Sanders touts $US16 trillion climate plan
DEMOCRATIC presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has released a $US16.3 trillion climate plan before touring a Northern California town ravaged by wildfire.
"Climate change is a major, major crisis for our country, and the entire world, and one of the manifestations of that crisis is what happened here," the Vermont senator said as he walked through a burned-out mobile home park in Paradise alongside people who lost their homes in last November's deadly blaze.
Sanders' climate plan calls for the United States to move to renewable energy across the economy by 2050 and declare climate change a national emergency.
He describes the plan as a "ten-year, nationwide mobilisation centred on equity and humanity" that would create 20 million new jobs.
Among Sanders' ideas is sourcing 100 per cent of the country's electricity from renewable and zero-emissions power. He is calling for committing $2.18 trillion in grants for low- and middle-income families to weatherise and retrofit their homes and businesses, with the goal of reducing residential energy consumption.
He would charge the Energy Department with making sure that both new and existing commercial structures, as well as high-income home owners, meet his administration's energy retrofitting goals.
Sanders wants to overhaul the nation's transportation system by investing in electric vehicles, high-speed rail and expanded public transit. He calls for spending $526 billion to modernise the electrical grid across the United States.
In his plan, Sanders notes that communities of colour are disproportionately affected by the climate emergency. He says the Green New Deal is an "opportunity to uproot historical injustices and inequities to advance social, racial and economic justice."
Republicans have argued that the plan is too radical and would drive the economy off a cliff and lead to a huge tax increase.
Sanders' campaign proposes covering the costs over 15 years by a patchwork of measures that includes eliminating existing fossil fuel subsidies and taxes on that industry; income tax revenue on the 20 million jobs created by his plan; and an estimated $1.3 trillion saved through a reduced need for safety net programs because of the creation of those jobs.
In California, scientists and policymakers have named climate change as a major contributor to the state's worsening wildfires, which have killed more than 100 people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes in recent years.
Investigators determined faulty utility equipment owned by Pacific Gas & Electric sparked the fire that ravaged Paradise.