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Bernie Sanders assures fossil fuel workers his Green New Deal will protect their jobs

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  • Bernie Sanders
    Bernie Sanders
    American politician

On Thursday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders joined All In With Chris Hayes, where he expressed the urgency for bold climate change action and explained why all Americans, including the working class, benefit from his comprehensive $16.3 trillion climate change plan.

Sanders estimates that we have fewer than 12 years to transform America's energy system before the United States and the planet endure irreparable damage. Sanders also stressed the importance of bringing working class people into his climate change movement. The senator doesn't want to see workers punished for what the fossil fuel industry is doing.

The self-proclaimed "strongest pro-union, pro-worker member of the congress" had a message for fossil fuel workers. Sanders said, "Those people are not my enemy. What is my enemy is climate change.” The senator also told fossil fuel workers, "We are going to protect your jobs."

Hayes, who was blown away by the sheer scope and ambition of the plan, asked Sanders how the U.S. could afford to pay the proposed $16.3 trillion price tag. "We cannot not afford it. We are playing for the future of the planet. We have got to do it," responded Sanders.

In addition to producing sustainable energy that makes money, Sanders listed other ways he'll cover costs. That includes cutting military spending, doing away with tax breaks and fossil fuel subsidies, and a progressive tax system for large corporations. Sanders claims the plan will also create 20 million "good-paying" union jobs. And the people working those jobs will be paying taxes that help offset costs.

Sanders condemned Donald Trump for denying the reality of climate change and calling it a "hoax." "If we believe what the scientists are telling us, we have got to be bold. We have got to be comprehensive. We have got to be aggressive. That is what that plan is about," said Sanders.

And while Sanders's sweeping climate plan is specific to the United States, the senator understands climate change is a global issue. He hopes all countries can band together to fight this climate crisis. "Maybe the countries of the world wake up and understand that instead of spending a trillion-and-a-half dollars every year on weapons of destruction designed to kill each other, maybe we pool our resources together, and we combat our common enemy which is climate change," added Sanders.

All In With Chris Hayes airs weeknights at 8 p.m. on MSNBC.

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