Cory Booker unveils $3 trillion climate crisis plan

Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) unveiled a $3 trillion plan to combat climate change that he would enact if he is elected president.

The Democratic presidential candidate released his plan on September 3. In it, Booker states that he will speed up the process toward ending the use of fossil fuels and promises to invest in clean energy.

“We’re facing a dual crisis of climate change and economic inequality — and without immediate action, the toll is unimaginable,” Booker tweeted. “But this is a fight I know we can win.”

If Booker is elected president, his climate plan would invest $3 trillion by 2030 to create a 100 percent carbon-neutral economy by 2045. This will spur “economic activity, creating millions of jobs where they are needed most, and empowering communities to have control and ownership over their energy systems and local environments,” the plan reads.

“The time to act is now for a 100% clean energy economy, millions of good-paying jobs, and a guaranteed right to clean air, water, and soil for all Americans,” the plan states.

Booker’s plan would accelerate the move away from fossil fuels by eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, phasing out fracking, and creating a carbon fee. The Democratic presidential candidate also intends to create a clean energy workforce with a $400 billion “community-based investment in every corner of the country in the basic research, applied research, and commercialization of clean energy technologies and solutions for hard-to-decarbonize sectors of the economy.”

The plan would also invest over $100 billion by the year 2030 into the United States Department of Agriculture to make farms more climate-resilient in an effort to enlist farmers as part of Booker’s climate change solution. Booker proposes to take immediate executive action to increase Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforcement actions against polluting companies, establish a requirement that all new passenger vehicles made after 2030 should be zero emission, revoke executive orders made by President Donald Trump to approve the Keystone Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline, and rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.

The senator’s proposal would also help low-income and minority communities who are already feeling the effects of climate change and legacy pollution. Booker blames “corporate polluters” who “privatize their profits and externalize their costs on to everyone else.” The Democratic candidate says that if he is elected president, he would send legislation to Congress to create the United States Environmental Justice Fund, a $50 billion fund, renewed each year, that would ensure every home, school, and daycare center has clean water, and would have the long-term goal of planting 100 million trees by 2030 in urban areas to reduce air pollution in low-income and Black and Brown communities.

“In order to create environmental justice and economic justice in these vulnerable communities, we must protect them from the worsening effects of climate change,” Booker’s plan states.

“This means ridding them of the scourge of legacy pollution, and replacing it with clean land, air and water — bringing economic and environmental justice to those who have for too long been denied both.”

Booker is not the only Democratic presidential candidate with a climate change plan. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro released a $10 trillion plan for climate change titled the “People and Planet First Plan.” It would “direct $10 trillion in federal, state, local, and private investments over the next decade to create ten million good paying jobs, transition away from fossil fuels, build a 100 percent clean-energy economy, and lead the world in the 21st century.”

Castro pledged that if he is elected president, he would have the US rejoin the Paris Climate Accords. He also plans to achieve net-zero emissions by 2045 and at least a 50 percent reduction by 2030. His plan also focuses on the racial impacts of climate change and how asthma and pollution affect low-income communities and people of color.

“The problem is that, like our neighborhoods, pollution is segregated. When I’m president, environmental justice will be a top priority. We will empower the EPA to make sure polluters pay and that victims receive just compensation,” Castro wrote. “We will reinstitute the Superfund tax, clean up brownsites, and ensure hybrid disasters like the Flint water crisis receive emergency funding. For generations, underserved communities have been suffering from the effects of pollution and a degraded environment, and our time to rectify it is now.”

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.