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Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event in South Carolina on Jan. 21. Sean Rayford / Getty Images

Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Tuesday that he will run for president in 2020, becoming the latest candidate in a crowded Democratic primary field to promise a Green New Deal if elected, The Washington Post reported.

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Hundreds gathered in San Francisco with the youth-led Sunrise Movement on Dec. 11. Peg Hunter / Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0

By Eric Holt-Giménez

Over eight decades ago, the Dust Bowl devastated over 100,000,000 acres of agricultural land and the Great Depression threw 15 million Americans out of work. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt instituted the New Deal with sweeping national programs for work, agriculture, food, and land conservation.

Today, the plan for a Green New Deal recently announced by congressional representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders is facing down even greater crises.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Screenshot / ABC Video

By Jake Johnson

Appearing on ABC's This Week on Sunday just moments after President Donald Trump's chief economic adviser and noted Wall Street stooge Larry Kudlow dismissed a new United Nations climate report showing that the world must cut carbon emissions in half by 2030 to avert global catastrophe, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) denounced the White House for its "dangerous" rejection of climate science and slammed Trump for working hand-in-hand with Big Oil to make "a bad situation worse."

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Sen. Bernie Sanders walks though the Playita community during a visit with the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz in San Juan, Puerto Rico, October 27, 2017. RICARDO ARDUENGO / AFP / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

As advocacy groups urgently warn that Wall Street firms are moving to capitalize on Puerto Rico's plight in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria by extracting debt payments and pushing for the privatization of public services, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) joined Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and several other Democratic senators on Wednesday to introduce a bill that would "provide an avenue to comprehensive debt relief" for the island.

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Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt. The White House / Flickr

From premium airfare to round-the-clock security, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt's receipts have raised alarm bells before, but could his latest controversy be the last straw?

During television appearances Sunday, several lawmakers and former Trump officials condemned the industry-friendly EPA administrator's alleged $50-a-night deal at a D.C. townhouse co-owned by an energy lobbyist and his wife.

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Burlington, Vermont is the first city in the U.S. to run entirely on renewable energy.

A growing list of cities and municipalities is leading a renewable energy revolution that their national governments either cannot—or will not—address.

More than 100 cities around the world now get at least 70 percent of their electricity from renewable sources such solar, wind, geothermal and hydropower, according to new research from the non-profit CDP. That's more than double the 40 cities reporting they were powered by at least 70 percent clean energy in 2015.

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On Jan. 31—the day after President Trump's State of the Union address which lauded "beautiful clean coal" and completely ignored climate change—environmental activists gathered in Washington, DC to launch a new campaign to combat fossil fuel development and drive forward a renewable energy revolution from the ground up.

"Fossil Free U.S." is a grassroots strategy for passing local resolutions in cities and states nationwide that ban new fossil fuel projects. As a press release for the campaign stated, "Stopping Trump's climate-wrecking plans won't come from the beltway, but from communities everywhere fighting for justice from the ground up."

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This was a year of tug-of-war for the environment. With Donald Trump becoming president of the U.S. at a time when wildfires, hurricanes, and floods were devastating the country, it was challenging for scientists, activists and concerned citizens to get their voices heard. But several stood out as global leaders on climate and helped give rise to those who were silenced. Below are 14 of the most notable influencers of 2017 and how they fought for a cleaner, safer environment for all.

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Caribou graze on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. USFWS / Flickr

The Republican tax bill, which is likely headed to President Donald Trump's desk in the next few days, has major repercussions for our precious environment.

While the electric vehicle industry and the wind and solar sector can breathe a little easier that the sweeping legislation preserves their tax credits, fossil fuel producers are likely cheering the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas drilling.

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Sanders surveyed the damage done by Hurricane Maria with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz in October. Cruz approves of the recovery package Sanders unveiled Tuesday. @Politics_Info / Twitter

By Julia Conley

Calling on the federal government to bring its "full resources to bear" on the crisis in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.-I) unveiled a $146 billion recovery package for the U.S. territories on Tuesday, two months after Hurricane Maria left destruction across the islands.

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By Jessica Corbett

As Senate Democrats stay silent on an energy bill that environmental groups call "a pro-fracking giveaway to oil and gas interests that would commit America to decades more of dangerous fossil fuel dependence," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is receiving applause for speaking out against it.

"As a nation, our job is to move away from fossil fuels toward sustainable energy and energy efficiency. This bill does the opposite," Sanders said in a statement.

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