A Darker Shade of Green
Jill Stein and her party call for a 40% cut in U.S. carbon emissions in the next four years.
Although the Green Party doesn’t seem to be pulling a lot of voters at this point, it seems only fair to include them in the roundup of the parties’ environmental positions. As you could infer from the name, the Green Party puts a very high priority on environmental quality. Interestingly, the current party platform is dated 2014, unlike other parties that key their platform updates to the presidential election cycle. Jill Stein, the Party’s presidential candidate, has her own platform, with a more abbreviated but similar set of proposals.
Climate Change Goals. The Green Party platform calls climate change “the gravest environmental, social and economic peril that humanity has ever met.” The party calls for a 40% reduction by 2020 and a 95% reduction by 2050, compared with 1990 levels. Just to gauge the stringency of these goals, consider that California’s 2020 goal is a return to 1990 levels, while California’s 2050 goal is an 80% reduction. Stein’s website calls for a “WWII-scale national mobilization” to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2030. In the post-war period, defense spending has been 4-8% of GDP, while during World War II it peaked a bit below 40%.
CO2 Reduction. The Green Party platform also supports a fee & dividend program. The fee would “initially be small, a dime per kilogram,” to avoid price shocks. That’s 4.5 cents per pound or $90/ton, which is on the higher end of the spectrum of current economic thought but by not without support. The amount of the fee is tied to global CO2 levels, however, so it could go up fairly quickly. To discourage reliance on foreign sources of fossil fuels, the fee for them would be doubled. The party also favors the use of feed-in tariffs to incentivize renewables and a number of other, complementary measures.
Nuclear Energy. The Green Party calls for retiring nuclear reactors in no more than five years. Nuclear power provides about 20% of U.S. electricity. Existing nuclear waste should be stored securely above ground and monitored constantly.
Preserving Nature. The Green Party supports the Convention on Biological Diversity, which the U.S. hasn’t signed because of concerns about erosion of intellectual property rights. Another proposal is to expand areas for wildlife habitat, while opposing any sale of national parks or forests.No drilling on federal lands or offshore.
Overall, many of those in the environmental field would agree with many of the individual proposals. But it would be harder to find researchers who would agree with feasibility of some of the deadlines and goals.
Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…READ more