- The Washington Times - Friday, September 27, 2019

Like other Democratic presidential primary hopefuls, Tom Steyer seeks to make America carbon-free sooner rather than later, but he’s the first to demand a crackdown on “environmental crimes against humanity.”

The billionaire hedge-fund manager unveiled Friday his International Plan for Climate Justice, calling for U.S. carbon neutrality by 2045 while vowing to create “something like a UN Environmental Crimes Tribunal” to hold nations and corporations accountable for violations.

“I will work to define environmental crimes against humanity so that countries and multinational corporations are held accountable for uncontrolled and pollution and deforestation that endanger millions of lives,” Mr. Steyer said in his launch video.

On the home front, he would sic federal law enforcement on U.S. individuals or companies that have “knowingly and intentionally spread false information or engaged in other illegal acts, including election interference” aimed at blocking “meaningful climate change policy.”

Would that include so-called climate skeptics who challenge global-warming doomsday predictions? Mr. Steyer didn’t say, but his call to pursue perpetrators of “environmental crimes” has upped the ante for 2020 Democratic candidates wooing the climate vote.

“I’m the only candidate who will declare a climate emergency on day one and use the emergency powers of the president to address it,” said Mr. Steyer.

The Democratic Party’s biggest single donor in 2016, Mr. Steyer has spent heavily since entering the race July 9 to catch up with the rest of the field after devoting the previous year to his campaign to impeach President Trump.

His $12 million television and digital ad campaign paid off, helping him earn a slot on the October debate stage by reaching the 2% polling cut-off after falling to qualify for the September debates.

While Mr. Steyer, the founder of NextGen Climate, has made the “climate crisis” his central issue, he has encountered plenty of competition from other Democratic contenders, many of whom have already released multi-trillion-dollar Green New Deal proposals.

The Steyer campaign offered no financial estimate for his climate plan, which includes “greening” the State and Defense departments by making non-combat operations carbon-neutral by 2030, although his proposals would undoubtedly run into the trillions.

His proposed Global Green New Deal Fund would commit $20 billion per year for 10 years to address “crimes” such as the Amazon wildfires and the “Pacific Garbage Patch.”

He also called for creating a Climate Security Intelligence Center; quadrupling U.S. investment in clean energy; ending all American coal, oil and natural gas investment abroad, and stopping U.S. fossil-fuel exports.

Like the other Green New Deals, the Steyer plan comes with a social-justice emphasis with goals such as ensuring “reproductive healthcare” and “freedom from sexual violence and harassment,” as well as adding youth representatives from all nations to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The plan would also increase the number of U.S. refugees by ensuring entry for those fleeing “climate related disasters and conflicts.”

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