Billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer unveiled a five-pillar plan for how his administration would tackle climate change. The "justice-centered" proposal outlined by Steyer’s presidential campaign echoes similar tenets of other 2020 Democratic hopefuls’ plans, but hinges on social justice issues protecting low-income communities and workers, while pledging to declare climate change a national emergency.

"This is really a statement of we’re no longer just planning, on day one we start acting, forcefully," Steyer said in a brief interview with POLITICO. In the interview, Steyer talked about several aspects of his climate plan, but emphasized two key components of his plan: declaring a national emergency and his focus on the social justice aspects of his plan.

"On day one, we’d do a bunch of things including reentering [the Paris climate accords], freeze and reverse the Trump rulemarking, we’d establish a cabinet level position, put a climate lens on all purchasing … and if Congress couldn’t pass a Green New Deal, [we] would set clean energy standards," Steyer said on the emergency declaration.

"We would redirect existing money to this plan," he added. "It is basically taking the emergency powers of the presidency and using it to affect what we need to effect. … Some of those things you can do in the normal course, and some of those things you can only do by declaring the emergency."

What would the plan do?

Steyer calls for cutting "fossil fuel pollution" from all sectors in order to achieve a 100 percent clean energy economy and net-zero global-warming pollution by 2045. It sets a target of no later than 2030 to eliminate toxic air pollution from diesel engines, power plants and other sources.

The plan would also establish a Civilian Climate Corps to create 1 million jobs, as well as training and resources to help communities transition toward clean energy.

Internationally, Steyer’s plan would re-commit the U.S. to the Paris climate agreement, and would "enforce human rights and environment requirements for international energy projects."

How much would it cost?

The Steyer campaign estimates the plan would cost $2.3 trillion in public investment.

Part of that estimate includes $2 trillion in federal funding over 10 years — with more coming from private capital — for investments in infrastructure, including for clean transportation, farms and rural development, retrofitting buildings and universal broadband, among other priorities.

It also calls for $250 billion over 10 years in new "National Healthy Communities Climate Bonds" and for Congress to fund the Civilian Climate Corps. Another $50 billion would go toward former fossil fuel workers and their communities for health care, wages and benefits.

How would it work

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Steyer’s "Justice-Centered Climate Plan" has five core pillars — pollution reduction; grassroots planning and the creation of a civilian climate corps; transitioning from an extraction economy to a regenerative one; investments in clean energy infrastructure; and building resilience from natural disasters and for the military.

In order to move the economy away from fossil fuel extraction, Steyer calls for fully funding the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and other programs to support coal communities. He would stop issuing new fossil fuel leases, while also easing off federal onshore and offshore fossil fuel production.

Steyer would invest in "climate-smart" infrastructure and institute a federal "buy clean" standard. Similar to candidates like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and former Vice President Joe Biden, the NextGen founder would require lenders, pension funds, institutional investors, and publicly traded companies to disclose their fossil fuel holdings, and the risks climate change and extreme weather pose to their businesses.

The last portion of the plan calls for securing armed forces and military bases against extreme weather through infrastructure investments and planning, and improving disaster prevention throughout the country. The United States would double-down on its commitments to the Paris accord, and would back the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol and the Green Climate Fund, among other international agreements.

Who would it help?

Steyer’s plan highlights tribal, low-income and communities of color who have been disproportionately affected by climate change, via a focus on clean air, water and resiliency to extreme weather and natural disasters. It would also "honor the contributions and sacrifice" of fossil fuel workers by investing in resources and training to help those communities transition toward a clean energy economy, and invest in health care and benefits for former fossil fuel workers.

How does it differ from other candidates?

Steyer’s plan is unique in its call to utilize the emergency powers of the presidency to protect the public from climate change, should Congress fail to act. His call to achieve 100 percent clean energy economy and net-zero global warming pollution by no later than 2045 also slightly differs from several other candidates. Most recently, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s plan called for neutralizing nationwide carbon emissions by 2050.

The plan is largely similar, however, to other Democratic candidates’ proposals in its calls for Congress to enact a progressive Green New Deal and recommit to the ambitious Paris climate agreement backed by former President Barack Obama. Steyer’s call for a "climate corps" is also similar to other candidates including Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. Other Democrats, like Inslee, have also called for assistance for displaced fossil fuel workers and an increased focus on corporate climate risks.