Bernie Sanders: 2020 Climate Change Revolution?

In just 24 hours Senator Bernie Sanders raised $6 million from 225,000 donors, averaging $27 per person. 

On Tuesday, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont announced his joining of the 2020 presidency race. Unlike his Democratic counterparts, he only is taking donations from individuals — no big corporations or government employees. Not only is his following clearly strong, but his views are too. In addition to promising Americans free health care and free college tuition, he is most adamant about the need to address climate change, stating: 

“The scientists have told us -- despite Trump's absurd thought that this is a hoax -- that the future of the planet is at stake.”

Senator Saunders interview with CNNs John Berman

This past December, during his town hall meeting at the Hart Senate Building he stressed the importance of confronting climate change directly, saying that it is the great crisis facing our planet and facing humanity.” In the 2016 presidential elections, Senator Sanders opened up the most ambitious climate platform, the “American Clean Energy Investment Act”, than any other candidate, promising the American people that he would slash carbon dioxide pollution by 40% by 2030, end fossil fuel subsidies, and ban fracking. 

These are aggressive but necessary steps for our future planet and safety of the American people. Acknowledging this importance, Senator Sanders has made a critical point to make climate change a key issue for his second White House run. He wishes to combat climate change on two fronts: energy and carbon emissions. His goal is to convert 100% towards renewable energy as well as largely invest in clean energy technology and green infrastructure in much the same approach as his free medical care proposal, including bolstering the “Green New Deal.” For carbon emissions, unlike the resolution supported by Senator Ocasio-Cortez who wishes to significantly reduce the emissions, Senator Sanders wishes to zero out carbon emissions altogether. He believes that only this aggressive, immediate action can offset future impacts.

Although this seems ambitious and almost rash, scientists have found truth in his claims for immediate action. This fall that the world must make “unprecedented” steps towards reducing carbon levels so as to prevent the global warming increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). At that heat, we would be beyond the threshold of return. This, at the very least, is a “deafening, piercing smoke alarm going off in the kitchen” as many of the scientists have put it. So, maybe Senator Sanders is not entirely extreme.  

In fact, he sees himself as a voice for the people, and with that, he expects people to demand fundamental changes with him. However, his stance is not just limited to liberals, and climate change enthusiasts. He claims to reach out towards all Americans and conservatives who do not believe in climate change, that this is a serious issue and international crisis.

“We need millions of people all over this country to stand up and demand fundamental changes in our energy policy in order to protect our kids and our grandchildren and the planet. The good news is the American people are beginning to stand up and fight back.” 

Senator Sanders phone interview with the Huffington Post

This fight could not be more evident than the substantial support of individuals reflected in his donations from this past week.