Government

Kamala Harris proposes $10 trillion plan to fight 'existential threat' of climate change

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris, a U.S. senator from California, speaks during a town hall April 10, at the University of Iowa’s Iowa Memorial Union in Iowa City. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris, a U.S. senator from California, speaks during a town hall April 10, at the University of Iowa’s Iowa Memorial Union in Iowa City. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Drawing on her experiences as a California prosecutor holding polluters accountable as well as her visits with Iowans, Democratic presidential hopeful Kamala Harris has laid out a $10 trillion plan using public and private financing to combat climate change by building a clean economy by 2045.

The plan from the U.S. senator focuses on justice for those affected by climate change, including rural communities that will “face the most direct and dire consequences of climate change,” and accountability for corporations who pollute and damage the environment.

“Climate change is an existential threat,” she said, “and the United States must lead the world with bold action to safeguard our future and protect our planet.”

What Harris’ plan entails

Her plan includes pursuing justice for communities most affected by climate change, holding polluters accountable by ending federal support for the fossil fuel industry through executive action and legislation, and putting a fee on pollution and increasing penalties.

Her goals are to invest in clean energy and electrify transportation to get to a clean economy by 2045, 100 percent carbon-neutral electricity by 2030 and 100 percent zero-emission vehicles by 2035.

She wants to protect natural resources by immediately halting new fossil-fuel leases on public lands and waters, phasing out existing leases and rapidly expanding renewable energy like wind and solar on public lands.

Finally, as president, Harris would rejoin the Paris agreement, end support for international oil and gas projects and commit the U.S. to lead the world to carbon neutrality by 2050.

Addressing problems affecting Iowa

Harris, who toured flood-damaged communities of Council Bluffs and Davenport, takes note of infrastructure in her plan. It mandates that infrastructure, such as levees and dams, take into account climate hazards to help families get back on their feet faster while reducing overall costs.

Her plan includes $250 billion for drinking water infrastructure to address situations such as nitrate problems in Storm Lake and a $10 a month increase in utility bills in Tipton, where the community needs nearly $6 million in wastewater treatment upgrades.

Farmers on the front lines

Farmers, who are on the front lines of climate change, will continue to play a critical role in ensuring a sustainable food, Harris said.

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They will be key in the fight against climate change “by expanding carbon farming efforts, removing carbon from the atmosphere and restoring it back in the soil.”

See her plan here.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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