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Warren unveils 'Green Marshall Plan' to battle climate change

Aarthi Swaminathan
·Reporter

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) rolled out another ambitious policy proposal, this time sweeping new measures tackling climate change.

In a nod to the U.S. post-World War II initiative to rebuild Western Europe, her campaign dubbed part of the policy blueprint the “Green Marshall Plan.”

The Tuesday policy announcement noted that the plan aims to use “all the tools in our diplomatic and economic arsenal to encourage other countries to purchase and deploy American-made clean energy technology.”

The proposal also creates a new federal office that would be dedicated to “selling American-made clean, renewable, and emission-free energy technology abroad, with a $100 billion commitment to assisting countries to purchase and deploy this technology.”

BOSTON, UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 12:  Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks at her campaign headquarters in Dorchester. (Photo by Hadley Green for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks at her campaign headquarters in Dorchester. (Photo: Hadley Green/ The Washington Post/ Getty Images)

The original Marshall Plan

The Marshall Plan was proposed by then-Secretary of State George C. Marshall and approved by Congress in 1948 in reaction to fears of communist expansion and the worsening of economic conditions in Europe.

It resulted in the U.S. funding “over $12 billion for the rebuilding of Western Europe,” according to the U.S. Department of State’s Office of the Historian.

The plan is credited for helping regenerate embattled European economies devastated by World War II. The historian’s office said the prosperity across the Atlantic also ended up stimulating the U.S. economy “by establishing markets for American goods.”

In her Tuesday policy roll-out, Warren said she saw a parallel need today.

“We have a similar opportunity to exercise global leadership and serve our own interests today,” she said.

Marshall plan, President Truman signs the Economic Assistance Act, a program for the reconstruction of Europe. (Dean Acheson on the right), April 19, 1949, Etats-Unis, National Archives - Washington, . (Photo by: Photo12/UIG via Getty Images)
Marshall plan, President Truman signs the Economic Assistance Act, a program for the reconstruction of Europe. (Dean Acheson on the right), April 19, 1949, Etats-Unis, National Archives - Washington. (Photo: Photo12/UIG via Getty Images)

Warren’s plan

With a “Green” Marshall Plan, Warren aims to meet the emissions goals in the “Green New Deal” — the proposal prominently backed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. — and the Paris Agreement, which President Trump withdrew from earlier in his term. She also aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally, supply the world with clean energy products and avoid climate change overall.

The “federal office” she aims to establish would get a budget of $10 billion to “offer various financing options to foreign purchasers to encourage more purchases.” It would also “offer discounts and other incentives to countries hardest hit by the climate crisis, or in exchange for countries making regulatory changes that will further reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.”

She also called for America to use its voting power in the World Bank and other institutions to “cut off investment in fossil fuel projects and to direct that investment into clean energy projects instead.”

US President Barack Obama speaks about the Paris Agreement from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, October 5, 2016. / AFP / JIM WATSON        (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama speaks about the Paris Agreement from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, October 5, 2016. (Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Biden throws hat in the ring

Former Vice President Joe Biden, one of Warren’s rivals in the 2020 primary, also rolled out his climate policy plan on Tuesday.

Biden promised he would reinstate the major federal climate change policies implemented by executive power by former President Barack Obama and severely weakened by Trump.

But he also promised to go further than Obama, incorporating elements of Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal as well.

"Like the Green New Deal, Mr. Biden’s plan calls broadly for 'environmental justice,' programs designed to help poor people and minorities who face disproportionate economic harm from environmental pollution, and to provide retraining and new economic opportunities for coal, oil, gas and other industrial workers displaced by the decline of the fossil fuel economy," the New York Times reported.

Biden is calling for investing $1.7 trillion over 10 years into green initiatives.

His announcement also faced controversy when the conservative website Daily Caller reported that it used language similar to outside sources without attribution.

"Several citations, some from sources cited in other parts of the plan, were inadvertently left out of the final version of the 22-page document," Biden’s campaign said in response.

Aarthi is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @aarthiswami.

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