Buttigieg Compares Climate Fight to American Revolution

Proposed $1.5 trillion climate plan

South Bend, Ind., mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg compared the fight against climate change to such pivotal moments in American history as the American Revolution and the civil rights movement.

"I actually think this is one of those moments that, like many moments in American history, really pivotal ones like maybe the American Revolution itself, the struggle for civil rights, it may be that of all the things we are doing right now, the thing we are going to be remembered for will boil down to where we were on this issue," Buttigieg said during MSNBC's climate forum on Friday.

The climate debate has become a favorite topic among the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. MSNBC's two-day forum was the second televised climate forum to take place in September. CNN aired a seven-hour forum with 10 candidates on September 4.

Candidates have proposed sweeping environmental plans, most notably Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) $16 trillion Green New Deal. Buttigieg's own climate plan is estimated to cost $1.5 trillion.

At the MSNBC forum, host Ali Velshi asked Buttigieg to explain why his climate agenda would cost less than his competitors' plans.

"Your plan is actually smaller than a lot of your competitors in terms of the math in terms of the money you're allocating for it," Velshi said. "Talk to me about that, it's many times smaller than some of your competitors."

Buttigieg said his approach is ambitious and should not be measured by how much it costs but by the results it will produce.

"It depends whether you measure the ambition of a plan by how much money it is taxing and pumping through the U.S. Treasury in order to solve the problem versus measuring it based on the outcomes," Buttigieg said. "And maybe it is just my experience as a mayor because a lot of times we've been in situations where people measure what we were doing by how much we were putting in, in terms of money. And I was much more focused on how much we were getting out in terms of results."

Buttigieg has averaged less than 6 percent in recent polls, according to RealClearPolitics.