The Green Party of the United States is urging party members and all Americans to organize and join various protests against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in the coming weeks, including a major demonstration in Washington, DC, on February 17.
President Obama rejected the initial application for the pipeline in January 2012 but is expected to approve the renewed application. The multi-billion-dollar Keystone XL would connect the tar-sands oil fields in Alberta, Canada (the world’s second biggest pool of extractable carbon) to refineries and seaports in the Gulf Coast.
Another proposed pipeline, Enbridge’s “Trailbreaker,” would carry Canadian tar-sands oil to the coast of Maine, which the Green Party also opposes. (See http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/eshope/opening_door_for_tar_sands_to.html).
“The Keystone XL pipeline poses a threat to the Ogallala Aquifer, a water source for many millions of people who live in Western and Midwestern states. Instead of extracting more fossil fuels and dumping more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, we should be mobilizing to curb climate disruption — the gravest environmental, social, and economic peril that humanity has ever faced. Climate disruption is causing vanishing polar ice, melting glaciers, growing deserts, more violent storms, rising oceans, less biodiversity, and deepening droughts, as well as more disease, hunger, strife, and human misery,” said Jill Stein, the Green Party’s 2012 nominee for President (http://www.jillstein.org).
Greens said that President Obama deserves praise for mentioning the threat of climate change in his second-term inaugural address, but added that these words are undermined by his boasts elsewhere about increasing domestic crude-oil production and opening up federal land to the oil and gas industry (http://www.businessinsider.com/domestic-energy-production-debate-2012-10). The President has also demanded deletion of the 2C goal (keeping the world’s average temperature from rising more than two degrees Centigrade) from international climate-change negotiations (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19161799) and pushed for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an international trade pact designed to serve corporate lobbies by overrriding environmental protections (http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=553).
James E. Hansen, climate-change scientist and Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has said that if the tar sands get extracted it’s “game over” for the climate (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/10/opinion/game-over-for-the-climate.html).
Green Party leaders said that the proposed seaport destinations indicate that the pipeline is for oil company profits rather than domestic energy and security. According to an independent study by the Cornell ILR Global Labor Institute, crude tar-sands oil sent to the Gulf Coast will be exported to Asia and won’t contribute to domestic energy independence (http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/globallaborinstitute/research/upload/GLI_KeystoneXL_Reportpdf.pdf).
Greens also noted that Northern Alberta is home to indigenous populations whose cultural traditions and livelihood are coming under attack because of the tar-sands operations.
The Green Party was the only national party to make action on climate change a focal point during the recent elections. The issue was not mentioned during the Obama-Romney debates. On October 31, 2012, Green presidential candidate Jill Stein was arrested in Texas for trying to deliver food and supplies to Keystone XL protesters.
The Green New Deal, promoted by Dr. Stein and vice-presidential nominee Cheri Honkala (http://www.jillstein.org/green_new_deal) and other Green candidates, would make a massive transformative investment in renewable clean energy, putting tens of millions of Americans back to work by building sustainable energy systems such as wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, and energy conservation and efficiency and by investing in mass transit and organic agriculture.
Greens have proposed an annual fund of several hundred billion dollars to finance the Green New Deal through major cuts in Pentagon spending, a carbon tax, holding fossil fuel companies financially responsible for climate change, an end to tax subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear, and higher taxes on the wealthy (e.g., a financial transaction tax).
“The Obama administration has continued the policies of the Bushes and Clinton-Gore in promoting the increased use of fossil fuels while blocking action both at home and internationally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Carl Romanelli, a member of the Green Party’s International Committee (http://www.gp.org/committees/intl).
“The bi-partisan drive to expand American use and dependence on fossil fuels has not only aggravated climate change and severe weather. Democratic and Republican politicians have also increased government support for severe, environmentally damaging extraction practices to obtain more fossil fuels. These include deep water oil drilling, which caused the BP oil disaster in the Gulf, mountaintop detonation mining for coal, and hydrofracking for natural gas. The Green Party would ban such practices and shut down all coal, fossil-fuel, and nuclear plants by 2025, including garbage incineration,” said Mr. Romanelli.
Greens said EPA regulation of carbon emissions from power plants would be insufficient if it only enabled a switch from coal to fracked gas for electric power generation, which would provide no overall greenhouse gas reductions when the production life cycle and not just smokestack emissions are factored in. Greens expressed concern that the Obama Administration may try to mollify climate activists by tightening power-plant emissions standards while also approving the Keystone XL in a political trade-off.
Green leaders challenged environmental and public interest organizations like the Sierra Club to stop allowing Democrats to take their support for granted while betraying promises and enacting pro-corporate agenda that endanger the environment, public health, and future generations. Greens said that the threat posed by climate change has made the emergence of the Green Party, which accepts no corporate money, an imperative for the 21st century.
“We have five times as much oil, coal, and gas available as climate scientists say the atmosphere can tolerate. So we must keep 80% of those reserves locked away safely underground to avoid a climate disaster. To ensure that this happens, America’s energy plan should seek full democratic control over existing fossil fuel supplies and infrastructure,” said Mark Dunlea, member of the Executive Committee of Green Party of New York.
“In light of the dominance of climate-change deniers and evaders in Congress, the Green Party urges President Obama not only to act once and for all to stop the pipelines but to use the full regulatory powers of EPA with respect to carbon emissions and other pollutants to unilaterally take the steps needed to curb climate change,” said Mr. Dunlea.
Green Party of the United States: press releases
“While Obama and Romney ignore global warming, Green presidential nominee Jill Stein and other Green candidates promote real solutions” (September 3, 2012)
“Green Party to Obama: Whether foreign or domestic, it’s time for America to cut oil and gas from our energy diet” (January 31, 2012)
Green Party Eco-Action Committee
“PA Greens Endorse Earth Day Protest at DEP [Dept. of Environmental Protection]”
Green Party of Pennsylvania press release, January 22, 2013
“Sign on statement: The urgency of climate change in the 2012 election”
Jill Stein for President 2012
“Obama Has Promoted An Anti-Climate Change Agenda”
By Mark Dunlea (Green Party of New York), OpEdNews, October 24, 2012
“Solve climate crisis to make economy humane”
By Ursula Rozum (2012 Green candidate for the U.S. House in New York), Syracuse Post Standard, April 22, 2012
“Beyond Fossil Fuels”
By Cecile Lawrence (2010 Green candidate for the U.S. Senate in New York), Green Papers, January 25, 2011
“Climate Change: An Information Statement of the American Meteorological Society”
August 20, 2012
“Green Party of Philadephia Joins Americans Against Fracking”
Green Party of Philadelphia press release, January 7, 2012
“Green Party of New York State comments on Hydrofracking”
Green Papers, January 22, 2013
“Framing in the context of fracking”
By Cecile Lawrence, Green Papers, August 29, 2012
“Bridge To Nowhere? NOAA Confirms High Methane Leakage Rate Up To 9% From Gas Fields, Gutting Climate Benefit”
By Joe Romm, ThinkProgress, January 2, 2013