U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders stressed the need for an environmentally sustainable world during a presidential campaign stop Thursday night in Myrtle Beach.
Hundreds of supporters gathered at Chapin Park in Myrtle Beach where the Vermont senator pushed plans to launch his Green New Deal policy, which is modeled after the same-name congressional proposal, if elected president in 2020.
“In this fight to combat climate change, failure is not an option,” Sanders said. “Now is the time to save the one planet that we have.”
Sanders’ climate change plan is focused on curbing the country’s greenhouse gas emission, eliminating fossil fuel by 2050, completely transitioning to renewable energy for electricity and transportation by 2030, and creating 20 million jobs needed to combat the climate crisis.
Sanders, who touted his plan as the most comprehensive climate change platform of any candidate who has ever run for president, asserted his $16.3 trillion proposal would pay for itself over 15 years.
“The fossil fuel industry makes tens of billions of dollars every single year producing a product that is destroying our planet,” Sanders said. “We will end that greed and we will make it very clear to the fossil fuel industry that their short-term profits are not more important than the future of our planet.”
Sanders said his plan could come to fruition by eliminating fossil fuel subsidies and substantially increasing taxes on companies “destroying our planet.” As a nation, over $645 billion is being spent a year to subsidize the coal, oil and gas industry, he said, adding the cost of doing nothing will be far more expensive.
Sanders noted that ignoring the climate crisis would cost the world $69 trillion, stressing that any inaction will put the climate and Earth in serious jeopardy. Inaction would result in droughts, floods, rising sea levels, famine, disease, extreme weather disturbances and human suffering, he said.
“Donald Trump thinks that climate change is a hoax; I think that Donald Trump is a hoax,” Sanders said. “We have a moral obligation to make certain that the planet we leave our kids and our grandchildren is a planet that is healthy and is habitable.”
While the hundreds in attendance appeared to support Sanders’ vision, S.C. Republican National Committee spokesperson Joe Jackson said his action plan would be detrimental to South Carolina.
“Sanders is running on a platform which would devastate South Carolina; his new plan is the Green New Deal on steroids and would eliminate the use of all gas-powered engines, nationalize energy production, and cause energy prices to skyrocket for families and businesses,” Jackson said. “While President Trump continues to fight for energy independence, Sanders’ agenda would literally leave South Carolinian’s in the dark and without a job.”
During the hour-long event, Trump supporters made their stance known, sporting red hats, Trump-inspired shirts and carrying custom flags. Some gathered outside the park, while others were in attendance screaming out things like “communist” as the democratic politician spoke.
Sanders is currently part of a crowded field of Democrats grappling for the presidential nomination that also includes former Vice President Joe Biden, and fellow U.S. senators Kamala Harris, of California, Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, and Cory Booker, of New Jersey.
Along with climate change, Sanders also touched upon several issues, including equal pay, increasing minimum wage to $15, terminating student debt and tuition for public colleges and universities, and offering Medicare for all.
“Healthcare is a human right, not a privilege,” Sanders said. “In America, you should not have to go bankrupt because you are seriously ill.
Sanders said he will win South Carolina, the democratic nomination and defeat the “most dangerous president the modern history of this country.”
“None of this is going to be easy,” Sanders said. “If we in the 99 percent stand up and fight back and stop the greed and corruption, there is no end to what we can accomplish.”