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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 SandersFive House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet Biden names John Kerry as 'climate czar' in new administration In the final chapter of 2020, we must recommit to repairing our democracy 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-CortezBiden names John Kerry as 'climate czar' in new administration Maloney vows to overhaul a House Democratic campaign machine 'stuck in the past' Ocasio-Cortez defends Harry Styles wearing dress on Vogue cover: 'It looks wonderful' MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyUS national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden eyes new leadership at troubled public lands agency | House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally | Trump administration pushes for rollback of Arctic offshore drilling regulations House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally 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."