MASSACHUSETTS—(ENEWSPF)—August 3, 2015. Jill Stein, who is seeking the Green Party nomination for President, said today that Obama’s Clean Power Plan is a small step in the right direction, but falls drastically short of what is needed to avoid catastrophic consequences of climate change that are now likely in our lifetimes.
“It’s hard to cheer for a plan that takes a small step forward on clean electricity, while the President is taking giant leaps backward, accelerating climate catastrophe at the very same time. There is a huge cognitive disconnect in the President’s move to establish his climate legacy by trimming coal pollution while issuing permits for Arctic drilling that spell climate disaster, and quietly facilitating the Enbridge Pipeline that enables the continuing sales of deadly tar sands oil, described as “game over” for the climate. In addition, he has massively escalated fracking, expanded offshore oil drilling, and opened Federal lands to plunder for fossil fuels.”
Obama’s plan would walk back the rate of emissions reductions already underway. Thanks to vigorous action in frontline communities, coal plants are already closing at a rate that’s close to eliminating all coal powered electricity by 2030. Obama’s plan would leap backwards, allowing 27% of electricity to still be produced by coal at that time.
In contrast to the window dressing of Obama’s clean energy proposal, Stein’s Green New Deal would provide a solution as big as the unfolding climate crisis demands, achieving 100% green energy by 2030. The plan includes rapidly phasing out polluting and dangerous forms of energy that are mischaracterized as “renewable” or “clean” under Obama’s plan, including fracking, nuclear power, waste incineration and biomass.
The Green New Deal jump-starts a true economic recovery by creating 20 million jobs that meet both the climate emergency and human needs. This includes jobs in clean renewable energy, conservation, ecosystem restoration, sustainable local agriculture, and public transportation; as well as jobs meeting critical needs for affordable housing, education, and social services including child care, elder care, after school. The jobs would come through small businesses, worker and community cooperatives, and public works.
The Green New Deal would be funded in part by short term savings in health care, thanks to the prevention of asthma, heart attacks, strokes, cancer and other illnesses caused by fossil fuel pollution, industrial food and sedentary transportation that underlie the bulk of the chronic disease burden, which account for an estimated 75% of the $3 trillion in annual U.S. health care costs. Additional funds would come from a sales tax on financial transactions, one of the only economic sectors not currently paying a sales tax, and from cutting the bloated military expenditures that underlie and enable the disastrous military misadventures of the past 15 years that have made us less secure, not more secure.
Stein also supports a progressive carbon tax to generate additional revenue to support the transition to clean energy.
“My Green New Deal creates deep system change, moving from the greed and exploitation of corporate capitalism to a human-centered economy that puts people, planet and peace over profit. This plan will end unemployment and poverty; avert climate catastrophe; build a sustainable, just economy; and recognize the dignity and human rights of everyone in our society and our world,” said Stein.