping Green New Deal to tackle climate change.

The $16.3 trillion proposal calls for the U.S. to transition over to 100 percent renewable energy for electricity by 2030 and complete decarbonization by 2050.

Sanders said his plan would end up creating 20 million jobs in the process.

But Harrington argued that renewable energy currently accounts for just a small percentage of total energy in the United States, saying some carbon-burning fossil fuels like natural gas that could be eliminated under Sanders’s plan are still needed for further innovation in the energy sector.

Renewable energy accounted for 11 percent of total U.S. energy consumption and generated 17 percent of electricity in 2018, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which is part of the Department of Energy.

“Natural gas that is what’s driving our innovation, that’s what’s driving this economy and it’s in a cleaner way,” Harrington told Hill.TV.

The Trump administration in June unveiled its own climate plan, which was promptly finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency. Trump's new rule would repeal and replace Obama-era regulations aimed at reducing carbon emissions from power plants. The rule essentially gives states more time and authority to decide how to best regulate carbon emissions from coal-fired plants but it sets no specific target for carbon reduction. 

At least ten environment groups have already filed a lawsuit against the administration over this new rule. A coalition of 22 states and several cities have also filed a similar lawsuit, saying the policy violates the the Clean Air Act by having nearly no impact on carbon emissions.

—Tess Bonn