This paper demonstrates a next-generation high-energy, eye-safe light detection and ranging (LIDAR) transmitter for the Active Sensing of CO2 Emissions over Nights, Days, and Seasons (ASCENDS) mission. The system design is based on an advanced eye-safe, polarization-maintaining (PM) master oscillator-power amplifier (MOPA) LIDAR transmitter platform currently under development at Fibertek. This platform consists of a narrow linewidth (400 Hz – 1MHz) and highly stable seed laser, a flexible and reconfigurable pulse generator, and multiple stages of PM Erbium (Er)-doped fiber amplifiers (EDFAs) with increasing mode-field area. Using this architecture, we have demonstrated more than 20W continuous wave (CW) at 1571nm, up to 475 μJ energy per pulse at 1572 nm, and up to 250 μJ energy per pulse at 1529 nm wavelength with 1.5 μs pulsewidth and 10 kHz repetition rate. The output beams at the highest energy levels are diffraction limited, and the polarization extinction ratio (PER) is ~17dB. The optical efficiency is about 36% at CW operation and the optical-to-optical conversion efficiency is ~17% with respect to total pump power when the laser is in pulse operation mode. We also demonstrate a comparable optical efficiency (30%) with CW operation using radiationharden Er-doped gain fiber.