In a move epitomizing his campaign’s often-questionable political strategy, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont released his climate change plan during the U.N. climate negotiations in Paris. What would normally have drawn immediate attention from climate politics reporters was ignored by the many who were in France covering the most important climate conference in history. To make matters worse, this was shortly before Christmas and New Year’s.

Now that the Christmas trees have been dragged to the curb, the mistletoe is being turned to mulch, and the champagne left in the fridge has gone flat, your correspondent has found the time to examine the plan from one of the Senate’s top climate hawks. It turns out to contain both exciting and frustrating elements: Sanders clearly understands and cares about climate change in all its particulars, and he has many shrewd ideas for addressing it. But he is still approaching the issue like a legislator rather than a president, and he doesn’t give any insight into how he would try to maximize climate progress through the powers of the presidency in the face of a hostile Congress.

Here are the highlights of what Sanders proposes to do

  • Pass a carbon tax. Sanders has introduced a bill in the Senate that would create a tax on greenhouse gas emissions, and his presidential platform calls for the same thing. Starting at a low level of $15 per metric ton of CO2 (or equivalent in methane) in 2017, the tax would gradually increase to $73 per ton of CO2e in 2035. This is exactly the approach recommended by economists both left and right. It would efficiently disincentivize carbon pollution without causing economic turmoil. Sanders’ proposal would return 80 percent of the tax revenue to taxpayers, with the remainder going to climate resilience infrastructure and community planning.
  • Ban offshore drilling. Environmentalists view permitting more offshore drilling as one of the biggest mistakes of the Obama administration. Not only does oil and gas extraction threaten the climate, but offshore drilling in particular leads to hard-to-clean-up spills, which can devastate marine life and coastal ecosystems. Sanders calls for disallowing offshore exploration completely.
  • Ban fossil fuel extraction on public lands. Now that Keystone XL has been rejected, climate hawks say this is their top priority for 2016. By selling leases to private companies to drill and mine for oil, gas, and coal on public land, often at below-market rates, the federal government is subsidizing fossil fuels. Hillary Clinton wants to continue the leasing but maybe at higher rates. Sanders has introduced a bill in Congress to ban fossil fuel leasing on public lands going forward, and he echoes that call in his campaign climate plan.
  • Increase fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks to 65 miles per gallon by 2025. President Obama gets props for raising fuel economy standards to 54 mph mpg by 2025, but that still leaves us behind most of Europe and other wealthy nations. Sanders would raise them to a more competitive level.
  • Build more mass transit and high-speed rail. Recognizing that less energy-intensive transportation is essential to sustainability, Sanders would try to start closing the gap between the U.S. and all other major economic powers by increasing the availability and speed of subways, buses, and inter-city trains.
  • Invest in renewables. Sanders has proposed a host of bills to promote clean energy and create jobs in that sector, including permanent extension of tax credits for renewable energy generation, and for buying hybrid and electric vehicles. His climate plan makes the same calls.
  • Eliminate fossil fuel subsidies from the tax code. Oil, gas, and coal companies benefit from a bunch of outdated, market-distorting production subsidies and tax credits, worth billions of dollars each year. Sanders would get rid of them.

What’s missing from Sanders’ plan

Many of the above proposals would require bills to be passed by Congress. But with Republicans likely holding the House of Representatives on lockdown until 2023 because of gerrymandering, there is no reason to expect Congress would pass anything Sanders proposes.

Sanders’ inclination to issue legislative policy proposals is normal. Republican presidential candidates are laying out massive plans to dramatically cut rich peoples’ taxes, eviscerate regulations, and abolish entire cabinet agencies, even though they’d have a hard time getting them through a Senate where Democrats are certain to at least hold enough seats to mount a filibuster. All presidential candidates lay out big visions that they wouldn’t have the power to enact themselves, but that signal where they stand ideologically. That’s useful because it tells voters what their priorities and goals are.