(CNSNews.com) – While admitting that there will be some job loss, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said that his environmental policies in terms of a Green New Deal will create a lot more jobs that President Donald Trump’s policies will.
During CNN’s presidential town hall last week, Sanders was asked how he would tackle the single plastics issue as president.
“It's one of many issues we have to deal with in terms of the environment. I don't have to tell you. You've seen the pictures of our oceans where there are tons and tons and tons of plastics, where whales wash up on shore and they have all this horrible plastic in it. So this is one of the many environmental crises that we are facing,” he said.
“And of the many crises that we're facing, and I hope we get a chance, Anderson, to discuss this later is the crisis of climate change, and if we don't get a handle on that crisis, the planet that we're going to be leaving to our children and future generations will be increasingly unhealthy and uninhabitable,” the senator said.
Sanders said there are hundreds of communities where you can’t get clean drinking water.
“There is an enormous amount of pollution of all kinds that's now taking place in America. Before I ran for president, I got to tell you, I didn't know. You go out to California, there are tens of thousands of people turn on the faucet. They cannot drink the water. It's not just Flint, Michigan. There are hundreds of community, including communities right here in New Hampshire where people cannot get clean drinking water,” he said.
“So we've got a major environmental crisis, and then we've got a president who has converted the Environmental Protection Agency into the environmental -- into the Non-Environmental Protection Agency. He is doing exactly the wrong thing, deregulating polluters. So this is a major issue that we have got to deal with, and as president, I certainly will,” the senator said.
When asked how he would direct the EPA as president, Sanders said what’s needed are “sweeping changes.”
“We need to tell those manufacturers, those companies who are polluting our air, our water and our land that they cannot continue to do that. I just came back from Iowa. They have factory farming there which has resulted in so many phosphates in the water that cities are spending a fortune just to have drinkable water. So we've got to have a moratorium on factory farming,” Sanders said.
“If there are fossil fuel plants that are polluting the environment, you know, we got to tell them they cannot do that. So we have a major environmental crisis in this country. We certainly have an existential threat in terms of climate change, and my administration will do everything we can to deal with those issues,” he said.
“You're standing on a debate stage with President Trump. You know what he will say is those are all business-busting regulations, and that's what he's done away with,” host Anderson Cooper said.
“In fact, our policies will create a lot more jobs than his will. When you talk about transforming our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy through a Green New Deal principle, you're talking about creating up to 20 million good paying jobs. And in terms of climate change, Anderson, the debate is really over,” Sanders said.
“Nobody can say with a straight face, well, it's about jobs when we are talking about the future of the planet. When we're talking about whether or not cities in America and around the world will be under water, whether we're going to see more and more drought. Everybody knows what's going on in Australia right now. If we don't get our act together, that is the future of the world,” he said.
“We are seeing a prelude to that in California with their terrible forest fires. I was in Paradise, California, the beginning of the campaign. What I saw there was terrible. A small town, 26,000 people, lost 86 people - 86 people killed by a wildfire. So Trump does not believe in climate change, and in not believing in the reality of climate change, what he is doing is threatening the very well-being of kids and future generations, and that is unacceptable,” the senator said.
“But from an economic point of view, he is also wrong. We can create -- yes, there will be some job loss. I acknowledge that, but what we can do is create a heck of a lot more jobs as we retrofit our older buildings, as we move to wind, solar, geothermal and other sustainable energies,” Sanders said.
“And by the way, because climate change is not an American issue, it's a global issue, we can create jobs by leading the world, working with China and Russia and India and Pakistan and Brazil, companies all over the world, helping them with technology they need to make the energy transformation that we need to save the planet,” he said.