August 22, 2019

Statement on Senator Bernie Sanders’ climate plan

BOSTON–Today, candidate for U.S. president, Senator Bernie Sanders, released his climate plan. In it, Sanders calls for the fossil fuel industry to be held criminally and civilly liable for its abuses. Former candidate, Governor Jay Inslee, also called for similar accountability.

Please see the statement below on the plan from Corporate Accountability Executive Director Patti Lynn: 

“This plan goes a long way in recognizing some of what’s essential if the vision behind the Green New Deal is to become reality, and what people in the Global South and on the frontlines of climate change have been demanding for years: That the U.S., as the largest historical emitter, must live up to its obligation to drastically decrease emissions in line with its fair share and to keep global temperature rise under 1.5 degrees Celsius; that the largest barrier to progress in addressing climate change- Big Polluter denialism and obstruction- must be tackled head on; and that the most logical and just way to access solutions to address the climate crisis is to make Big Polluters pay for the damage they have caused.

Senator Sanders’ plan is only the second plan from a presidential candidate to explicitly call for the fossil fuel industry to be held liable for its role in fueling the climate crisis. But if we are serious about being able to avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis it cannot be the last.

We cannot overlook the reality that the greatest impacts of climate change are borne by those in parts of the world that are least responsible for causing it. Action taken to hold the industry liable must also directly assist those countries and communities in accessing the technology and finance they are owed to respond to climate change.

Investigations and lawsuits against the fossil fuel industry have been launched across the U.S. and around the globe and as the climate crisis’s impacts intensify every day, people are demanding accountability. It’s time for the industries most responsible for fueling the climate crisis and that have spent hundreds of millions to prevent action, finally pay for the damage they are causing.

The right U.S. climate plan must embrace true climate leadership and end the obstructive role of Big Polluters in climate policy. To do so and catalyze the just transition needed, Big Polluters must be held to account.

It’s time to make Big Polluters pay.

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