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Green Party: Approaching climate change ‘point of no return’ requires defeat of tar sands pipeline and the Trans-Pacific Partnership

green party earthflowerFrom the Green Party of the United States:

WASHINGTON — Green Party leaders identified two looming obstacles to U.S. action against the global climate crisis: President Obama’s likely surrender to Big Oil on the proposed tar sands pipelines and possible enactment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade pact for which the President is pressing Congress for fast-track signing authority.

A report released on Sept. 27 by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) established a target level for curbing greenhouse gas emissions and preventing a global climate catastrophe (http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WGI-AR5_SPMPressRelease.pdf).

The IPCC’s assessment confirms the human factor in climate change but asserts that it’s still possible within the next few years to avert the crisis, which is already evident in rapid ice melts and rising average global temperatures and sea levels.

Greens said that, in light of the IPCC report, defeating the TPP and the tar sands pipelines should be at the top of the list of actions to reduce emissions and curb climate change.

“President Obama’s demand for passage of the TPP and predicted approval for the Keystone XL threaten to undo the very modest progress his administration has made against curbing climate change,” said Audrey Clement, co-chair of the Green Party’s Ecoaction Committee and Green candidate for the Arlington County Board in Virginia (http://audreyclement.org). “The TPP would allow an unelected trade authority to overturn environmental, labor, food-safety and other public-health protections in participating nations, including the U.S.”

The TPP was never discussed by Barack Obama and Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential race. Both candidates supported the deal, while Green presidential nominee Jill Stein sharply criticized the TPP and the secrecy with which the Obama Administration negotiated it.

While the tar sands pipelines from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast and Maine have been promoted as a way to meet domestic U.S. energy needs and create jobs, the destinations at major shipping ports support claims that the Canadian oil will be shipped to foreign markets to enrich oil companies. (See “Pipe Dreams?”, Cornell University Global Labor Institute laborhttp://www.ilr.cornell.edu/globallaborinstitute/research/upload/GLI_KeystoneXL_Reportpdf.pdf)

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman defended the tar sands pipelines before the House Ways and Means Committee in July, when he criticized a proposed amendment to a European Union Fuel Quality Directive for a 6% reduction in gas and diesel emissions by 2020 and classification of bitumen as a high-emissions diesel. The amendment would discourage EU fuel suppliers from purchasing tar sands oil.

While environmental groups have called the amendment grossly inadequate, Mr. Froman, representing the Obama Administration, is seeking even weaker protections and promoting more energy industry influence in the secretive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. (See “Obama’s Top Official Pushing Tar Sands in Secret Trade Deal,” Common Dreams, Sept. 25,https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/09/25-3).

Greens called Mr. Froman’s actions a signal that President Obama will approve the tar sands pipelines, under pressure from corporate energy lobbies.

The Green Party has also called for a halt to offshore drilling (http://www.gp.org/index.php/newsroom/press-releases/details/4/620.html) and supports conversion of all U.S. power plants to 100% clean renewable energy (as in Germany) instead of recently proposed EPA rules that initially only affect new plants and rely on the unproven viability of carbon capture and sequestration (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/09/19/will-coal-survive-the-epas-new-carbon-rules). Green candidates have advocated the Green New Deal, a detailed plan to jumpstart the economy by creating millions of new jobs in conservation, new technologies, and other projects to curb the advance of climate change (http://www.jillstein.org/green_new_deal).

See also:

“Green Party challenges US State Dept. on conflict of interest in consultant’s environmental impact statement for Keystone XL pipeline”
Green Party of the United States press release, April 2, 2013
http://www.gp.org/index.php/newsroom/press-releases/details/4/604.html

“Green Party of the United States signs on to international Green statement against Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, calling secretly negotiated pact a threat to US jobs and the environment”
Green Party of the United States press release, October 1, 2012
http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=553

“The pipeline to hell: How the Keystone XL pipeline can affect climate change”
By Barbara Trypaluk, Green Party of New York State, Green Pages, July 18, 2013 (Summer 2013 issue)
http://gp.org/greenpages-blog/?p=3365

Green Papers: Articles on Climate Change
http://www.greenpapers.net/?cat=46

“TPP report raises serious questions about inequality and trade policy”
Richard McIntyre, U.S. Trade Representative in the Green Shadow Cabinet, September 26, 2013
http://greenshadowcabinet.us/statements/comment-tpp-report-raises-serious-questions-about-inequality-and-trade-policy

“Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis”
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: Twelfth Session of Working Group I, September 23-26, 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden
http://www.climatechange2013.org
http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WGIAR5-SPM_Approved27Sep2013.pdf

Flush the TPP!
http://www.flushthetpp.org

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Dave Schwab

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