Democratic hopeful Beto O'Rourke detailed his four-point plan, which calls for $5 trillion to fight climate change. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
April 29 (UPI) -- While at California's Yosemite National Park on Monday, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke unveiled a four-point plan to fight climate change that includes $5 trillion for infrastructure, technology and communities related to the issue.
The announcement was O'Rourke's first major policy proposal since he joined the 2020 Democratic field.
"The greatest threat we face -- which will test our country, our democracy, every single one of us -- is climate change," O'Rourke said. "We have one chance to unleash the ingenuity and political will of hundreds of millions of Americans to meet this moment before it's too late."
The first point of his plan says O'Rourke will use executive action to start cutting pollution on "day one." That includes rejoining the Obama-era Paris climate accords, which sets aggressive carbon emissions targets worldwide, reducing methane leakage in the oil and gas industries, strengthening clean air and hazardous waste limits and leveraging $500 billion in annual government procurement to decarbonize across all sectors for the first time. President Donald Trump moved to withdraw from the Paris agreement after he took office.
The second point mobilizes $5 trillion for investment in infrastructure. innovation, people and communities. O'Rourke said he plans to incentivize companies to cut pollution through tax credits, grants and other investments in green initiatives and technology. The plan offers $250 billion for private climate science research and investment and $1.2 trillion in grants for housing, transportation, public health and job training.
In the third portion of his plan, O'Rourke said he will guarantee net-zero emissions by 2050. That includes setting guidelines to measure the progress in reducing emissions, create policies to support conservation efforts and make public companies disclose their climate risk.
The fourth point details defending communities preparing for and fighting against extreme weather. That includes increasing spending on pre-disaster mitigation grants and changing the law to "make sure we build back stronger after every disaster." O'Rourke also wants to expand the federal crop insurance program.
"The actions we're announcing today to will help us get there -- by wasting no time cutting pollution, making historic investments in infrastructure, innovation, and our communities, setting bold emission targets and defending those most at risk from the dangers and destruction of climate change," O'Rourke said.
O'Rourke made his announcement during a campaign swing to California, where he visited Yosemite, after which he toured the state's agricultural central valley that's been hurt by air pollution.