O’Malley: ‘Climate Change Is the Greatest Business Opportunity to Come to the United States in 100 Years’

By Melanie Arter | January 26, 2016 | 11:20 AM EST

Martin O'Malley speaks during a CNN town hall at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(CNSNews.com) - Democratic presidential candidate and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said Monday that the one issue young voters should care the most about is climate change, calling it “the greatest business opportunity” to come to the U.S. in 100 years.

“Climate change is the greatest business opportunity to come to the United States in 100 years, and I am the first candidate in either party to put forward a plan to move us to a 100 percent clean electric energy grid by 2050 and create 5 million jobs along the way,” O’Malley said at the Democratic presidential town hall in Des Moines, Iowa.

O’Malley said Iowa is “pointing the way forward” on the issue.

“Look at what you have already done in your state,” he said, adding that “30 to 35 percent of your energy now comes from clean Iowa wind, which wasn’t there 15 years ago, and you employ 5,000 people in a new industry.”

“The great thing about those big component parts you see rumbling down the highway on I-80 is you’re too darn big for it to make a whole lot of sense to import them from other countries, so you have to build them here,” O’Malley said.

“It’s a big differentiator among the three of us,” he said, referring to his Democratic presidential competitors - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “I mean we’re all decent people.

“We all want to do the right thing for our planet, but there is a generational perspective here, and we’re not going to get to a 100 percent grid with an all-of-the-above strategy any more than we’re going to get to the moon with an all-of-the-above strategy,” O’Malley said.

“It was an engineering challenge, and we are up to this as Americans, but incrementalism, half-steps, splitting the loaf - that’s not going to get us, and that’s not what your generation wants. You want the straight truth, and you want us to face our challenges fearlessly and make this new reality ours,” he added.

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