Steyer vows to declare climate change a national emergency as part of sweeping environmental plan

Steyer vows to declare climate change a national emergency as part of sweeping environmental plan

Tom SteyerThomas (Tom) Fahr SteyerCNN, NY Times to host next Democratic debate in October The Hill's 12:30 Report: House panel approves impeachment powers Steyer calls for formal impeachment inquiry against Trump in new ad MORE, the newest addition to the Democratic race for president,  said he would declare climate change a national emergency his first day in office as part of a sweeping environmental plan released Thursday. 

Steyer said he would also press Congress to pass a Green New Deal and craft a plan to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, create eco-friendly jobs and invest in green infrastructure. 

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“We can’t continue to deny science and roll back environmental protections. We must treat the climate crisis with the urgency it demands,” Steyer said in a video posted today. “As president, I will work first and foremost to restore power to the people. ... A better and safer future is possible if we act now. We will boost local economies, support diverse businesses, and create millions of good jobs, while ensuring justice and protecting the planet.” 

Steyer’s plan would aim to drive all forms of global warming pollution to net-zero by 2045 by eliminating fossil fuel pollution from all sectors, eliminating air pollution from diesel engines and power plants by 2030 and tripling funding for research and development for clean technology, among other things.

He also intends to create a million jobs through a Civilian Climate Corps and bolster coordination with local governments to provide the necessary tools for community-based efforts to tackle climate change.

The plan contains hefty investments, including $50 billion to help communities reliant on jobs tied to fossil fuels as their economies diversify and $2 trillion in federal funding over 10 years for “Climate-smart infrastructure.”

Steyer has worked to angle his campaign’s appeal to the Democratic Party’s progressive flank and has incorporated several liberal priorities in his plan, including ensuring that former fossil fuel workers have access to health care and equivalent wages and benefits and that workers in new industries have the right to retain or transfer union membership or create new unions.

The entrepreneur is the first 2020 candidate to vow to declare climate change a national emergency, mirroring a controversial move by President TrumpDonald John TrumpHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Celebrating 'Hispanic Heritage Month' in the Age of Trump Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy MORE to invoke the powers to build a wall on the southern border.

Climate change has rapidly emerged as a top animating issue for the Democratic primary field, with several candidates releasing competing plans they say are best situated to reverse the trend.