By Michael Bastasch
Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s climate change plan would divert future spending on military procurement to finance her own version of the Green New Deal.
Warren, who’s running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, proposed Tuesday to diverting a projected $1.5 trillion meant to buy new equipment and hardware for the U.S. military over the next decade.
“That means a $1.5 trillion federal procurement commitment over the next ten years to purchase American-made clean, renewable, and emission-free energy products for federal, state, and local use, and for export,” Warren wrote in a Medium post Tuesday.
“The United States is currently projected to spend roughly $1.5 trillion in the next ten years on defense procurement — a bloated number that’s far beyond what we need to keep ourselves safe.” Warren wrote.
“We should spend at least that much on purchasing American-made clean energy technology to address the climate crisis that threatens us all,” Warren wrote.
Defense Department procurement refers to non-construction spending on equipment and assets needed for the military to carry out its missions at home and overseas. That includes new aircraft, vehicles, boats, weapons, ammunition and upgrading existing equipment.
Congress gave the Defense Department $135.4 billion for acquisitions in fiscal year 2019, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Warren wants to redirect those funds to implement her own version of the Green New Deal, which has become a litmus test for Democrats running for president seeking support from environmental activists.
Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, an architect of the Green New Deal, praised Warren’s climate change plan, though he called for more government spending.
Warren is talking about this the exact right way. Sounds like someone actually read the Green New Deal resolution! https://t.co/LlREcwVOoy
— Saikat Chakrabarti (@saikatc) June 4, 2019
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the current Democratic presidential front-runner, also unveiled his climate change agenda Tuesday. Biden proposed $6.7 trillion to fight global warming, and signaled his willingness to spark a trade dispute with China over it.
Warren released a plan in April to ban new oil and natural gas drilling leases from public lands. Now, the former Harvard professor is expanding on her first climate policy pitch.
“The federal government’s World War II-era commitment to purchasing military items led to an enormous surge in American manufacturing capacity and set the stage for decades of sustained economic growth,” Warren wrote.
To that effect, Warren proposed a “Green Industrial Mobilization ” plan whereby the federal government would spend $1.5 trillion on bulk purchases of electric vehicles, energy-efficient light bulbs, storage batteries green power and discounted green power for states and local communities.
Warren also proposed requiring “all new federal government contracts for manufactured goods to have received relevant energy-efficiency, environmental-preference, and/or safety designations.”
“And we should require new grants issued by the Department of Transportation and other agencies for infrastructure to include sustainability requirements both for finished goods and for construction materials ,” Warren wrote.
Warren also pitched a $400 billion “Green Apollo Program” for green energy research and a $100 billion “Green Marshall Plan” to finance American-made green technology purchases in other countries.
In total, Warren proposed spending $2 trillion over the next decade to fight global warming — she also calls for a $15 an hour minimum wage, guaranteed paid leave and collective bargaining.
“The climate crisis demands immediate and bold action,” Warren wrote. “Like we have before, we should bank on American ingenuity and American workers to lead the global effort to face down this threat — and create more than a million good jobs here at home.”
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