1. A Complete Transition to Renewable Energy—and an End to our Reliance on Fossil Fuels by 2050
We can’t address our climate challenge without ending our reliance on fossil fuels — full stop. I would take aggressive executive action and fight for legislation to slash emissions and put our nation on track to be powered by 100% renewable energy within 35 years.
As President, I would fight for federal legislation for a cap on carbon emissions from all sources, with proceeds from permits returned to lower- and middle-class families, and invested in job transition assistance and the new Clean Energy Jobs Corps.
On Day One, I would reject projects like Keystone XL, deny new permits for drilling in Alaska, the arctic, and off our coasts, and increase royalties and emissions fees for fossil fuel companies currently drilling on federal lands, investing the proceeds in jobs and skills training.
I would also make sure we keep domestically produced oil and gas in the U.S., instead of selling it abroad – unless there is a clear strategic security rationale.
I would increase royalties and emissions fees for fossil fuel companies currently drilling on federal lands, and invest the proceeds in jobs and skills training.
I would root out subsidies for fossil fuels, while extending production and investment tax credits for renewable energy for the long term. Taxpayer subsidies for fossil fuel companies total $4 billion a year, even as the biggest oil companies reap $90 billion in annual profits.
And I would make sure federal agencies do all they can to protect public health and the environment by:
Requiring the federal fleet to be subject to low- or zero-emissions purchasing agreements. Our federal fleet of 250,000 vehicles consumes more than $450 million gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel every year.
Fuel costs saved should be reinvested in clean energy deployment and jobs.
Directing the Environmental Protection Agency to take aggressive action to limit greenhouse gases, expanding rules to other large sources of emissions beyond power plants.
Directing the Environmental Protection Agency to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for methane leaks from current oil and gas production, which waste $1.8 billion annually, while exacerbating greenhouse gas pollution.
2. An Aggressive Agenda to Double Energy Efficiency Within 15 Years To Waste Less Energy and Create More Jobs
If we waste less energy, we can create more jobs — while saving Americans real money on energy costs and protecting our environment. Maximizing energy efficiency in buildings alone could eliminate the need to increase our national electricity generation capacity.
That’s why I would set a national goal of doubling our energy efficiency within 15 years.
On Day One, I would direct the EPA and Departments of Defense and Transportation to set strong efficiency standards, including setting strict “MPG” standards for new buildings. And I would require energy costs to be up-front and transparent to tenants and purchasers.
And I would retrofit federal buildings to the highest efficiency standards and require new federal buildings to be net-zero. The federal government owns and manages nearly 900,000 buildings, more than any other entity. And building retrofits out-perform investments in new gas and oil exploration as a form of job creation or economic stimulus by 3 to 1.
3. Renewed Investment in the Physical—and Intellectual—Infrastructure to Power a Clean Energy Economy
New technologies have put a clean energy, energy independent future within reach. It is up to us to develop and deploy the technologies we’ll need to get there.
First, I would support a Clean Energy Financing Authority to facilitate clean energy infrastructure projects, efforts to increase efficiency, and resiliency upgrades in communities nationwide. I would also require all federally funded infrastructure projects to meet climate resiliency standards.
As part of my agenda, modernizing our electric grid would be a first-order priority. Our electric grid must evolve to support localized, renewable energy generation, reduce electricity waste, and increase security from sabotage or attack. Power outages are up 285% over the last 30 years, costing businesses as much as $150 billion each year, and renewable energy sources remain unconnected.
I would also increase our investment in basic clean energy research so the U.S. can reclaim the lead on energy innovation, including advancing development, deployment, transmission, storage for renewable energy, and managing demand more effectively.
4. A New Clean Energy Job Corps To Rebuild, Retrofit, and Restore our Communities and Environment
Clean, renewable energy is the biggest business and job creation opportunity we’ve seen in the last hundred years. Compared with the fossil fuel industry, the renewable energy industry creates more jobs for each unit of electricity generated. And clean energy jobs are long-term, good-paying opportunities.
That’s why I would create a new Clean Energy Jobs Corps to help realize our transition to a clean energy economy. The Clean Energy Corps would partner with communities to retrofit buildings to be more energy efficient, improve local resiliency, create new green spaces, and restore and expand our forests so they can absorb more greenhouse gases.
In addition, I would also work with industry to help meet current skills and employment needs that the current labor market isn’t sufficiently supplying, like new utility workers and cybersecurity experts.