Martin O'Malley, the former governor of Maryland and a contender to be the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, called on Thursday for a phase-out of fossil fuels by 2050, citing the "moral obligation" to address climate change.
In an op-ed published in USA Today, O'Malley, who is Catholic, called the encyclical Pope Francis issued on Thursday on climate change a "clarion call for action."
O'Malley's piece also publicly rebuked some of the Obama administration's energy policies and promised to put climate and energy at the center of his presidential campaign.
"We cannot meet the climate challenge with an all-of-the-above energy strategy, or by drilling off our coasts, or by building pipelines that bring oil from tar sands in Canada," O'Malley wrote. The Obama administration has often touted an "all-of-the-above" energy strategy, and earlier this year proposed opening new areas of the Atlantic Ocean to offshore drilling. The administration has not yet issued a decision on whether to approve a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada to Texas.
While O'Malley said the Obama administration's policies have made the United States more energy independent, he said the climate challenge requires the country to make "a full, complete transition to renewable energy -- and an end to our reliance on fossil fuels." - Huffington Post, 6/18/15
Here's what O'Malley's plan calls for:
As president, on day one, I would use my executive power to declare the transition to a clean energy future the number one priority of our Federal Government.
I would create a new Clean Energy Jobs Corps to partner with communities to retrofit buildings to be more energy efficient, improve local resiliency, create new green spaces, and restore and expand our forests so they can absorb more greenhouse gases.
I would retrofit federal buildings to the highest efficiency standards and require new federal buildings to be net-zero, require the federal fleet to be subject to low- or zero-emissions purchasing agreements, and require all federally-funded infrastructure projects to meet climate resiliency standards.
As president, I would direct the Environmental Protection Agency to take aggressive action to limit greenhouse gases: expanding rules to other large sources of emissions beyond power plants, adopting a zero-tolerance policy for methane leaks from current oil and gas production, and setting higher energy efficiency standards for new buildings while requiring energy costs to be transparent to building tenants and purchasers.
And I would reject projects like Keystone XL and drilling off our coasts and in Antarctica and Alaska. Furthermore, I would keep domestically produced oil and gas in the U.S., instead of selling it abroad — unless there is a clear strategic security rationale.
Beyond executive actions, I would make clean energy deployment — and employment — a first-order priority.
I would set a national, cross-sector Renewable Electricity Standard so our nation is powered by 100% clean energy by 2050, and a national goal of doubling energy efficiency within 15 years. Many states like California and Maryland are already leading the way forward for the United States.
I would fight for federal legislation for a cap on carbon emissions from all sources, with proceeds from permits returned to lower and middle-class families, transition assistance, and new jobs with the Clean Energy Corps.
As president, I would support a Clean Energy Financing Authority to support projects to increase efficiency and resiliency upgrades in cities, towns, and rural communities nationwide.
I would prioritize modernizing our electric grid to evolve to support localized, renewable energy generation, reduce electricity waste and increase security from sabotage or attack.
And I would increase our investment in basic clean energy research so the U.S. can reclaim the lead on energy innovation, including advancing development, deployment, transmission and storage for renewable energy and new efficiency technologies. - Martin O'Malley (D. MD), 6/18/15
It is a very ambition and smart plan. Younger voters care greatly about tackling climate change and this might be the way for O'Malley to gain serious traction in the primary. If you would like to donate and get involved with O'Malley's campaign, you can do so here: