During an interview Thursday night with MSNBC's Chris Hayes, Sen. Bernie Sanders explained how his version of the Green New Deal would essentially nationalize energy production by creating a nationwide sustainable version of the Tennessee Valley Authority in order to completely replace fossil fuels with wind, solar, and other sustainable methods.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: The way I look at it. We can approach climate change the way Donald Trump does. Call it a hoax, deny the reality, and that is obviously an incredible danger for the planet, or you could say, well, you know, climate change is real but we can't do all that much. We can't really disrupt the economy. We can't do that. We can't do that, we've got to look at it from a political point of view, or the third approach, which I have tried to take here, is to say, look, the scientific community tells us we have a handful of years in which we must act boldly and transformatively to move away from fossil fuel and energy sufficiency and sustainable energy or else the planet we will be leaving for our children and future generations will be a planet that is increasingly unhealthy and uninhabitable. Man, I just came from paradise, California, and you remember the tragedy there.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC: I do.
SANDERS: Unbelievable. Unbelievable. Looked like a bomb was dropped in that community, so if we believe, Chris, that climate change is real, if we believe what the scientists are telling us, we have got to be bold. We have got to be comprehensive. We have got to be aggressive. That is what that plan is about.
HAYES: One part of the plan that I find fascinating, which is about how power is generated and distributed. You talk about there's public -- there's some federal public administration of power in this country based on the Tennessee Valley Authority and others and basically, you propose essentially a federal takeover of the whole thing, that essentially a Tennessee Valley Authority extension for the whole country, am I understanding that correctly.
SANDERS: You're in the ballpark, that's right. The TVA has done a lot of good work. It produces electricity from hydropower and other sources. We need to have an aggressive federal government saying we are go from solar and from wind and from other sustainable energies, and we will sell it out, and by the way, we're going to make money doing that. But you can't nibble around the edges anymore. We need to transform our energy system. That means a massive increase in sustainable energy.
HAYES: So I think people that watch the program know that I am not a deficit hawk. You know, America's a very wealthy country. It can afford a lot of big investments, but this is really large. The amount of money we're talking about, you're talking about in the plan replacing every old diesel school bus, replacing old mobile homes in the country, right. It's big and comprehensive. When people say to you, how do you pay for it? Is this a thing that America can afford? You say what?
SANDERS: Well, the first thing is we cannot not afford it. We are playing for the future of the planet. We have got to do it. And second of all, we pay for this in a number of ways. One of the ways we pay for it is a massive federal project that produces sustainable energy is going to make money as well. Further more we do away with the tax breaks and the subsidies that the fossil fuel industry now receives, which in fact is massive. Thirdly we create 20 million new jobs as we transform our energy system and improve our infrastructure and those are going to be good-paying union jobs, and those folks are going to be paying taxes, fourthly for a variety of reasons, we've got to cut military spending. Fifthly we do away with trump's huge tax breaks for the rich and sixth we have a progressive tax system which demands large corporations and the rich start paying their fair share of the taxes.