Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) declined to go as far as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in calling for the public ownership of utilities during CNN’s climate change town hall Wednesday evening, but she said she will tell utility companies that use carbon-based fuel that they are “done” by 2035.
“Bernie Sanders has endorsed the idea of the public ownership of utilities, arguing that we can’t adequately solve this crisis without removing the profit motive from the distribution of essential needs like energy,” an attendee said.
“As president, would you be willing to call out capitalism in this way and advocate for the public ownership of our utilities?” the man asked.
“Gosh. You know, I’m not sure that that’s what gets you to the solution,” Warren said, expressing her willingness to take on “giant corporations” but refusing to take aim at Sanders’ position specifically. Instead, she said, she will simply tell those companies, “sorry guys, but by 2035, you’re done.”
“I’m perfectly willing to take on giant corporations. I think I’ve been known to do that once or twice. But for me, I think the way we get there is we just say, ‘sorry guys, but by 2035, you’re done,'” she said.
“You’re not going to be using any more carbon-based fuels. That gets us to the right place,” she continued, referring to her plan’s ambitious 2035 goal of “100 percent renewable and zero-emission energy in electricity generation, with an interim target of 100 percent carbon-neutral power by 2030.”
Warren continued, pointing out that she has no problem with individuals wanting to make a profit from creating and perfecting forms of clean energy:
And if somebody wants to make a profit from building better solar panels, and generating better battery storage, I’m not opposed to that. What I’m opposed to is when they do it in a way that hurts everybody else. You shouldn’t be able to externalize these costs. That’s the problem with fossil fuels right now. I think that the best way we go forward here is we open up the opportunities. We open up the possibilities. We invest in the science. We invest in the manufacturing. We invest in the pieces that let us build a future together going forward.
“But I just want to be clear. We got to have tough rules that we’re willing to enforce,” Warren continued. “And that means that we’ve got to be willing to fight back against these giant industries.”
“That’s where the whole thing starts for me. If we put them on their back foot, then we have a real chance to make the changes we need to make,” Warren added.