Castro releases climate plan

Castro releases climate plan

Democratic presidential hopeful Julián Castro released a robust climate plan Tuesday, setting goals for decarbonizing the economy, addressing environmental discrimination and combating the effects of climate change.

The plan, released a day ahead of a CNN town hall on climate, touches on a number of priorities laid out in the Green New Deal and combines a number of ideas proposed by other candidates. 

“People do not live their lives in silos and so our plan is intersectional,” Castro said in the proposal titled "People and Planet First." “We will build a 100 percent clean energy economy that both combats the climate crisis and tackles structural inequality.”

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The former secretary for Housing and Urban Development laid out stages for transitioning away from carbon-producing sources of pollution, starting with phasing out coal-fired power plants by 2030 to ultimately reaching net-zero emissions in the U.S. by 2045.

Castro hopes to reach global net-zero emissions by 2050.

The plan is likely to help bolster Castro’s environmental credentials as climate change becomes an increasingly important issue to Democratic voters. 

The former mayor of San Antonio currently ranks 10th in many national polls

Castro also commits to proposing civil rights legislation on his first day in office that would require all federal actions to be reviewed for environmental and health impacts on low-income and marginalized communities. That bill would strengthen the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to go after polluters, but it would also give communities and individuals greater legal power to sue companies whose pollution has a disparate impact on communities of color.

Castro would also create a status for “climate refugees” who seek to immigrate because of climate change.

This portion of the plan also would direct Congress to invest $50 billion over 10 years to replace all lead pipes and eliminate lead in paint and soil. He also vows to reinstate and triple the Superfund tax to cover the cost of cleaning up major hazardous waste sites. 

All of these efforts would be overseen by a National Climate Council housed within the executive branch.

His proposal also includes other ideas central to the Green New Deal, the resolution proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezProgressives push for changes to Pelosi drug pricing plan Sanders defends job losses from ending use of fossil fuels Trump spokeswoman: Health care will be 'big' selling point for union workers MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeySanders defends job losses from ending use of fossil fuels The Hill's Morning Report - Pompeo condemns Iran for 'act of war' while Trump moves with caution Defense bill talks set to start amid wall fight MORE (D-Mass.), including a transition plan for employees of the fossil fuel industry. He would also stop the extraction of fossil fuels on public lands and end taxpayer subsidies for fossil fuel production. He calls for support of “social infrastructure” like a $15 minimum wage, improving public education and offering universal health care.

To battle climate change, Castro would start a $200 billion green infrastructure fund, increase funding for disaster planning and response, and start a Green Opportunity Corps to give at least 15,000 young adults each year “the opportunity to support conservation of public lands and wildlife, community resilience programs, and implementation of green infrastructure and renewable energy projects.”

Castro’s proposal is the first two parts of what his team says will be a five-part plan. Greenpeace previously gave Castro’s environmental record and policies a "C" rating, leaving him 13 out of 20 ranked candidates.