Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton laid out a climate plan Sunday that aim to get half of all electricity generated in the United States from zero-carbon sources within 10 years.
Under the plan, Clinton said one-third of power a decade after taking the White House — were she to win the presidency — would come from renewable sources, enough to power every U.S. home. Once combined with existing nuclear power, which doesn't emit carbon, more than half of the nation's electricity would come from zero-emitting sources.
The strategy comes on the heels of pressure from Democratic rivals seeking the White House bid who have darted to the ex-secretary of state's left on climate change. It also comes after billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer prodded candidates Friday to offer detailed plans to get at least half of the nation's power from energy sources that don't emit greenhouse gases.
Shooting for that 50 percent mark underscores the Steyer's rising profile in the Democratic politics along with how central climate change has become for the party as a potential wedge issue with Republicans — only one GOP candidate so far has endorsed scientists' findings that humans are largely the cause of a warming planet.
"Today, Hillary Clinton emerged as a strong leader in solving the climate crisis and ensuring our country's economic security. Clinton laid out an ambitious framework to put our nation on a path to a clean energy economy that will create millions of jobs — and in the coming months we look forward to hearing more details about her proposals to tackle climate change," Steyer said in a statement through his super PAC, NextGen Climate Action.
Steyer already has hosted a fundraiser for Clinton. He hasn't yet said publicly how much he wants to spend in 2016, though it's expected to surpass the $57 million Steyer spent on the 2014 election. Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and ex-Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley have competed for a slice of the liberal environmental base that was a key voting bloc for President Obama in part by touting climate and energy policies sought by the Democratic Party's progressive wing.
Progressives have continued to press Clinton for more details about her climate strategy and have been wary of her credentials, citing her resistance to comment on whether she'd OK the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline. Clinton has said she doesn't think it would be proper to comment on the Canada-to-Texas project because she presided over its application while at Foggy Bottom.
Clinton's team said she would "make it a top priority to fight efforts to roll back the Clean Power Plan," the signature Obama administration climate regulation that's due to be finalized this summer. A growing number of states have signaled they won't comply with the regulation, which seeks to limit carbon emissions from power plants, and it's been in congressional Republican crosshairs for months.
The Clinton campaign also said it would prioritize investment in electric transmission infrastructure, push to extend clean energy tax credits while making them "more cost effective," and try to link up half a billion homes with solar power by the end of a prospective first term, increasing total solar capacity by 700 percent, up to 140 gigawatts.
The strategy also calls for increasing renewable energy production on federal land and expanding clean energy investment in rural communities.
Clinton also looked to shore up support from the Democratic Party's centrists by saying any climate push should include a plan for ensuring coal communities don't fall by the wayside — a plan for which the campaign said would come at a later date. Much of the opposition to Obama's climate agenda comes from coal-heavy states, as they say regulations will put people out of business.
Other parts of Clinton's energy platform will be coming in the ensuing month, her team said. Plans for updating energy infrastructure, reducing global oil consumption and for pursuing "safe and responsible production" of fossil fuels are on the docket.