Colorado Senator and now Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bennet unveiled his proposal to address climate change Monday and it is a sign of the times.
What got headlines is Bennet’s vow to spend $1 trillion on “research and projects,” according to the AP, to deal with what many researchers and activists say is imminent disaster tied to global warming.
There was a time when people would have said, “Hang on, one trillion dollars? Where is that going to come from?”
That time was just two years ago and we do not know if it is ever coming back. Instead, many of the two dozen Democratic candidates seem to be competing with each other for the biggest-ticket proposals.
The door-buster race began Feb. 7, when New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unveiled her Green New Deal resolution. When critics pointed out that it would require trillions in spending, proponents said cost was virtually irrelevant – and so far, that thinking has swept the field on the left.
Bennet has been more of a moderate until now, and his plan still is in some parts, such as requiring utilities to offer consumers green energy options and even in setting a goal for net-zero U.S. emissions by 2050. (Ocasio-Cortez has said the world will end in 12 years without a Green New Deal, although it is not clear whether she means it. Bennet said his timeline is realistic.)
Presidential primaries ought to be a time to float big ideas, and Bennet does not disappoint, saying he also wants to set aside fully a third of U.S. lands and ocean territory for conservation. Bennet said his plan is designed so that it cannot be disrupted by future Republicans. It also promises aid to farmers who go green or greener.
He will have a chance to elaborate in an hour-long live CNN town hall, next Thursday, May 30, at 8 p.m.