Obama’s Carbon Deal Won’t Avoid Climate Change

Stein Calls for 100% Clean Energy by 2030

Jill Stein, the presumptive Green Party nominee for President, said that the proposed deal with Mexico and Canada to go to 50% carbon-free electricity from 2025 is inadequate to meet the climate goals set in Paris.

In Paris, the US agreed with the 130 developing countries that to try to avoid catastrophic climate change the goal to cap global warming needed to be reduced from 2 degrees Celsius to 1.5 degrees. To reach the latter goal requires annual reduction in carbon emissions of 7 to 9%.

Stein’s Green New Deal would transition to 100% clean energy for everything – not just electricity – by 2030 while creating 20 million jobs and avoiding hundreds of thousands of annual “excess deaths” from air pollution.

“Obama’s proposals are a step in the right direction but way too little. We need an emergency national mobilization similar to what our country did after Pearl Harbor at the outset of WWII,” stated Stein.

Stein supports a Just Transition to guarantee new jobs to existing workers in the fossil fuel, while ensuring that those most impacted by climate change (e.g., low-income communities) benefit from the transition to renewable energy. She advocates “energy democracy” with more community and public ownership of the energy system.

Stein noted that electricity production only accounts for a fraction (30%) of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Her plan to move to 100% clean energy by 2030 would reduce energy use as much as possible through conservation and efficiency, and  convert all energy uses (including transportation) to electricity.

Stein supports a major effort to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings through stricter building codes such as requiring new buildings to be  carbon free and mandatory energy retrofits for existing buildings. She advocates a major investment in mass transit and the elimination of fossil fuel vehicles. She supports a sustainable agriculture system that eliminates fossil fuel-based fertilizer and pesticides and promotes regeneration of soils which help pull carbon out of the atmosphere. 

Stein faulted Obama for counting nuclear power as a clean energy source, citing the high environmental and financial costs, the dangers from accidents, and the creation of radioactive wastes that have to be stored for tens of thousands of years (far longer than any human society has ever existed). She also disagreed with Obama’s reliance on carbon storage, which so far has been an expensive pipe dream.

Stein called upon Obama to immediately halt the extraction of all fossil fuels, including natural gas, from public lands. Stein rejects natural gas a bridge fuels, noting that methane is 80 times more potent short term as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Stein supports the immediate halt to any new investments in fossil fuels and has long supported a ban on fracking of natural gas.

Stein supports a carbon fee and dividend program, which was rejected last week by the Democratic Party platform committee.

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