Bernie has worked to implement and enforce legislation to keep our planet’s air clean for years. With nearly 400 ppm of carbon dioxide already in our atmosphere, senator Sanders understands the necessity of holding both the American government and corporations accountable to clean air standards. As a firm believer that climate change is the biggest threat facing America today, Sanders has said, “The United States must lead the world in reversing climate change. We can do that.”
“It is absolutely unconscionable that some in Congress want to weaken our clean air protections. That is why I introduced a resolution with 33 co-sponsors making it clear that we will stand up for the Clean Air Act.”
In 2011, Senator Sanders, along with a number cosigners, introduced a resolution for continued implementation of the Clean Air Act. EPA data shows that the Clean Air Act has reduced 6 major air pollutants by 63% since 1980. The landmark law saves 160,000 Americans from premature death every year and helps avoid tens of thousands of cases of lung disease, heart attacks, and emergency room visits. The act also has reduced major air pollution by 41 percent over the last 20 years even as the economy grew by 64 percent. He fought against colleagues that wanted to cripple this legislation. Republicans in Congress wanted to prevent regulation of both carbon pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, some of the biggest contributors to global warming and to health problems in the United States.
“It is critically important that the Department use the opportunity of updating these standards to safeguard the Arctic and the global climate from harmful black carbon pollution.”
Senator Sanders collaborated on a letter to the Department of the Interior in April of 2015 requesting the department solicit information on black carbon pollution. Black carbon pollution, a byproduct of fossil fuel combustion, is a harmful particulate matter that settles onto reflective surfaces, such as ice sheets, in the Arctic. When this occurs, the “albedo,” or reflectivity, of these surfaces is significantly reduced, causing more heat to be absorbed and contributing significantly to global warming. Sanders requested that the department not only release information on the effects of black carbon emissions on our environment, but also information on the availability of technologies to control this preventable pollution.
”The United States Congress is way behind where the American people are on this issue, and we’re going to win this fight when millions of people stand up and say ‘you have got to do something for my kids, and grandchildren, and for my business—you cannot ignore this planetary crisis.”
“Subsidies for the oil, gas and coal industries are projected to cost taxpayers more than $135 billion in the coming decade. At a time when scientists tell us we need to reduce carbon pollution to prevent catastrophic climate change, it is absurd to provide massive subsidies that pad fossil-fuel companies’ already enormous profits.”
Senator Sanders has no interest in partially solving today’s climate crisis. Rather, he has introduced a Gold Standard Climate Bill along with Barbara Boxer that provides comprehensive climate change legislation to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. This uncompromising set of rules and regulations would include putting a price on methane and carbon dioxide emissions for upstream polluters such as oil refineries and coal mines, and investing that potential $1.2 trillion in revenue into clean, sustainable energy. The bill would create new jobs in the clean energy industry, reduce the federal deficit, and protect families from future climate disaster through weatherizing homes. In addition, it would end subsidies to the oil and gas industry. Sanders plans to hold corporations accountable for their contributions to climate change and environmental degradation, as well as improve the lives of the everyday American that suffers the consequences of these issues.
On Tuesday, November 17, 2015, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement today after voting to stop a bill that would repeal the Clean Power Plan.
“It is an embarrassment that with few exceptions Republicans refuse to recognize the reality of climate change, and even fewer are prepared to do anything about it. Today’s vote to block the Clean Power Plan is a stark reminder that instead of worrying about the future of our planet, Republicans are more concerned with their campaign contributions.”
“We need comprehensive legislation to aggressively transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to clean energy. We can create a new sustainable energy economy to protect vulnerable communities while transitioning workers into renewable energy jobs. The United States must lead the world in confronting this planetary crisis.”