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Sanders defends job losses from ending use of fossil fuels

Sanders defends job losses from ending use of fossil fuels
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOVERNIGHT ENERGY:  EPA announces new clean air advisors after firing Trump appointees |  Senate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior | Watchdog: Bureau of Land Management saw messaging failures, understaffing during pandemic Overnight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 Democratic senators press PhRMA over COVID-19 lobbying efforts  MORE (I-Vt.) on Thursday defended his plan to shut down the fossil fuel industry, despite potential downsides for the industry’s employees. 

Sanders’s $16 trillion Green New Deal climate plan calls for eliminating fossil fuel use by 2050. The 2020 presidential candidate spoke more fully about a “just transition” for workers during a MSNBC climate forum at Georgetown University.  

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Moderator Chris Hayes asked Sanders to speak to an oil field worker whose job would be threatened.   

“Bernie Sanders comes in on Day 1 and says no more. What happens?” Hayes asked.

“I’m not going to say Chris, you know if you want to press the point, that there aren’t people who will be hurt. I got that. And it doesn’t make me happy,” Sanders said.

He said a just transition means not holding mainstream employees responsible for causing climate change.

He also said he expects growth in the clean energy sector will create new jobs to replace those lost.

“We are doing everything that we can to protect those workers," he said. "While we will lose some jobs in the transition of course, we’re going to create 20 million new jobs.” 

Sanders’s proposal expands on the Green New Deal resolution introduced in Congress by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezHillary Clinton backs Shontel Brown in Ohio congressional race Ocasio-Cortez, Gillibrand and Moulton call for more high-speed rail funding in infrastructure package Pelosi picks Democrats for special panel tackling inequality MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyHillicon Valley: Senate unanimously confirms Chris Inglis as first White House cyber czar | Scrutiny mounts on Microsoft's surveillance technology | Senators unveil bill to crack down on cyber criminals Biden signs Juneteenth bill: 'Great nations don't ignore their most painful moments' FCC votes to advance proposed ban on Chinese telecom equipment MORE (D-Mass.). Many environmentalists have said they consider it the most robust and ambitious response to climate change. 

The Green New Deal resolution calls for the creation of "millions of good, high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States."