1. Strong International Climate Treaty
The climate treaty reached in Paris in December, 2015 is inadequate to address the climate change crisis. The 195 nations involved pledged to reduce greenhouse gases. The pledges are not mandatory, however. The treaty does not require the phase out of fossil fuels, and it delays higher aid levels for poorer nations until 2025.
We need legally binding commitments for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2020 and a 95% reduction by 2030 over 1990 levels.
2. Economic Policy For A Safer Climate
Enact a Fee & Dividend system on fossil fuels to enable the free market to include the environmental costs of their extraction and use. These fees shall be applied as far upstream as possible, either when fuel passes from extraction to refining, distribution or consumption; or when it first enters the United States’ jurisdiction.
The carbon fee will initially be small, a dime per kilogram of carbon, to avoid creating a shock to the economy. The fee will be increased by 10% each year that global atmospheric carbon dioxide content is greater than 350 ppm, decreased 10% each year it’s less than 300 ppm, and repealed entirely when it falls below 250 ppm.
Although imported fossil fuel has no more impact on global climate change than domestic, importing petroleum and natural gas has a catastrophic impact on American foreign policy and the American economy.
We will enact this same fee on imported fossil fuels a second time to give the free market an incentive to wean America off foreign oil and gas.
There will be elimination of subsidies for fossil fuels, nuclear power, biomass and waste incineration and biofuels.
We must also acknowledge that the bulk of our military budget is, in fact, an indirect subsidy for oil & gas corporations.
To prevent perverse incentives arising from higher carbon prices, the Green Party mandates clean fuels in addition to pricing carbon. Otherwise dirty energy sources like nuclear power, biomass and biofuels that are not subject to carbon pricing will become economically competitive.
3. Repay Our Climate Debt
Pay for adaptation to climate change in countries with less responsibility for climate change.
Provide a carbon neutral development path for those countries that can no longer be permitted to develop in the same way we did—by burning cheap fossil fuels.
4. More Efficiency And Conservation
Adopt energy efficiency standards that reduce energy demand economy-wide by 50% over the next 20–30 years. The U.S. can make massive reductions in its energy use through a combination of conservation and efficiency measures.
We don’t actually need any additional power. Instead, we can and should reduce our consumption of power.
Build an efficient, low cost public transportation system. The best incentive we can provide to live closer to work and reduce the use of private vehicles is to make the alternative inexpensive and convenient to use.
Adopt a national zero waste policy. The less we consume and throw away, the less we will need to produce and replace.
5. Clean, Green Energy and Jobs
Create an inclusive program to train workers for the new, clean energy economy. Focusing on both the environment and social justice, prioritize the creation of green jobs in communities of color and low-income communities.
Transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 using wind, solar, ocean, small-scale hydro, and geothermal power.
End the use of nuclear power. Nuclear energy is massively polluting, dangerous, financially risky, expensive and slow to implement. Our money is better spent on wind, solar, geothermal, conservation and small-scale hydroelectric.
Stop “dirty clean energy.” Many of the “solutions” offered in climate legislation aren’t real solutions. Biomass incineration (trees, crops, construction debris and certain types of waste), landfill gas and many types of biofuels will dump massive quantities of toxic pollutants into the air and water.
Some of these energy sources produce more greenhouse gas emissions than coal. Natural gas is primarily methane, which is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. Consequently, when pipeline leakage is considered, the clean-burning characteristics of natural gas can be lost, resulting in a fuel with climate impacts as bad as coal.
Biomass and biofuels will also increase deforestation, contributing to more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
6. Regenerative Agriculture
End industrialized agriculture methods, including monocropping, reliance on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and the use of confined animal operations, all of which are high-order contributors to atmospheric greenhouse gases.
Convert our food producing systems to small-scale organic, regenerative agriculture (agroecology) systems to restore soil health, sequester carbon, foster biodiversity, discourage the currently unsustainable level of meat consumption, and secure robust ecosystem services for a sustainable future.
Replace subsidization of industrially produced agricultural products with support for small producers employing organic, regenerative agricultural methods.
Localize food distribution systems to minimize waste, build rural communities, and eliminate reliance on fossil fuels.
7. Carbon Sequestration Using Ecological Restoration
To stabilize the climate, limiting emissions is not enough; carbon must be removed from the atmosphere and sequestered in the ground.
Ecological restoration is a valuable tool to achieve this and it will increase the quality of living for all. When forests, grasslands, and farmlands are restored, they act as carbon sinks and improve the health of the soil.
We could create a federal program under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for carbon sequestration to fund local public initiatives that: Plant trees, reforest and afforest public lands
Revegetate grasslands with native species to prevent desertification and improve climate resilience. Encourage the use of regenerative agricultural techniques
Restore ecosystems on privately-owned lands by providing incentives to landowners.
Sources: Green Party