Sanders Unveils Green New Deal Plan to Avoid Climate Catastrophe, Create 20 Million Jobs
By Jake Johnson
Calling the global climate crisis both the greatest threat facing the U.S. and the greatest opportunity for transformative change, Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled today a comprehensive Green New Deal proposal that would transition the U.S. economy to 100 percent renewable energy and create 20 million well-paying union jobs over a decade.
"This is a pivotal moment in the history of America—and really, in the history of humanity," Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said in a statement.
"When we are in the White House," said the Vermont senator, "we will launch the decade of the Green New Deal, a 10-year mobilization to avert climate catastrophe during which climate change, justice, and equity will be factored into virtually every area of policy, from immigration to trade to foreign policy and beyond."
The climate crisis is the greatest challenge facing humanity. It's also our single greatest opportunity to build a… https://t.co/VZzLl4an67— Bernie Sanders (@Bernie Sanders)1566471600.0
Sanders' plan for an aggressive 10-year mobilization to combat the climate emergency comes amid warnings from the international scientific community that global greenhouse gas emissions must be slashed in half by 2030 to avert planetary catastrophe.
Across the world, Sanders noted on his website, there is an overwhelming abundance of evidence testifying to the severity of the climate crisis and the urgent need for bold action.
"The Amazon rainforest is burning, Greenland's ice shelf is melting, and the Arctic is on fire," Sanders wrote. "People across the country and the world are already experiencing the deadly consequences of our climate crisis, as extreme weather events like heat waves, wildfires, droughts, floods, and hurricanes upend entire communities, ecosystems, economies, and ways of life, as well as endanger millions of lives."
To confront the emergency, Sanders' Green New Deal plan would:
- Reach "100 percent renewable energy for electricity and transportation by no later than 2030 and complete decarbonization by at least 2050"
- Invest $16.3 trillion in creating 20 million jobs, developing sustainable infrastructure and supporting vulnerable frontline communities
- Assist international efforts to reduce carbon emissions by providing $200 billion to the Green Climate Fund and rejoining the Paris climate accord
- Ban fracking, mountaintop removal coal mining and imports and exports of fossil fuels
- "Prosecute and sue the fossil fuel industry for the damage it has caused"
- Ensure a fair and just transition for workers currently employed by the fossil fuel industry.
According to the Sanders campaign, the senator's plan would "pay for itself over 15 years" by forcing the fossil fuel industry to "pay for their pollution," eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, slashing military spending that is dedicated to "maintaining global oil dependence," raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, and more.
Read the full text of the campaign's Green New Deal plan here.
We need a president who will face down the greed of fossil fuel executives and the billionaire class who stand in t… https://t.co/j6zuxMxzto— Bernie Sanders (@Bernie Sanders)1566472454.0
"Bernie promises to go further than any other presidential candidate in history to end the fossil fuel industry's greed, including by making the industry pay for its pollution and prosecuting it for the damage it has caused," says the campaign's website.
"And most importantly," the website continues, "we must build an unprecedented grassroots movement that is powerful enough to take them on, and win. Young people, advocates, tribes, cities and states all over this country have already begun this important work, and we will continue to follow their lead."
Jack Shapiro, senior climate campaigner with Greenpeace USA, said, "If fossil fuel executives and lobbyists reading Sanders' plan are scared, they should be."
"Sanders has talked the talk on climate change from day one of his campaign. This plan shows he's ready to walk the walk, as well," Shapiro said in a statement. "At this point in the race, speeches and half-measures don't cut it."
Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Action, applauded Sanders' proposal as a "game-changer."
"With this aggressive and inspired plan, Senator Sanders has set a clear benchmark for meaningful climate and energy policy in the presidential race and beyond," said Hauter. "This plan includes the bold action and rapid timelines required to adequately address the magnitude of the climate crisis we face."
"Most importantly," Hauter added, "this plan would ban fracking, the toxic, polluting drilling method responsible for almost all oil and gas production in America today. Any serious plan to address climate chaos must start with a ban on fracking and a halt to all new fossil fuel development. Senator Sanders understands this, and he has set the bar for worthwhile climate policy discussion, here and abroad."
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
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It is undisputed that vitamin D plays a role everywhere in the body and performs important functions. A severe vitamin D deficiency, which can occur at a level of 12 nanograms per milliliter of blood or less, leads to severe and painful bone deformations known as rickets in infants and young children and osteomalacia in adults. Unfortunately, this is where the scientific consensus ends.
Where Does the Deficiency Begin?<p>Nobody knows exactly how much vitamin D a person actually needs. The question of when a deficiency starts is correspondingly controversial. However, vitamin D is becoming increasingly popular.Not only is the pseudo-scientific literature on the "sun vitamin" experiencing an upswing, but the number of published studies has also increased enormously in recent years. For example, in 2019 <a href="https://academic.oup.com/edrv/article/40/4/1109/5126915" target="_blank">a study found that</a> Vitamin D is responsible for keeping the skeleton functional and is associated with cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and various types of cancer. <br></p>
An All-Rounder<p>Vitamin D levels in the body rise and fall according to sun exposure. If sufficient UV rays reach the skin, the body is able to produce the vitamin itself. However, the human body only derives an estimated 10 to 20 percent of its daily requirement from food.</p><p>The vitamin D that we synthesize from sunlight or food is not biologically active at first. Before the kidneys can produce the biologically active form of the vitamin, known as calcitriol, and release it into the blood, some metabolic processes must take place beforehand.</p><p>In addition, many organs have receptors to which the precursor of calcitriol binds. Further, this substance is also present in blood.</p><p>From this precursor, the organs then produce calcitriol themselves, which the body then uses for countless other processes in the body. This form of vitamin D thus regulates insulin secretion, inhibits tumor growth, and promotes the formation of red blood cells as well as the survival and activity of macrophages, which are important for the <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/7/2502/htm" target="_blank">immune system.</a></p>
Low Vitamin D, Severe COVID-19 Disease?<p>A research study carried out <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352364620300067?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">at the University of Hohenheim</a> has now established a link between vitamin D deficiency, certain previous diseases, and severe cases of COVID-19.</p><p>According to the study, "there is a lot of evidence that several non-communicable diseases (high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome) are associated with low vitamin D plasma levels. These comorbidities, together with the often accompanying vitamin D deficiency, increase the risk of severe COVID-19 events."</p><p>"This statement is completely correct," said Martin Fassnacht, head of endocrinology at the University Hospital of Würzburg. However, he qualifies that it is a pure association, "i.e. a mere observation that these events occur together.</p><p>Dr. Fassnacht is very critical of the hype surrounding vitamin D, but not because he denies the vitamin serves important functions. However, studies on humans have not been able to show that vitamin D has the healing powers many often propagate.</p><p>Fassnacht says, "If you take a closer look, the hopes that the administration of vitamin D has a healing effect have not been confirmed so far."</p>
Association Versus Intervention Studies<p>Many studies on the vitamin are association or observational studies. "By definition, these studies cannot prove the causal relationship, but only point to mere correlations," said Fassnacht. The physician tries to illustrate this with an example:</p><p>"Imagine two groups of 80-year-olds. One group is spry, active and does sports. If you compare them with another group living in nursing homes, the difference in vitamin D levels will be dramatic. Life expectancy would also be extremely different."</p><p>But to try to explain the difference in fitness by vitamin D status alone is far too simplistic. "Vitamin D levels are a good measure of how sick someone is. But not more," says Fassnacht. </p><p>According to Fassnacht, none of the intervention studies carried out to date -- that specifically examined the effect of vitamin D on various diseases -- has been able to confirm the previous association and laboratory studies or the presumed positive effect of vitamin D.</p>
Further Research Is Needed<p>"If a coronavirus infection is suspected, it is therefore absolutely necessary to check the vitamin D status and quickly correct any possible deficit," said the recommendation of the paper published by the University of Hohenheim.</p><p>"Studies are underway to see whether vitamin D helps in COVID-19 infection, but I personally do not believe that this is really the case," says endocrinologist Fassnacht. Nevertheless, he says it is of course useful to carry out these studies.<br></p><p>"I don't want to rule out that there are actually subgroups of people who benefit from an additional vitamin D dose," he says. After all, this has been proven to be the case with a severe deficit.</p><p>In view of the study situation, Fassnacht does not think much of preventive, nationwide vitamin D substitutes. "My belief that the vitamin helps somewhere is very low. But, of course, I can be wrong."</p>
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