Green Party Calls for National Climate Action Plan
October 1, 2012 in Ecological Wisdom & the Environment
From the Green Party of New York State:
The Green Party of New York today helped coordinate a nationwide day of action around the country to call for action around climate change. A copy of the plan is at www.gpnys.org, as well as below.
In NYS, Green Party events were organized in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Syracuse and Albany. The day was capped with a nationwide Virtual Town Hall meeting with Green Presidential Jill Stein (7 PM EST, livestream.com/greenpartyus), who took questions from participants across the country. The Town Hall was moderated by Colin Beavan, who is running for Congress on the Green line in Brooklyn . Beavan is best known for book and DVD as No Impact Man. Climate change activist Bill McKibben provided an overview of the issue.
The Green Party called for immediate action by Congress and the President to adopt a Climate Action Plan to transition to a carbon free economy by 2025.
“Taking action on climate change now is a win-win. Investment in clean, renewable energy helps the environment, improves the quality of life for average Americans, and is the basis for a job creation boom to put the 25 million plus unemployed back to work,” said Peter LaVenia, Green Party candidate for State Senate from Albany
“And once we move to a renewable energy system, our energy costs will be slashed forever, allowing us to invest in higher wages, better schools, and affordable housing,” he added.
The Climate Action Plan is part of the Green New Deal plan for full employment and economic rights.
Green Party candidates participating in Climate Action Change events today included: Colia Clark (U.S. Senate, NY), Joseph Diaferia (U. S Congress, CD16 Bronx-Westchester), Thomas Siracuse (NY State Senate, SD29 Manhattan-Bronx), Carl Lundgren (NY State Senate, SD34 Bronx-Westchester), Patrick Dwyer (NY State Assembly, AD46 Brooklyn) Daniel Zuger (NY State Assembly, AD85 Bronx).; Ursula Rozum, (Congress, Central NY, 24th CD), Peter LaVenia (State Senate 44th District), and Colin Beavan (Congress, 8th CD Brooklyn).
“The Climate Action Plan is part of the Green New Deal plan for full employment and economic rights,” added Ursula Rozum. Green Party congressional candidate in Syracuse. “The Republicans are climate change deniers while the Democrats are climate change evaders. Both ignore this massive problem at their recent conventions. As climate change disruption becomes more severe, it is time to end the partisan gridlock and debate in Congress and take action. We have the technological ability to move to a carbon free, clean energy system. What we have lacked — and which the Green Party has — is the political will and leadership.”
“Solutions to the climate crisis are our best hope for building a much more humane economic system —one that closes deep inequalities, generates plentiful, dignified work and radically reins in corporate power,” added Rozum.
Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for President, points out that “President Obama has adopted the ‘Drill, Baby, Drill’ platform of the Republican Party. He has embraced the energy industry position that our public lands and our environment should be sacrificed for the goal of increasing domestic production. This spin ignores the fact that our most pressing problem isn’t foreign oil — it’s what fossil fuels, both foreign and domestic, are doing to our planet. The President’s ‘all of the above’ approach is an alarming denial of the climate emergency we face and the urgent need to substantially reduce the amount of carbon we exhaust into the atmosphere.”
The Climate Action Plan lays out a number of steps to transition to a carbon free economy.
An annual fund of $300 billion for climate action would be created through a combination of taxes on the windfall profits of fossil fuel companies, major cuts in the military budget, a fee on carbon emissions, an end to subsidies on fossil fuels and nukes, and an energy retrofit program funded through on-bill financing from utility companies.
The Climate Action fund would help with investments in clean renewable energy (wind, solar, geothermal, tidal), mass transit and organic agriculture. The Greens would transfer funds from roads to mass transit, bicycles and pedestrian access.
The Green Party would also shut down all coal, fossil fuels and nuclear plants with the 2025. It opposes the hydrofracking of natural gas not only due to the water problems in create but because it is just another fossil fuel that contributes to global warming. Rather than find new fossil fuels, it believes the 80% of the present supplies must not be converted to greenhouse gases.
The Green Party would prevent oil drilling off shore and in the Artic and halt the Keystone natural gas pipeline. It would speed up the implementation of the new fuel mileage standards recently announced by EPA, and amend environmental review laws to focus on the impact on climate change.
Green Party Climate Action Plan
Climate change is the gravest environmental, social and economic peril that humanity has ever met. Across the world, it is causing vanishing polar ice, melting glaciers, growing deserts, stronger storms, rising oceans, less biodiversity, deepening droughts, as well as more disease, hunger, strife and human misery.
The Green Party support a strong international climate treaty under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The United States must do far better than the Obama administration offer in Copenhagen to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4% below 1990 levels. The Greens support at least a 40% worldwide reduction by 2020 and 95% reduction by 2050, from 1990 levels. The U.S. should help pay for adaptation to climate change in countries with less responsibility for climate change. (http://www.gp.org/committees/platform/2012/ecological-sustainability.php# ClimateChange)
A Zero Carbon US Economy by 2025.
The Green Party supports the adoption of an industrial policy/plan for a zero carbon US economy by 2025.
The Greens support creating an annual fund of $300 billion for climate action, including funding clean renewable energy, which would be created through a combination of taxes on the windfall profits of fossil fuel companies, major cuts in the military budget, a fee on carbon emissions, an end to subsidies on fossil fuels and nukes, and an energy retrofit program funded through on bill financing from utility companies. The fund would help with investments in clean renewable energy (wind, solar, geothermal, tidal), mass transit and organic agriculture. The Greens would transfer funds from roads to mass transit, bicycles and pedestrian access.
The Green Party would also shut down all coal, fossil fuels and nuclear plants by 2025, and opposes the construction of any new such plants (including garbage incineration.). Rather than exploring for new fossil fuels, it believes the 80% of the present supplies must not be converted to greenhouse gases. The industrial energy plan should seek public control or ownership of existing fossil fuel supplies.
The Greens support a ban on mountaintop removal coal mining. It opposes the hydrofracking of natural gas not only due to the water problems it creates but because it is just another fossil fuel that contributes to global warming. It opposes the constructions of Keystone and other tar sands and natural gas pipelines. The Green Party opposes oil drilling off shore, on public lands, under the Great Lakes or in the Arctic .
The Green Party would speed up the implementation of the new fuel mileage standards recently announced by EPA, and amend environmental review laws to focus on the impact on climate change.
It supports the adoption of a zero waste policy for garbage. Minimizing waste would reduce greenhouse gas emissions in sectors that together represent 36.7% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. (www.zerowarming.org). Greens would end fossil fuels for plastic bags, packaging and disposable products.
Chemical and industrial agriculture produces 35-50% of climate destabilizing greenhouse gases. Localized, organic food production and distribution reduce fossil fuel usage and enriches soil that sequesters more carbon dioxide. We should reduce methane, nitrous oxide and other greenhouse gases by rapidly phasing out confined animal feeding operations, and encouraging a reduction in meat consumption.
$300 Billion a Year for a Climate Action / Green Energy Transition Fund.
Estimates of the annual investments needed to move to a carbon-free economy range from several hundred billion to a trillion dollars annually – less than what Congress spent to bail out Wall Street in recent years. Much of this funding will come moving investment in the private sector from coal, oil, gas and nuclear plants to clean renewable energy sources that will greatly reduce our long term energy costs, helping to strengthen the economy.
To help facilitate this transition to a clean green carbon-free energy system, the Green Party supports the establishment of a Climate Action / Green Energy Transition Fund. The fund would be part of the New Green Deal effort to put Americans to work and improve quality of life (e.g., healthier foods, improved mass transit, lower energy costs over time, cleaner environment).
Listed below are several specific funding proposals for such a fund. Additional funds can also be raised through a progressive income tax surcharge on wealthy Americans (e.g., not extending the Bush tax cuts) and imposing a tiny anti-speculative financial transaction tax ($150 billion a year) on Wall Street.
1. $25 – 50 Billion from a Windfall Excess Profit Tax on Fossil Fuel Companies
The top five oil companies had $137 billion in profits in 2011 (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/02/08/421061/big-oil-higher-prices-record-profits-less-oil/)
2. $150 billion cut in military budget.
Our present “formal” military budget is $686 billion annually, closer to a trillion if include all true costs (nuclear weapons in the Energy Dept., annual interest payments for costs of prior wars, etc.). The Green Party supports far deeper cuts (e.g., $350 billion plus) but some of those funds should be invested in other domestic programs (e.g., education, housing). The growing impact of climate change is one of the greatest threats to our national security. The military is also one of the greatest contributors to the carbon footprint. Plus a carbon-free economy eliminates the need for war for oil. More than $100 billion can be raised through eliminating waste that has already been identified; tens of billions would be saved by closing some if not all of the 700 plus US military bases in more than 100 countries.
3. $15 – 20 billion from ending subsidies on fossil fuels, ethanol and nukes.
Estimates of annual fossil fuel subsidies range from $10 billion to $52 billion annually, (http://priceofoil.org/fossil-fuel-subsidies/). Estimated direct subsidies for nuclear power is $2.5 billion, with $6 billion for biofuels / ethanol (http://www.eia.gov/analysis/requests/subsidy/). The Greens would also end other nuclear subsides such as Price-Anderson insurance caps, and federal loan guarantees for construction.
4. Carbon fee. $50 billion
A carbon tax could generate $1.5 trillion over a decade (MIT Global Change Institute http://bit.ly/NWEcxX.) A carbon tax is a direct tax on the carbon content of fossil fuels. The carbon fee would be applied as far upstream as possible. A carbon tax uses the market to shift investments away from fossil fuels. The cap-and-trade system in the House Markey-Waxman bill was too weak and ineffective. 50% of the $100 billion raised would be directly rebated to households with incomes less than $200,000. The other could be rebated in the form of a voucher to purchase energy saving investments; the voucher could be transferable.
5. $20 billion for energy retrofit program raised through on bill financing on utility bills
We should energy retrofit up to 30 million homes in the US over 5 years. Capital costs would be fronted by utility companies through on-bill financing, with it being paid off from the savings from lower energy bills (e.g., weatherization, solar hot water and thermal, boiler upgrades, etc.). The investment is recaptured in utility bills over time, reflecting the energy savings. Based on Green Jobs, Green Homes model in New York State . (http://www.cwfny.org/issues/green-jobs/).