But even some who agree with Sanders' goals believe that many will find the idea of such a seismic change frightening and unrealistic. Instead of spurring Americans to action, these critics worry that proposals like Sanders will paralyze them, making the climate look too big to stand without an unacceptable interruption of daily life.
Paul Starr, a sociologist at Princeton University and co-founder of The American Prospect, a leading liberal magazine, is one of those who believe that Sanders' proposal could bring back the cause of climate action.
"This is not what the country needs or is likely to support," he says. "On the issue of climate, the Democrats 'first job is to convince people that they have a workable and realistic plan. Sanders' proposal will not do it."
Anyway, analysts from both ends of the ideological spectrum agree that Sanders' ambitions, if fully considered, would shift responsibility and power from the private to the public sector at a level that would shift the United States to something much closer to European social democracy.
"Sanders' climate plan is similar to his Medicare proposal for everyone," said Starr. "He is more of a socialist in the old-fashioned sense of central planning than many have realized."
Jeff Weaver, senior advisor to Sanders 'campaign recognizes that Americans' savings are less than pocket money: health care costs, reduced electricity prices, and lower driving costs when fleet targets electric vehicles will offset any increased taxes, p
"Generally people will pay less," Weaver says, and that, he insists, is even before the damage that comes from the inability to account is taken into account. "All the economic and personal harm that will come from climate change will outweigh the costs of doing something about it," he says.
Focusing on the transformation of the grid and transport
But two locked-in mandates provide the ecological core of the plan. Sanders will require all electricity to be generated from renewable sources of fuel, such as solar and wind, by 2030. By the same year, it will prohibit the sale of new vehicles powered by an internal combustion engine and will only allow production and purchase. of zero-emission cars and trucks, mainly electric vehicles. This mandate will apply not only to passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, but also to long-distance buses and heavy goods vehicles. Sanders' aides say it has not set a deadline that requires all internal combustion vehicles to be removed from the road, but the plan does cost about $ 3 trillion to encourage consumers to trade their existing vehicles for new electric vehicles .
These are, to put it mildly, extremely ambitious goals.
Twenty-nine states have set binding targets for increasing the share of renewable energy in their electrical mix. As the cost of renewable energy has decreased, the procession of democracies in recent years has set itself the goal of generating all its power from renewable sources. But no one is trying to do it as fast as Sanders would mandate. California, Hawaii, Washington and New Mexico have set a deadline of 2045 to fully rely on renewable energy. New York aims for 2040, Maine and Nevada for 2050. Maryland seeks 50% by 2030 and studies 2040 for 100%. Colorado's newly elected Democratic Governor Jared Polis also calls for a fully renewable power system by 2040.
2030 too soon? Considering the distance between the current landscape and the mandates that Sanders will establish, conservationists are divided as to whether these are realistic goals.
Carl Pope, a former longtime CEO of the Sierra Club, which now consults on climate foundations, believes that Sanders' technological goals are largely achievable in both production and production fronts. energy. "I don't think any part of it is particularly heavy," he says.
Pope says that states have not set a target for 2030 to rely entirely on renewable electricity to a large extent because they are uncertain that they can build transmission capacity for the transmission of energy to populated centers in typically remote areas where wind and solar power are produced. But Sanders' plan, he notes, is to invest more than $ 500 billion to massively expand and modernize the country's electricity grid. Achieving 100% renewable energy by 2030 can be costly, Pope says, but it could be approached without major cost increases or significant system reliability failures.
"My goal would be to move as fast as we can without increasing the cost of electricity to consumers," he says. "They are the right targets, but for 2035 they say. We're not talking about a big difference. "
Dan Becker, another longtime environmentalist who focuses on clean air issues and automotive fuel economy, also thinks it's technologically plausible. requiring the sale of electric vehicles only by 2030. "Technology is auto mechanics, not rocket science," he says.
But he worries it's unrealistic to believe that the government can tell Americans until then that they can't buy another type of vehicle. "I doubt anyone hates SUVs as much as I do, and even I don't advocate a sales ban," says Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign. "So in theory, yes, it can work. But it can't happen … in this country."
Other prominent environmentalists I have spoken to are even more skeptical of Sanders' plan and its aggressive timing. Without exception, these critics did not want to be identified by name because they did not want to participate in a public spat with Sanders' campaign, and in particular his legions of combat advocates on social media.
But these people see a number of problems with the Sanders plan. One is that it can jeopardize the reliability of energy by banning not only the energy generated from fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas, but also nuclear energy. These fuels provide the so-called base power available at all times; availability or renewables such as solar and wind vary depending on the time of day or year.
Proponents of the Sanders Plan believe that renewables can provide baseline power by 2030, both through advances in storage and through improvements to the national transmission network – which would allow abundant solar from, say, Arizona to be delivered to Chicago or Detroit in the winter. But it's unclear that technology can advance so quickly, especially at affordable costs.
Storage remains a problem for electrified vehicles as well. More consumers, especially in urban centers, have developed comfortably with the distance when an electrified passenger vehicle can travel in a single charge, but the battery life is not yet large enough to meet the huge needs of heavy trucks and other large vehicles without charging more often even consumers will accept, even some environmentalists recognize. The Pope is optimistic that the problem will be resolved well before 2030, but not everyone agrees.
The cost of shifting private sector control
However, the most fundamental question that Sanders' plan raises may not be technological. Instead, the key question is political: Will Americans accept as much of a role for the federal government as he envisions?
Sanders' plan calls on the federal government to build and own new solar and wind generation facilities to provide the vast majority of new renewable energy that its mandate will require. It envisages the government largely circumventing existing investment firms, which now supply about two-thirds of America's electricity, to sell this new energy, as the plan says, "for the distribution of utility services to public energy districts, municipal and together. – Democratic, publicly owned utilities and other existing utilities that demonstrate public interest engagement. "Because private utilities control most of the street wiring that now connects consumers to the electricity grid, Sanders' plan may require municipalities to buy these facilities.
Sanders also provides for a federal government building and owns many of the
In both respects, Sanders' energy plan is paralleled by his health care proposal, which he said would cost $ 86 billion. o would largely eliminate private health insurers and replace them with a government program.This plan would marginalize or eliminate private electrical services.In any case, the federal government would essentially assume its responsibilities.
This would result in a huge cost for increased government spending, at least during a transitional period.
The climate plan will require about $ 16 trillion in the first decade, although Sanders advisers say the costs will be heavily burdened to build the infrastructure it needs – federal wind and solar farms, upgraded power grids and power stations. loading on highways. This means that the cost of the plan can be significantly reduced over time and increasingly offset by revenue from the sale of federally generated electricity in the area or the power supply to the drivers of recharging stations. But in its first years, the plan will spend at least $ 1.6 trillion a year, probably more.
Sanders' plan to cancel all public student debt and then provide government subsidies to allow free public college visits and universities would also have large prepaid costs: about $ 1.5 trillion in debt repayment before and after that about $ 70 billion in annual grants to states.
Taken together, these three ideas alone would increase annual federal spending at least in the early years of Sanders' presidency by over $ 3 trillion a year and perhaps more than $ 3.5 trillion. Even if Sanders' plan accelerates the growth of the federation, as he believes, it is precisely these proposals that would swell federal spending as a share of the economy, probably exceeding 30%. This would be the highest level since the height of World War II, when expenditures reached about 43% of total economic output from 1943-1944. Since the mid-1970s, federal spending has typically been about 20% of GDP, reaching its highest point of 24.4% in 2009.
Former Congressional Congressional Bureau Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, founder and president of the US Right Action Forum, says the cumulative cost of these initiatives would fundamentally change Washington's role in Americans' lives. "It is difficult to imagine that this will not profoundly change the relationship between government and the private sector," he said in an email. "I don't think people are wrapping their heads around the nature of what it has to offer."
Sanders' camp says that these direct federal costs will be offset by huge benefits for individual consumers and the economy as a whole: eliminating health insurance premiums and lower national healthcare costs; lower vehicle operating and electricity generation costs; preventing devastating and costly damage from climate change; and more jobs and faster economic growth.
Weaver analyzes Sanders' plan to build massive federal capacity to generate electricity from renewable sources and electrify a fleet of vehicles until the decision to build a national highway network starting in the 1950s: "It was huge investment front, but the economic benefits are disproportionate. "
But to reach the benefits Sanders says his plans will provide, Americans will need to embrace a level of power, responsibility, and taxation for the federal government, which the nation only accepted at the height of World War II. изрично твърди, че климатичната заплаха изисква мобилизиране на федералната власт, сравнима с усилията на нацията през онези години. С амбициозния обхват на своята панорамна програма, той сега тества дали достатъчно избиратели са съгласни.