Speed Reads

2020 policy alert

Julián Castro's new climate plan outlines an ‘Economic Guarantee for Fossil Fuel Workers' amid transition to clean energy

Former Housing Secretary Julián Castro is trying to raise his mediocre environmental rating. Greenpeace gives the 2020 presidential candidate a "C" grade, placing him 13th out of 20 Democratic hopefuls. But Castro's new climate plan, released one day ahead of CNN's town hall on climate, could change his grade.

Castro's plan consists of an array of ideas, including passing civil rights legislation to prevent environmental discrimination, establishing a new legal category of "climate refugees," forming a National Climate Council, and stopping fossil fuel extraction from public lands. Castro, however, also seeks to provide an "Economic Guarantee for Fossil Fuel Workers." A Castro administration, as the plan outlines, would be dedicated to transitioning the country to renewable energy in order to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2045. But, in doing so, it would also help coal, oil, and gas workers — many of whom have already lost their jobs — gain financial security.

"Our transformation away from fossil fuels will affect millions of workers and requires an economic security guarantee, similar to the GI Bill for returning veterans of World War II," the plan reads. Among those guarantees are health care and disability benefits, including programs like the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund. Castro would also defend pensions for mineworkers and aid communities affected by fossil fuel plant shutdowns through economic and educational assistance programs. Read the full plan here.