On Monday, Democratic Presidential Candidate Beto O’Rourke unveiled a $5 trillion plan to battle climate change. In his campaign, Beto believes he can eliminate “the greatest threat we face”, setting a goal to achieve net-zero emissions by the year 2050.
This is the first major policy proposal of his presidential campaign. In his plan, Beto O’Rourke states that he is prioritizing climate change. Noting that it is one of the Democratic voters’ primary concerns, Beto’ aims to have his proposal set to begin on his first day of presidency.
Here is are the major points of his plan to lead the world to address the climate, according to O’Rourke’s campaign page pertaining to his stances on climate change.
- Cutting pollution on day one to immediately improve the quality of air, water, and public health.
- Re-entering the Paris Agreement to expand his plan on a global scale.
- Installing the first net-zero emission budget in history by 2030. This budget will include stopping fossil fuel leasings, focusing on the use of renewable resources.
- Mobilizing the $5 trillion to fund infrastructures, innovations, and communities to empower citizens with the ability to create change. Areas being invested into include research and development, public health, transportation, housing, businesses, and startups.
- Working towards a guarantee of achieving net zero emissions by 2050, an ambitious goal that lines up with the 2050 emissions goal supported by the Green New Deal, which President Trump feels strongly about.
- Defending communities that are preparing and fighting against extreme weather conditions (including fire, floods, droughts, and hurricanes).
Beto’s plan sounds like a saving grace from the horrors of climate change. However, individuals are questioning the validity of the proposition.
One of which is Varshini Prakash, the executive director of the Sunrise Movement. She is a part of a youth-led activist group that advocates for the Green New Deal. In a statement, Prakash states that “his plan is out of line with the timeline [the Green New Deal] lays out and the scale of action that scientists say is necessary to take here in the United States to give our generation a livable future”.
With the Green New Deal well-known in the public eye, O’Rourke is not the only individual publicly supporting the resolution. For instance, Democratic candidates of 2020, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth, Amy Klobuchar, and Kirsten Gillibrand all co-sponsored the bill.
Despite doubts of the plan’s plausibility, a spokesperson for O’Rourke’s campaign made a statement verifying the extensive research put behind the plan. “Beto consulted with impacted individuals and communities, academics, scientists, entrepreneurs, advocates and activists, and local, state, tribal, and federal government leaders.”, the spokesperson said, “Throughout this campaign, he has listened to Americans all across the country and made their ideas and concerns part of his platform as he’s held 113 town halls in 88 cities and answered 625 questions”.
Delving into the lives of citizens throughout the United States, the solutions Beto proposed are inspired through the stories of Americans in every state. Whether through floods in Iowa or wind and solar job growth in Texas, his platform claims to be dedicated to the quality of life of all US Citizens.
There is no doubt, the former Texan Democratic congressman’s plan is ambitious. However, O’Rourke understands that climate change is a “growing emergency” and is treating it as such. It is possible Beto may be the politician to further a political movement to stop the earth from sliding past a point of no return in less than a generation.
However, whether this plan will be the proposal to save the environment, that is up to voters to decide. Political proposals against climate change aren’t new and they aren’t going away.
But the most important thing about these plans is that they actually need to be executed to hold any value. Oh, and Generation Z should get involved too.
Avery is a writer for the Energy section and a Material Science and Engineering student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.