At Democratic debate, Sanders advocates prosecuting fossil fuel execs over climate change

"Maybe we should think about prosecuting them," Sander said

Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders advocated prosecuting fossil fuel executives for "[lying] when they had the evidence that their carbon products were destroying the planet" during Wednesday night's Democratic debate in Atlanta.

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"What we have got to do ... is tell the fossil fuel industry that their short-term profits are not more important than the future of this planet," Sanders said. "And by the way, the fossil fuel industry is probably criminally liable because they have lied and lied and lied when they had the evidence that their carbon products were destroying the planet, and maybe we should think about prosecuting them as well."

Sanders rolled out a $16 trillion plan to combat climate change by transforming the nation's energy system and economy in August.

The plan, the most ambitious yet from a presidential contender on climate change, calls for the U.S. to reach 100 percent renewable energy for electricity and transportation no later than 2030, and go completely carbon neutral by at least 2050, by building new energy sources. That target falls in line with a 2018 report released by the United Nations climate science body, which warned that countries had just 12 years to limit global warming to moderate levels.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a Democratic presidential primary debate, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


"We don't have decades," Sanders said at the debate. "What the scientists are telling us is if we don't get our act together within the next eight or nine years, we're talking about cities all over the world, major cities going underwater. We're talking about increased drought. We're talking about increased extreme weather disturbances. The United Nations is telling us in the years to come there are going to be hundreds of millions of climate refugees causing national security issues all over the world."

FOX Business' Megan Henney contributed to this report.