Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, shown here speaking after the July Democratic debates in Detroit, unveiled his $16.3 trillion climate change plan Thursday. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., rolled out an ambitious and encompassing $16.3 trillion climate change proposal Thursday that calls for the United States to exclusively rely on renewable energy for electricity and transportation by 2030 and fully decarbonize the economy by 2050.
Sanders, who is making his second run for the Democratic Party's nominee as president, said he would declare climate change a national emergency and rejoin the Paris climate accord that President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of in 2017.
"The climate crisis is not only the single greatest challenge facing our country; it is also our single greatest opportunity to build a more just and equitable future, but we must act immediately," a statement on Sanders' website said.
"The scientific community is telling us in no uncertain terms that we have less than 11 years left to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy, if we are going to leave this planet healthy and habitable for ourselves, our children, grandchildren, and future generations," the statement continued.
Sanders' campaign said the plan would create 20 million "good-paying, union jobs," with an emphasis on minority communities. The plan calls for a "fair transition" of fossil fuel workers, making an investment in "sustainable agriculture," set aside $40 billion for a fund to help "frontline" communities affected by the climate change deal.
The plan calls for the U.S. to meet or exceed its fair share of emission reductions and increase investments in green research and development, and conservation. The campaign said its Green New Deal plan will pay for itself over 15 years, despite the price tag.
Sanders' plan comes the day after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who made climate change one of his top issues, dropped out of the Democratic presidential primary race after his campaign failed to gain any significant traction.
In an April CNN poll, 96 percent of Democrats said that it was very to somewhat important to take aggressive action on climate change.