Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders says if he were president, he’d push negotiators meeting at a climate summit in Paris to embrace “aggressive” moves to reduce carbon emissions.
“What Pope Francis just said the other day is absolutely right,” Sanders said during an interview this week, “that we are on a suicidal course unless we act as a planet, boldly and aggressively, the kind of world that we’re going to leave to our kids and our grandchildren will be a world that is in much worse shape than the world that we enjoy.”
Dozens of world leaders kicked off the climate summit on Monday and negotiators have been working behind the scenes all week to come up with an agreement by Saturday that would call on all nations to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. Sanders has made climate change a cornerstone issue in his campaign, warning there will be “catastrophic consequences” for inaction.
“We have a real crisis,” Sanders said. “What the scientists tell us is not only that climate change real, that is caused by human activity and that is already causing major problems around the world, what they tell us is that if we don’t get our act together quickly, we’re going to be in very serious shape by the end of this century, where the temperature of the globe could be five to 10 degrees fahrenheit warmer.”
Sanders favors “aggressive” energy efficiency measures for buildings and he said transportation systems must be more efficient. He’s calling for an expansion of rail as mass transit.
“We have to be prepared to take on the fossil fuel industry,” Sanders said, “the oil companies, the coal companies and all of their money and say: ‘Sorry, your short term profits are less important to this world than making sure that the planet we leave our kids and our grandchildren is habitable.”
Sanders spoke briefly by phone with Radio Iowa earlier this week. Sanders’ competitor Hillary Clinton is due in Sioux City this morning to tout her $275 billion plan to fix the nation’s roads, bridges and airports. Sanders called Clinton’s plan “a good proposal,” but he said it doesn’t go as far as his own $1 trillion plan “which would create up to 13 million good-paying jobs and make our country more productive and safer.”
AUDIO of Sander’s interview with Radio Iowa, 6:00