Andrew Yang's climate proposal costs an eye-popping $4.9T

By PoliticsFOXBusiness

2020 hopeful Andrew Yang argues universal basic income would improve Americans' mental and physical health

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang makes the case for his plan to give Americans $1,000 a month.

Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang unveiled a $4.87 trillion proposal to combat climate change Monday.

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Yang posted the plan on his campaign website Monday in a post titled “It’s worse than you think – lower emissions, higher ground.” It details how the entrepreneur says he would transition the economy away from fossil fuels, fund innovation into renewable technologies, protect communities at risk of floods and other natural disasters, reverse the damage done to the environment and support a constitutional amendment requiring the federal and state governments to protect the environment.

“The right time to deal with this crisis was decades ago,” Yang said in an emailed statement. “We’ve waited too long, so we need to act fast and recognize that all options need to be on the table in order to adapt to the changed world we live in, while mitigating behaviors that make it worse and reversing the damage we’ve already done.”

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The plan aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 by setting new standards for buildings, cars and other transportation, transitioning the power grid from fossil fuels to nuclear reactors and reducing the waste of methane by recycling it as “biogas” to generate electricity.

Yang would target oil industry lobbyists, re-enter the Paris Climate Agreement and set specific plans to deal with rising sea levels and natural disasters.

“We can’t dismiss any ideas — especially not those that have support from the scientific community — or rule anything out because it doesn’t fit our ideological framework,” Yang said.

The $4.87 trillion price tag for Yang’s plan includes proposed investments like $285.5 billion for sustainable agricultural, forestry and land-use methods over 15 years, $80.8 billion for net-zero emission air transportation and $30 billion for nuclear power.

So how’s he going to pay for all this? A campaign spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to questions from FOX Business. But Yang’s plan calls for an end to fossil fuel subsidies, which he said cost the feds $649 billion per year as of 2015, and adding a carbon tax he said would raise hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

As far as cost goes, Yang’s plan puts him in the middle of the pack of Democrats seeking the 2020 nomination who have shared climate plans with proposed costs.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has proposed the most expensive plan, a $16.3 trillion “Green New Deal” that would switch to a totally renewable energy grid by 2030 — five years ahead of Yang’s timeline — and eliminate fossil fuel use by 2050. Sanders said his plan would be funded by taxes on the fossil fuel industry.

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand says her $10 trillion climate change plan would be funded by a carbon tax. Beto O’Rourke has proposed a $5 trillion plan.

Democratic presidential candidate entrepreneur Andrew Yang speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Other Democrats in the race have made less costly proposals. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has a $2 trillion clean-energy plan. Former Vice President Joe Biden announced a $1.7 trillion climate change plan. Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet has proposed a $1 trillion “Climate X Option.”

Yang is something of an outsider among the Democratic candidates best known for his plan to create a $1,000 monthly "universal basic income." He has also called for taxing big tech companies and banning robocalls.

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