Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Bernie Sanders: 'If the Environment Were a Bank, It Would Have Already Been Bailed Out'

Climate
Bernie Sanders: 'If the Environment Were a Bank, It Would Have Already Been Bailed Out'

A meme on Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' Facebook page has already drawn more than 125,000 likes since it was posted two days ago. It reads: "If the environment were a bank, it would have already been bailed out." The comment, which he has made in the past, marries two issues at the heart of Sanders' presidential campaign: environmental stewardship and reform of the financial industry.

In a recent campaign video, Sanders said his presidential campaign is about "a grassroots movement of Americans standing up and saying: Enough is enough. This country and our government belong to all of us, not just a handful of billionaires." The Vermont senator has repeatedly railed against a financial system that only benefits the top one percent of Americans, while the Middle Class disappears. He claimed that "99 percent of all new income is going to the top one percent, and the grotesque level of wealth and income inequality today is worse than at any time since the late 1920s."

He has directed that ire particularly towards Wall Street, whose "greed, recklessness and illegal behavior," Sanders said, resulted in the 2008 Financial Crisis, the resulting Great Recession and the largest bank bailout in U.S. history. "If banks are too big to fail, then they are too big to exist" has become Sanders' campaign mantra. Earlier this year, he introduced legislation, the Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Exist Act, and has co-sponsored bills such as the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act to rein in Wall Street bankers.

The government gave $9 trillion to financial institutions in order to prevent their collapse, according to the New York TimesIn Sanders' eyes, we spent trillions to bail out people who chose to "chase profit by gambling and making risky investments," and yet, so far only one banker is facing jail time for his actions.

“It is an outrage that not one major Wall Street executive has gone to jail for causing the near collapse of the economy," Sanders said last month. "The failure to prosecute the crooks on Wall Street for their illegal and reckless behavior is a clear indictment of our broken criminal justice system."

Just as the U.S. government has failed to hold Wall Street bankers accountable for its actions, Sanders believes, it has also failed to hold big polluters accountable. In contrast to Wall Street's massive bailout, the U.S. government's action on climate change continues to lag behind the recommendations of top scientists. When President Obama announced his Clean Power Plan in August, he hailed it as the "biggest, most important step we’ve ever taken to combat climate change." But Vox calculated that "if all goes as planned, the Clean Power Plan amounts to a six percentage point cut in current U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2030." That number is far below the 80 percent reduction that climate experts believe the U.S. needs to cut by that date.

On the legislative side, congressional action on addressing carbon emissions and, more generally, protecting the environment is continually stifled by partisanship. While some Republicans have embraced climate action—even going so far as to introduce legislation that put the climate challenge in the broader context of conservation, stewardship, innovation and conservatism—many continue to block efforts to enact meaningful climate change policies, such as a carbon fee and dividend.

Slate's Eric Holthaus analyzed the climate plans of Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley. He said, "the O’Malley plan is almost a perfect example of what going all in looks like" and Clinton's plan was "rhetorically grand," but "scientifically unambitious." As for Sanders, the senator hasn't formally laid out a climate plan, but his voting record in the Senate and his positions on hot button issues from Keystone to Arctic drilling to renewable energy show that he is a strong environmental advocate.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Why ISIS Wants the Paris Climate Talks to Fail

NASA Carbon Map Shows Which Countries are Polluting the World

France Cancels Major Climate March, Groups Say They Won’t Be Silenced

Bernie Sanders: ‘Climate Change Is Directly Related to the Growth of Terrorism’

A Brood X cicada in 2004. Pmjacoby / CC BY-SA 3.0

Fifteen states are in for an unusually noisy spring.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A creative depiction of bigfoot in a forest. Nisian Hughes / Stone / Getty Images

Deep in the woods, a hairy, ape-like man is said to be living a quiet and secluded life. While some deny the creature's existence, others spend their lives trying to prove it.

Read More Show Less

Trending

President of the European Investment Bank Werner Hoyer holds a press conference in Brussels, Belgium on Jan. 30, 2020. Dursun Aydemir / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

By Jon Queally

Noted author and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben was among the first to celebrate word that the president of the European Investment Bank on Wednesday openly declared, "To put it mildly, gas is over" — an admission that squares with what climate experts and economists have been saying for years if not decades.

Read More Show Less

A dwarf giraffe is seen in Uganda, Africa. Dr. Michael Brown, GCF

Nine feet tall is gigantic by human standards, but when researcher and conservationist Michael Brown spotted a giraffe in Uganda's Murchison Falls National Park that measured nine feet, four inches, he was shocked.

Read More Show Less
Kelsey Mueller, 16, pets Ruby while waiting with her family to be escorted from the evacuation zone at the Shaver Lake Marina parking lot off of CA-168 during the Creek Fire on Sept. 7, 2020 in Shaver Lake, California. Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images

By Daisy Simmons

In a wildfire, hurricane, or other disaster, people with pets should heed the Humane Society's advice: If it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for your animals either.

Read More Show Less