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Elizabeth Warren releases climate change plan to move US to 100 percent clean energy in 10 years

Elizabeth Warren wore a hat with the message “Make Earth Cool Again” at a campaign event in New Hampshire. Scott Eisen/Getty Images/Getty Images

Senator Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday released a plan to address climate change by transitioning the nation to 100 percent clean energy in a decade, pledging to adopt a key goal of former Democratic presidential campaign rival Jay Inslee and calling on the rest of the primary field to do the same.

Warren released her plan on the website Medium ahead of CNN’s town hall-style climate change forum Wednesday. Warren praised the presidential campaign of Inslee, the Washington governor who dropped out of the race last month, and she pledged to adopt and build on his 10-year plan to move the United States fully to clean energy by “decarbonizing” American electricity, vehicles, and buildings.


“As a presidential candidate, my friend Governor Jay Inslee challenged all Americans to confront the urgency of the climate crisis bearing down upon us,” Warren said. “While his presidential campaign may be over, his ideas should remain at the center of the agenda.”

Climate change is a major issue in the Democratic race as calls grew this summer for a climate-change-focused presidential debate while record-breaking global heat eroded polar sea ice.

Warren is proposing to pay for the plan — which would cost $1 trillion over 10 years — with revenue generated by reversing President Trump’s tax cuts, enacted by Congress in 2017, for large corporations and wealthy individuals.

The adoption of a key plank of Inslee’s climate plan marks a departure from Warren’s campaign strategy of rolling out detailed policy proposals on a host of issues ahead of her competitors.

The climate plan is being released months into her presidential campaign and after proposals from several of Warren’s rivals, including former vice president Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders. Former Obama administration housing official Julián Castro also released a plan this week that includes some of Inslee’s proposals.


But Warren noted that she has incorporated $2 trillion worth of other initiatives to combat climate change as part of some of her previous campaign proposals. They included a green manufacturing plan incorporated into her “economic patriotism” agenda that she pitched as a signal of her commitment to the Green New Deal, a proposal from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey that ties solutions to the climate crisis to large-scale economic development initiatives.

If elected president, Warren’s administration would eliminate coal-fired power plants within a decade and require utilities to move to 100 percent carbon-neutral electricity generation by 2030. Warren wrote she’d ensure protections for coal miners “by funding health care and pensions.” By 2035, Warren would aim to achieve an electric grid that is “all-clean, renewable, and zero-emission.”

She also would replace the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission with a new Federal Renewable Energy Commission, which would be tasked with reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Warren would require federal agencies to purchase their domestic power from clean energy sources and ramp up federal subsidies for clean energy projects.

To address greenhouse gas emissions produced by vehicles, Warren would dramatically tighten emissions standards with a goal of making all new cars and small trucks electric or otherwise non-emissions producing by 2030.

Warren would leverage federal funding to provide incentives to state and local governments to adopt building codes that lower carbon emissions, and design a new “zero-carbon building standard.” Warren’s plan also addresses existing building stock by offering financial incentives to retrofit 4 percent of homes and other buildings each year.


“Green housing can’t be a perk available only for the wealthy — it must be made affordable for everyone,” Warren wrote.

Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.