2010 Platform: Ecological Sustainability
The human community is an
element of the Earth community, not the other way around. All human
endeavors are situated within the dynamics of the biosphere. If we wish
to have sustainable institutions and enterprises, they must fit well
with the processes of the Earth. The ideology of industrialism, in both
capitalist and communist countries, insists that modern society lives
on top of nature and should rightly use and despoil the rest of the
natural world as we desire - because any loss of the ecosystems is
merely an "externality" in economic thought and because any problems
can be addressed later by a technological fix. We are now living
through the painful consequences of that arrogant, ignorant
perspective. Many of our children suffer from accumulations of mercury
and other toxins in their neurological systems, environmentally related
cancer is on the rise, and our air and water are increasingly polluted.
Meanwhile, our ecosystems are being compromised by the spreading
presence of genetically engineered organisms.
Our houses and buildings,
manufacturing processes, and industrial agriculture were all designed
with the assumption of an endless supply of cheap and readily available
fossil fuels. Pollution and despoiling the land were not part of the
thinking. The Green Party, however, is optimistic about the
alternatives that now exist and that could be encouraged through tax
policy and the market incentives of fuel efficiency. We also challenge
the grip of the oil, automotive, and automobile insurance industries
that have managed to block or roll back progress in public mass
transit. The gutting of subsidies for the railroads has meant not only
fewer passenger routes but also the addition of thousands of large
freight trucks on our highways, decreasing public safety and increasing
pollution. We are committed to extending the greening of waste
management by encouraging the spread of such practices as reduce,
recycle. We strongly oppose the recent
attempts to roll back the federal environmental protection laws that
safeguard our air, water, and soil.
The health of the life-support
systems - the ecosystems on our continent - is of paramount importance.
Inherent in the efficient dynamics of those ecosystems is a vital
profusion of biodiversity. Therefore, the Greens call for a halt to the
destruction of habitats, which are being sacrificed to unqualified
economic expansion. We humans have a moral responsibility to all
of our relations, many of which are facing extinction because we
carelessly and permanently halt their long evolutionary journey.
The Green Party also supports
the spread of organic agriculture and the careful tending of our
nation's precious remaining topsoil. We support planetary efforts to
slow the ever-increasing numbers of humans pressuring the ecosystems,
and we especially support the reduction of consumption of the world's
raw materials by the industrialized Northern Hemisphere. We are
appalled by our country's withdrawal from serious efforts to limit
greenhouse gases that are contributing mightily to global climate
disruption. The Green Party strongly urges the United States to adopt
an actively responsible position in this crisis and to take significant
action to address the problem.
want to stop runaway climate change, by reducing greenhouse gas
least 40% by 2020 and 95% by 2050, over 1990 levels.
Climate change is the gravest environmental, social and economic peril
humanity has ever met. Across the world, it is causing vanishing polar
melting glaciers, growing deserts, stronger storms, rising oceans, less
biodiversity, deepening droughts, as well as more disease, hunger,
strife and human
misery. It is a tragedy unfolding in slow motion. Greenhouse
gases warm the Earth by trapping heat in the atmosphere. Much of that
heat is initially absorbed by the ocean, creating roughly a 30-year
the impact of that heat at the surface of the planet. Practically
means that the melting glaciers and expanding deserts of 2009 were the
of greenhouse gases dumped into the atmosphere in the late 1970s, when
level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was below 350 parts per
(ppm). To return to a safe level of greenhouse gases in Earth's
must reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases as quickly as possible to
that existed before 1980, to 350ppm carbon dioxide.
Greens support science-based policies to curb climate change. We
ambitious plan to make drastic changes quickly to avert global
will expend maximum effort to preserve a planet friendly to life as we
it by curtailing greenhouse gas emissions and actively removing
gases from the atmosphere.
Strong International Climate Treaty
Support a strong international climate treaty under the auspices of
the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The United
do far better than its offer in Copenhagen to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions by 4% below 1990 levels. We should support at least a 40%
reduction by 2020 and 95%
reduction by 2050, over 1990 levels.
Economic Policy For A Safer Climate
- Establish carbon taxes on fossil fuels, to reflect the
cost of their extraction and use. Carbon taxes should be applied as far
upstream as possible, preferably when possession of the carbon-bearing
from extraction (for example, coal mine; oil wellhead or tanker; gas
wellhead) to the next entity in the supply chain (for example, coal
utility; oil refiner or importer; natural gas pipeline). Offset
regressivity for lower income individuals by cutting income taxes
approaches. Carbon taxes are better than market-based policies because
they lead to
more predictable carbon pricing, are more transparent, take effect more
quickly, and do not enable profiteering by the financial industry.
- Eliminate subsidies for fossil fuels, nuclear power, biomass and
incineration, and biofuels. We must also acknowledge that the bulk of
our military budget is, in fact, an indirect subsidy for oil and gas
- Prevent perverse incentives arising from higher carbon prices. By
putting an increased price on carbon, all energy sources that do not
carbon price imposed look relatively more attractive: nuclear power,
biofuels are all in that category. Carbon pricing could easily result
deforestation to produce additional biofuels that have suddenly become
relatively cheap and economically attractive. In addition to pricing
carbon, we must mandate real clean solutions.
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
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
reductions in its energy use through a combination of conservation and
measures. We don't actually need any additional power. Instead, we can
reduce our consumption of power.
- Build an efficient, low cost public transportation system. The
incentive we can provide to live closer to work and reduce the use of
vehicles is to make the alternative inexpensive and convenient to use.
- Adopt a national zero waste policy. The less we consume and
the less we will need to produce and replace.
Clean, Green Energy And Jobs
- Create an inclusive program to train workers for the new, clean
Focusing on both the environment and social justice, prioritize the
creation of green jobs in communities of color and low income
- Adopt a clean energy portfolio standard that rapidly replaces
power sources with wind, solar, ocean, small-scale hydro, and
- End the use of nuclear power. Nuclear energy is massively
financially risky, expensive and slow to implement. Our money is better
spent on wind, solar, geothermal, conservation and small-scale
- 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, and 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.
Clean, Green Agriculture
- Convert U.S farm and ranchland to organic practices. Chemical
and industrial agriculture
produces 35-50% of climate destabilizing greenhouse gases.
- Switch to local food production and distribution. Localized,
organic food production
and distribution reduce fossil fuel usage and enriches soil that that
sequesters more carbon dioxide.
- Reduce methane, nitrous oxide and other greenhouse gases by
rapidly phasing out
confined animal feeding operations, and encouraging a reduction in meat
The United States has a
high-energy-consumption economy based mainly on fossil energy. The
extraction, refining, and
combustion of fossil fuels have proved extremely harmful to the
supplies are rapidly being depleted. Over the past century, the
of our civilization has become utterly dependent on plentiful oil,
natural gas: vast land, air, and sea transportation networks;
dependence on imported goods; industrialized food production dependent
and biocides; and sprawling, car-dependent neighborhoods and
Our electric grid depends on fossil fuels for two-thirds of its energy.
Dirty and dangerous energy sources have generated an unparalleled
the environment and human rights. In the U.S., low income
communities and communities of color bear the greatest burden of health
impacts due to
exposure to emissions from coal and gas-fired power plants. Native
communities have been devastated by uranium mining, and the people of
watch helplessly as their ancient mountains are destroyed for
coal-fired electricity. Regional
and global peaks in supply are driving up costs and threatening wars
(See separate section on catastrophic Climate Change from excess
Since 1859 when the first commercial oil well was drilled in
the global community has consumed about half what nature generated over
hundreds of millions of
years. Although coal is more abundant than oil, it is inherently
oil, is limited in terms of its use as a vehicle fuel, and demand is
skyrocketing globally for use in electricity generation. Natural Gas is
also in high
demand for power production and is ultimately finite. We must plan and
for the end of fossil fuels now, while we still have energy available
the cleaner, more sustainable energy infrastructure that we will soon
To simply substitute better energy sources in place of fossil fuels
the answer for two main reasons. First, there are no energy sources
(renewable or otherwise) capable of supplying energy as cheaply and in
as fossil fuels currently yield in the time that we need them to come
online. Second, we have designed and built our infrastructure to suit
unique characteristics of oil, natural gas, and coal.
The energy transition cannot be accomplished with a minor retrofit
existing energy infrastructure. Just as our fossil fuel economy differs
agrarian economy of 1800, the post-fossil fuel economy of 2050 will be
profoundly different from all that we are familiar with now. Changes
would occur if we wait for the price of fossil fuels to reflect
forcing society to adapt; however, lack of government planning will
result in a
transition that is chaotic, painful, destructive, and possibly
The Green Party advocates a rapid reduction in energy consumption
energy efficiency and a decisive transition away from fossil and
toward cleaner, renewable, local energy sources. Toward these goals, we
Encourage Conservation and a
Decrease in our Energy
Consumption,Institute National Energy Efficiency Standards.
With five percent of the world's population, U.S residents consume
twenty-six percent of the world's energy. Consumption of
electricity is almost nine times greater than the average for the rest
of the world.
These are not sustainable levels.
- The U.S. must retrofit its building
stock for energy efficiency. Most U.S. residents live in
homes that require heat during the winter, and most are inadequately
Buildings in the South require air conditioning during the summer. Fuel
shortages, power outages, and energy price hikes could bring not just
discomfort, but a
massive increase in mortality from cold and heat. Millions of buildings
must be super-insulated and, as much as possible, provided with
heat sources (passive solar, geothermal, or district heating).
- Energy efficiency standards similar to those in California must
adopted nationally. The energy efficiency standards adopted there in
the late 1970s have
resulted in overall electricity-use remaining flat over the past three
while the population has steadily increased. During the same time
electricity use in the rest of the U.S. has climbed along with
- There are many different ways to increase energy efficiency and
best path for one region of the country might differ from that of
will need concerted effort to increase efficiency in every sector of
Technologies exist that, if widely implemented, can result in huge
- Cogeneration and use of waste heat to generate electricity
should be encouraged.
- A carbon tax, which the Green Party supports, would serve as an
market incentive to increase efficiency.
Move Decisively to an Energy System
on Solar, Wind,
Marine, and other Cleaner Renewable Energy Sources.
The development of Earth-gentle, sustainable energy sources must be
cornerstone of any plan to reduce reliance on conventional fossil
fuels. The Green
Party advocates clean renewable energy sources such as solar, wind,
geothermal, marine-based, and other cleaner renewable sources as the
- Many other solutions being pushed, including nuclear power,
industrial-scale biofuels, and low-grade fossil fuels such as oil shale
and tar sands, create more problems than they solve.
- Further research with increased government support is needed
energy storage technologies, as well as new cheaper and non-toxic
materials and processes, and new geothermal and ocean power
- Policy tools to directly support the development of renewable
sources, such as Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and Feed-in
also be reviewed for effectiveness. In general, a feed-in tariff is
enacted by the government that requires the large electric utilities to
guarantee a price for the renewably-generated electricity fed into the
done right, such as in Germany, this policy appears to succeed in
- State-level financing policies like California's AB 811 can help
homeowners install expensive renewable energy where the county pays the
cost and the system is paid for via the homeowner's property taxes.
- Greens support voluntarily purchase of tradable renewable energy
certificates; however, voluntary approaches are not sufficient.
- Greens support research into advanced fuels when the purpose of
research is to develop a fuel that in its full cycle does not create
than it solves. We support the use of hydrogen as an energy storage
however we oppose the use of nuclear technologies or carbon-based feed
stocks for hydrogen production.
- We call for a ban on the construction of large-scale and
inappropriately-located, hydroelectric dams.
End the Use of Dirty and Dangerous
The Green Party advocates the phase-out of nuclear and coal power
All processes associated with nuclear power are dangerous, from the
of uranium to the transportation and disposal of the radioactive waste.
Coal is the largest contributor to climate change with estimates as
high as 80%.
- The generation of nuclear waste must be halted. It can remain
for thousands of years and there is no way to isolate it from the
for the durations of its toxic life. We oppose public subsidies for
power. Cost is another huge factor making it unfeasible, with each new
power plant costing billions of dollars.
- The Green Party calls for a formal moratorium on the
new nuclear power plants, the early retirement of existing nuclear
reactors, and the phase-out of technologies that use or produce nuclear
such as nuclear waste incinerators, food irradiators, and all uses of
- The Green Party calls for a ban on mountaintop removal coal
With limited supplies and in the absence of commercially viable "clean
coal" carbon sequestration, which is many decades away, coal is neither
an economically nor environmentally sustainable solution.
- Greens call for the cessation of development of fuels produced
polluting, energy-intensive processes or from unsustainable or toxic
such as genetically-engineered crops, coal and waste streams
- We oppose further oil and gas drilling or exploration on our
outer continental shelf, on our public lands, in the Rocky Mountains,
under the Great Lakes.
- Due to serious negative impacts on food, soil, and water, Greens
biofuels production except for small-scale production such as that from
used vegetable oils. Further, we oppose the use of biomass as an energy
source on a large scale because of the adverse impacts it will have on
soils, and natural habitats. Biomass from landfills may pose problems
pollution if incinerators are used.
Plan for Decentralized, Bio-Regional
Electricity Generation and
Decentralized power systems are likely to be more resilient in the
face of power
disruptions and will cut transmission losses, assure citizens greater
their power grids, and prevent the massive ecological and social
that accompanies production of electricity in mega-scale projects.
- We support "smart grid" upgrades. The federal government must
step in to
set goals and standards and to provide capital. This effort must not
commercial utilities over municipal power districts.
- The Green Party supports net-metering to make decentralized
production economically viable.
- Greens support tax-exempt bonds to finance public ownership of
utilities and to allow publicly owned utilities to finance conservation
De-Carbonize and Re-Localize the Food
Our national industrial food system is overwhelmingly dependent
and natural gas for farm-equipment fuel, fertilizer, pesticides,
herbicides, and the transport. It is responsible for over 12% of all
from human activities in the U.S. New farming methods, new farmers, and
re-localization of production and distribution are needed. These will
require land reform, an investment in revitalizing rural areas and the
of local food processing plants and storage centers. Laws and
affecting the food system (including food safety laws and farm
need to be rewritten to provide preferential support for small-scale,
Electrify the Transportation System
Our enormous investment in highways, airports, cars, buses, trucks,
aircraft is almost completely dependent on oil, and it will be
handicapped by higher fuel prices, and devastated by actual fuel
electrification of road-based vehicles is a must and will require at
least two decades to fully deploy and we must move to Earth-gentle
generation to charge the vehicles. Meanwhile, existing private
automobiles must be
put to use more efficiently through carpooling, car-sharing, and
networks. (See Transportation section for more, including need for
dramatic increase in CAFE or gasoline efficiency standards.)
Requirements for Energy Transition
- Investment: Enormous amounts of investment capital will be
accomplish the energy transition, much more than the promise of $150
renewable energy over ten years, and must now come from government.
- Coordination: The energy transition will be complex and
and its various strategies will be mutually impacting. For example,
redirect transport away from highways and toward rail service will need
coordinated with manufacturers, farmers, retailers, and employers. An
independent federal Energy Transition Office should track and manage
- Education: Community colleges should prepare workers for new job
opportunities, e.g., sustainable food production, renewable energy
rebuilding, rail expansion, public transport construction, and home
energy retrofitting. Grade school curriculum should include gardening
in all schools and increased emphasis on energy conservation.
- Public Messaging & Goal Setting: Our leaders must instill in
nation a sense of collective struggle and of a long journey toward a
The success of a project of this scope will require public buy-in at
stage and level, including the use of language and images to
underscore what is at stake, to foster a spirit of cooperation and
Business leaders, advertising agencies and even Hollywood must be enlisted, a quid pro quo for government bail out of banks and corporations. Grassroots initiatives, such as the Transition Towns movement, could lead the way toward voluntary community efforts. A sophisticated, interactive, web-based program would inspire action and provide resources. Ratepayers should get full disclosure of the specific electric generating facilities used to produce their electricity.
A series of challenging yet feasible targets should be set, with the ultimate goal - complete freedom from fossil fuel dependency - to be achieved by 2050. The federal government should take the lead by setting targets for federal facilities. Achievement of annual targets should be cause for public celebration.
C. Nuclear Issues
The Green Party supports a transportation policy that emphasizes the
use of mass transit and alternatives to the automobile and truck for
transport. We call for major public investment in mass
transportation, so that such systems are cheap or free to the public
and are safe, accessible, and easily understandable to first-time users.
We need ecologically sound forms of transportation that minimize
pollution and maximize energy
efficiency. Surfaces impermeable to rainwater, polluted storm run-off;
paved over or polluted wetlands, the heat island effect, air pollution,
and acid rain are all directly related to a transportation system run
Massive subsidies to the auto and fossil fuel
industries, as well as an unworkable approach by urban
planners, maintain the auto's dominance of our cityscapes. The
present-day approach of upgrading streets to accommodate increased
traffic generates new traffic because access is now easier, and people
will now take jobs further from their homes or purchase homes further
from their jobs. Some people shift from public transit to private cars
due to the trip time in cars being shorter. As patronage for public
transit decreases, public transit loses funding, becomes less viable,
and service deteriorates thus encouraging even more people to use their
To counteract these trends and reduce auto use, the
Green Party advocates the following strategies.
Pedestrians and Bicyclists
- Make streets, neighborhoods and commercial districts more pedestrian
- Increase the greenery of streets.
- Utilize traffic-calming methods, where the design of streets
speeds and safe interaction with pedestrians. Create auto-free zones.
- Develop extensive networks of bikeways, bicycle lanes and paths.
Include bike racks on
all public transit.
- Maintain free community bicycle fleets, and provide necessary
support for cyclists.
2. Mass Transit
- Redirect resources that currently go to enhancing auto capacity
into expanding human-scale
- Develop affordable mass transit systems that are more economical to
use than private
- Encourage employer subsidies of transit commuter tickets for
employees, funded by
government Congestion Management grants.
- Use existing auto infrastructure for transit expansion where
possible. Light rail could
be established in expressway medians through metropolitan high density
- Include land use decisions in transportation issues, with
consideration of the need for
mass transit to have a market and be viable, and with attention paid to
cross-commuting - the practice of people commuting to a place where
they could and should live.
- Expand our country's network of rail lines, including high speed
- Place a moratorium on highway widening then use the money for mass
transit and facilities
for pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Mandate HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes on freeways, and lower
toll fees for carpools.
- Discourage unnecessary auto use by eliminating free parking in
areas well served by mass transit, and establish preferential parking
rates for HOV.
- Substantially increase the taxes on gasoline, but allow some
compensation for low
- Support ambitious increases in motor vehicle fuel efficiency,
including the use of hybrid
electric designs. Legislate a "gas guzzler" tax on new vehicles that
get a lower MPG than the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy)
standards and offer "gas sipper" rebates for vehicles that get a higher
- Schedule an increase in CAFE standards to 60 MPG for cars and 45 MPG
trucks by the year 2015.
- Develop and market to the general public fuel efficient cars as well
as solar, electric
and other non-fossil fuel powered vehicles for local travel. Support
government procurement of high efficiency motor vehicles. Electric
components of vehicles should not be put "on the grid" while we still
have polluting electricity generation sources providing power to that
- Encourage carpooling programs, telecommuting, and other creative
reduce commuter traffic congestion. We advocate fair buy-backs of the
most polluting and least efficient vehicles to remove them from the
4. Air Travel
- Make airports accessible by local transit systems.
- Legislate further incremental reductions in airplane noise and air
- Emphasize the use of light and heavy rail for freight
- We call for incentives to get long-distance truck hauling off of
on to railways. We favor the removal of any administrative impediments
to efficient long-haul freight transport by rail. Time is lost when
switching goods from one railroad to another, even when the trains are
the same size and gauge, and this waste can be eliminated.
E. Zero Waste, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
A waste-free society is essential to public health and the integrity
and sustainability of the biosphere. Natural ecosystems are
self-sustaining and generate no waste. We humans are a part of these
ecosystems, and while we obtain resources from them, we have a
responsibility to return only those things that can be re-absorbed
without detriment. Waste is not an inevitable part of production and
consumption, as it is viewed in the current economic model.
- Phase out all avoidable production and sale of toxic metals,
persistent organic pollutants, persistent bio-accumulative toxins,
synthetic petrochemicals, and halogenated chemicals. Replace them with
- Make manufacturers responsible for the full life cycle of their
products by requiring them to take back used products and packaging for
remanufacturing, reuse, or recycling.
- Support and implement the precautionary principle: "When an activity
raises threats of harm to human health or the environment,
precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect
relationships are not fully established scientifically. In this context
the proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the
burden of proof. The process of applying the precautionary principle
must be open, informed and democratic and must include potentially
affected parties. It must also involve an examination of the full range
of alternatives, including no action."
- Strengthen right-to-know laws so that everyone can discover what
toxic or potentially toxic chemicals are used and released in their
communities, and in products that they might purchase or use.
- Hold corporations strictly liable for the consequences of the
pollution they produce. We support the Citizens’ Platform on Superfund,
as adopted at the 1995 Communities At Risk Superfund Summit in
Washington, DC (ccaej.org/projects/platform.htm). End the use of
incineration as a cleanup technology, and ensure that “cleanups” don’t
simply relocate toxins to chemical waste dumps in poor communities of
- Shut down existing waste incinerators, impose a moratorium on new
waste incinerators, and phase out landfills. For all possible waste
streams, we support the following strategies (in order of priority) as
alternatives to incineration and landfills:
- Toxics use reduction;
- Source reduction, reuse, clean recycling or composting/digestion;
- Neutralization, sterilization or detoxification methods where
- Do not deregulate wastes containing toxic or radioactive
contaminants significantly above background levels. They should not be
allowed to be used in “beneficial use” schemes as fertilizer,
“co-products,” or fuels; or by “recycling” them into consumer products
(including construction materials) or disposing of them as municipal
- Do not export, under any circumstances, chemicals that are
prohibited in the United States. We oppose shipping of toxic,
hazardous, or radioactive wastes across national borders, and the
shipment of such wastes without strict regulation across any political
borders. Waste should not be considered a tradable commodity under the
Interstate Commerce Clause.
- Safe, secure, above ground storage for existing nuclear waste. We
oppose exporting nuclear waste to other nations.
- Strict regulation of radioactive materials and wastes and
prohibiting such wastes to be recycled into consumer products and to
enter municipal waste landfills and incinerators.
- Close, clean up and remediate at national labs devoted to nuclear
energy and weapons development and operations at the Department of
Energy's nuclear production sites.
- Clean up depleted uranium contamination from testing ranges and
battlefields, and provide generously compensate veterans and civilians
who have been sickened by depleted uranium exposure.
- Require independent, transparent radiation monitoring at all
- Substitute chemical safety testing on animals with alternatives
that do not use animals, wherever such alternative tests or testing
strategies are available.
F. Clean Air/Greenhouse Effect/Ozone Depletion
The strict comprehensive protections of the Clean Air Act
must be maintained and enhanced if we are to keep in place effective
federal programs that deal with urban smog, toxic air pollution, acid
rain, and ozone depletion. State and local air initiatives
should advance and improve national efforts. For example, we would move
forward with stricter clean air and fuel efficiency standards, and with
vehicle and fleet conversions.
Earth's atmosphere is in great
danger due to man-made chemicals and hydrocarbon emissions.
Chloro-fluorocarbons, hydrochloro-fluorocarbons, and other related
ozone-depleting substances should be banned as soon as is possible.
The Green Party urges the U.S.
Congress to act immediately to address the critical global warming and
climate change issues. When the U.S. Senate voted 95-to-0 to oppose any
global warming treaty that does not also bind developing countries to
specific, if smaller, carbon emissions reductions in the future, which
many industrializing countries oppose, it put a roadblock in the way of
progress by all nations.
With only 4% of the earth's
people, the United States produces more than 20% of carbon emissions.
From 1990 to 1996, total U.S. emissions grew by an amount equal to what
Brazil and Indonesia produce every year. Per capita, the United States
emits 85% more than Germany, twice as much as England and Japan, and
currently nearly 10-times as much as China.
Climate change presents very
real economic and social opportunities for new and sustainable jobs
from new energy technologies, including both energy efficiency and
renewables. Yet, too often, the focus of debate has been only on the
pain of adjustment to carbon reductions, This is because of the
influence of multinational business on government policies.
We must implement the following policies if we are to make a start
on protecting our global
- An early target must be set to prevent emissions from rising so
far that future
reductions become even more difficult.
- Avoiding loopholes is even more important now than an ambitious
target. Unless a very
ambitious target is set, which now seems unlikely, allowing sinks and
trading within the protocol will create such loopholes that no real
reductions will occur. Trading and sinks must be left until there is
much more scientific precision in how they are measured.
- Targets are not enough without credible policies and measures to
achieve them. We urge
all governments to table a list of the policies and measures they
intend to adopt to attain their target, for example eco-taxes and
energy performance standards.
- Nuclear power is not an acceptable alternative to fossil energy.
We should not accept
country commitments that depend on increasing nuclear capability. We
must join the solar age.
- We endorse the Contraction and Convergence model under discussion
talks (which as proposed would eventually give every human being an
equal right to the atmosphere) as the most practical way to achieve
justice and participation for developing countries.
- As a nation, we must implement public and private initiatives at
every level to support
the Global Climate Treaty signed at the Earth Summit in 1992,
committing industrial nations within a time framework to reducing
emissions to 1990 level.
- The most authoritative assessment to date concludes that a
dioxide emissions reduction of 50-70 percent is necessary to contain
climate change. The Kyoto Climate Protocol in 1998 falls far short,
calling for only a five percent reduction. Nonetheless, the agreement
is an important first step that all parties - especially the U.S. -
should ratify as soon as possible.
- We must drastically reduce, then eliminate, the use of fossil
fuels. We must use energy
more efficiently, and from clean, renewable sources. We must preserve
the many valuable natural services including climactic stability
provided by intact ecosystems.
- If we fail to summon the political will now to make these
investments, the costs of
climatic disruptions will almost certainly force us to make them later
at a greater expense. Greenhouse gases and the threat of global warming
must be addressed by the international community in concert, through
international treaties and conventions, with the industrial nations at
the forefront of this vital effort.
G. Land Use.
Unlimited growth on a finite planet cannot be sustained.
There is a fundamental difference between growth and development and
between quantity and quality. Rather than exploiting the Earth for
short-term gain, Greens believe in living in sustainable balance with
Land use practices must be founded on stewardship of the Earth, to
honor the interconnected and interdependent nature of all life, to
respect ecosystems and other species, while at the same time providing
for human needs in a responsible and sustainable way.
Only an economics that is based upon environmental health is
1. Land ownership and property rights
- a. Insist that every property right has an implied responsibility to provide for the common good of people, places and the planet.
- b. Encourage the formation and operation of cooperatives, non-profits, land trusts, co-housing, and other forms of communal and public interest management of land and resources.
2. Urban land use
- Promote livable urban environments to minimize urban sprawl. Promote urban infill with affordable housing, mass transit, schools, jobs, health care, public spaces, bicycle and walking paths, community gardens, open spaces, parks, playgrounds, and urban growth boundaries.
- Green our cities with green belts, energy-efficient infill, distributed solar and wind generation, gray water systems, undergrounding of wires and pipelines, redevelopment of brownfields, closed loop, energy-producing sewage systems, watershed protection and urban agriculture.
- Restore damaged urban ecosystems.
- Consider the carrying capacities of the bioregions in which our cities are located and attempt to match urban populations to these natural limitations.
- Support environmental justice policies that give communities a voice in planning future development with the goal of preventing concentration of polluting industries and practices in poor and/or minority communities.
3. Rural land use
- Preserve and expand rural land use patterns that promote open space, healthy eco-systems, wildlife corridors and the ecologically sustainable agriculture. Protect and expand large continuous tracts of public and private land for wildlife habitat and biological diversity, to permit healthy, self-managing wildlife populations to exist in a natural state, and to promote complete ecosystems.
- Promote livable rural communities to minimize urban migration.
- Transition rural communities into sustainable relationships with ranching, agriculture, forestry and mining.
- Reward farmers and ranchers for the ecosystem services they provide on private and public lands. Favor policies that promote mall-scale farmers and ranchers over large-scale corporate agriculture and ranching.
4. Public Lands
- Repeal the General Mining Law of 1872.
- Enact mining reforms to better balance mining with other important public land uses, provide a fair financial return to taxpayers for resources extracted, and create a fund for clean up of abandoned mines. Enact tough new environmental safeguards to protect against mining pollution, including strict curbs on mercury emissions from metal mines.
- Eliminate public subsidies for livestock grazing on public lands. Raise grazing fees on public land to approximate fair market value.
- Oppose the sale of any portion our national parks, forests or coastlines. Fund and maintain public lands in a healthy and productive state. Oppose commercial privatization of the management of these lands.
- Ensure public ownership of natural resources located on public lands. Halt federal mineral, oil and gas, and resource giveaways, “royalty holidays,” and flagrant concessions to the mining, energy and timber industries on public lands.
- Restore and remediate damaged ecosystems on public lands.
- Protect old growth forests, ban clear cutting and ban industrial timber harvest on public lands. Minimize road building on public lands.
- Ban indiscriminate wildlife "damage control practices" and abolish Wildlife Services.
Water is essential to all forms of life. The Green Party
calls for an international declaration that water belongs to the Earth
and all of its species. Water is a basic human right! The
U.S. Government must lead the way in declaring water a fundamental
human right and prevent efforts to privatize, export, and sell for
profit a substance that is essential to all life.
We face a worldwide water crisis. According to the
United Nations, more than one billion people
lack access to safe drinking water. If current trends persist, by 2025
as much as two-thirds of the world's population will be living with a
serious scarcity of water. Multinational corporations recognize these
trends and are moving fast to monopolize water supplies around the
world. They argue that privatizing water is the best way to allocate
this valuable resource, and they are scheming to have water declared a
human need so that it can be commodified and sold on the open market
ensuring that the allocation of water will be based on principles of
scarcity and profit maximization.
We do not agree. With water
sold to the highest bidder, the rich will have plenty while the poor
will be left with little but polluted water, and short term profits
will preclude any concern for long term sustainability. We must stop
this privatization before the infrastructures become so established
that it will be impossible to avoid a disaster of epic proportions.
Governments are signing away
their control over their domestic water supplies by participating in
trade treaties such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and in
institutions such as the World Trade Organization. The World Bank
recently adopted a policy of water privatization and full-cost water
- We need strong
national and international laws promote conservation, reclaim polluted
water systems, develop water-supply restrictions, ban toxic and
pesticide dumping, control or ban corporate farming, and bring the rule
of law to transnational corporations that pollute water systems. Mining
and depleting the present underground aquifers must be severely
- Greens oppose the
privatization of water and demand that the U.S. government pass strong
laws with effective enforcement mechanisms to assure a safe and
adequate supply of water for its citizens and all life within its
- New forms of
international, bioregional, and community organizations,
watershed/ecosystem-based, must be created to monitor and equitably
distribute the fresh water necessary for all life on our planet.
Decisions about water must be based on an ecosystems approach.
Cycles of intense
drought and flooding have demonstrated the need to reorient our
priorities in order to achieve a truly sustainable water policy.
Over-development and poor planning have resulted in increasing
rain-impermeable areas, which compounds the severity and frequency of
flooding and pollution in regions downstream. We must begin to
understand and apply a holistic watershed
approach to managing our water resources. The principle of
bioregionalism (living within the means of a region's natural
resources) should give direction to future water policies.
- Conservation must
be an essential part of any water policy. Water conservation also
reduces energy consumption and pollution.
To conserve water, the Green Party proposes to:
- Mandate water efficient appliances and fixtures be
used in all new construction, and
promote retrofitting of older buildings.
- Promote native landscaping and other drought
resistant/ climate-appropriate plants, in
order to reduce the need for irrigation.
- Promote drip irrigation systems where irrigation is
- Eliminate storm water pollution of our water
resources through education of our
citizens, enforcement of our laws, and holistic watershed management.
Promote storm water technologies that detain, treat, filtrate, and use
storm waters near where it is collected.
- Promote the appropriate reuse of the "gray" and
"black" waters we produce. Use
separation techniques, such as dual piping systems where pure water is
used for drinking and washing, and reclaimed water is used for lawn
watering and similar purposes.
- Mandate pre-treatment of industrial wastes to
eliminate the presence of metals,
solvents, and other toxins in sewer water. This would reduce the cost
of municipal treatment and encourage wastewater reuse.
- Promote passive and natural systems, such as
wetlands, for water and wastewater treatment
- Eliminate water subsidies for corporate
agribusiness. Higher water prices give
agribusiness incentives to conserve.
- Assist community organizations to monitor the use of
local resources, and to oversee the
enforcement of water quality regulations.
- Preserve and restore the nation's natural water
features (streams, rivers, lakes,
bays, wetlands and groundwater aquifers) that are vital to achieving
sustainable use of water resources.
5. Chemicals used in the fluoridation of America's
public drinking water supplies are toxic
waste by-products. The majority of these toxic wastes come from the
phosphate fertilizer industry. Fluoride accumulates in the human body
through ingestion and inhalation. A growing body of research suggests
that fluoride may be associated with arthritis, hip fractures, bone
cancer, kidney damage, infertility, and brain disorders. For these
reasons, the Green Party opposes the fluoridation of drinking
Our current food system is
dominated by centralized agribusiness and unsustainable practices that
threaten our food security, degrade the environment, destroy
communities, and squeeze out family farmers. Our so-called cheap food
comes at the expense of the exploitation of our farmers along with the
oppression of third world peoples, inhumane treatment of animals,
pollution of air and water, and degradation of our land.
The agricultural system for the
21st Century must provide a high quality of life for farmers,
nutritious and safe food for consumers, and reward farming methods that
enhance the quality of water, soil, and air, and the beauty of the
- We encouragelegislation that assists new farmers and ranchers,
widespread ownership to small and medium-sized farms and ranches, and
that revitalizes and repopulates rural communities and promotes
sustainable development and stewardship.
- We support new farming and growing opportunities and urge the
non-traditional crops and foods in farm programs.
- We advocate regionalizing our food system and decentralizing
production, and distribution. We encourage public support for producer
and consumer cooperatives, community kitchens, Community Supported
Agriculture, urban agriculture, and community farms and gardens.
- We advocate the creation of a Food Policy Council composed of
farmers, including small
farmers and consumers, to oversee the USDA and all food policies at the
local, state, and national level. This council should adjudicate
conflicts of interest that arise when industries police themselves.
- We support the highest organic standards (California Organic
for example). We advocate shifting price supports and government
subsidies to organic food products so that they will be competitive
with chemically-produced food. We believe that everyone, not just the
wealthy, must be able to afford safe and healthy food.
- We urge the banning of sewage sludge or hazardous wastes as
fertilizer, and of irradiation
and the use of genetic engineering in all food production.
- We would phase-out man-made pesticides and artificial
fertilizers. We support Integrated
Pest Management techniques as an alternative to chemical-based
- Food prices ought to reflect the true cost of food, including the
health effects of
eating processed foods, antibiotic resistance, pesticide effects on
growers and consumers, soil erosion, water pollution, pesticide drift,
and air pollution. Indirect costs (loss of rural communities, a heavily
subsidized transportation system, cost of the military necessary to
defend cheap oil, and reduced security), though more difficult to
calculate, should be factored into the cost of our highly centralized
- World hunger can best be addressed by food security - being
self-sufficient for basic
needs. Overpopulation is largely a consequence - not simply a cause -
of poverty and environmental destruction, and all remedial actions must
address living standards and food security through sustainable
- Because of the tremendous amount of energy used in agriculture,
we support farm
subsidies to encourage the transition from dirty fuels to clean
renewable energy as one of the most effective ways to move our country
to a sustainable future
- We support legislation that provides energy and fuel
rotational grazing, cover-crop rotations, nitrogen-fixing systems, and
fuel-free, clean renewable energy development on the farm.
- We encourage states to promote net-metering to make
decentralized energy production
- Animal farming must be practiced in ethically and
environmentally sustainable ways.
Rapidly phase out the use of confined animal feeding operations and
- Applying the Precautionary Principle to genetically modified
organisms (GMOs), we
support a moratorium until safety can be demonstrated by independent
(non-corporate funded), long-term tests for food safety, genetic drift,
resistance, soil health, effects on non-target organisms, and
Most importantly, we support the growing international demand to
eliminate patent rights for
genetic material, lifeforms, gene-splicing techniques, and biochemicals
derived from them. This position is defined by the Treaty to Share the
Genetic Commons, which is available through the Institute for
Agriculture and Trade Policy (www.iatp.org). The implications of
corporate takeover and the resulting monopolization of genetic
intellectual property by the bioengineering industry are immense.
- We support mandatory, full-disclosure food and fiber labeling. A
consumer has the
right to know the contents in their food and fiber, how they were
produced, and where they come from. Labels should address the presence
of GMOs, use of irradiation, pesticide application (in production,
transport, storage, and retail), and the country of origin.
J. Biological Diversity
Humanity must share the planet with all other species. Our
continuing destruction of animal habitats threatens an ever-growing
number of species with extinction. This not only deprives these
species of their existence, but will deprive future human generations
of the enrichment of having these species on the Earth.
Ecological systems are diverse and interlocking, and nature's
survival strategy can best be found in
the adaptability that comes as a result of biological diversity. All
policies concerning human settlement, food, energy, natural resources,
water, coastal development, and industrialization should be formulated
to prevent further disruption of the non-human ecosystems' ability to
- The Green Party supports a strengthened and enforceable
Endangered Species Act.
- The Convention on Biological Diversity, first adopted at the
Earth Summit in 1992, is a
primary statement of purpose regarding how we can act to preserve and
sustain our common genetic resources. We protest the demands of the
U.S. to amend this unprecedented international agreement on behalf of
the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, with their insistence
on protection of their intellectual property and technology transfer
- We encourage, and support public access to, seed banks and seed
emphasize traditional and heirloom seeds.
- We call for wide-spread education on the critical importance of
efforts being made
to replant indigenous plant life where it has dwindled or been lost.
- We oppose monopolistic production of high-tech hybrid seeds. This
is the basis of
monoculture where agribusiness relies on non-sustainable methods such
as single crop varieties bred with industrial traits and grown with
high input of energy, chemicals, and pesticides. This has led to a
massive loss of biodiversity, displacing traditional varieties and seed
- We encourage the use of diverse natural seed varieties passed
down over many
generations. Crops can be grown with he best plants' seeds being saved
season to season.
- We oppose international trade agreements (NAFTA, GATT and the WTO
that have precedent-setting provisions protecting transnational,
corporate control of the intellectual property of genetic material,
hybrid seeds, and proprietary products.
- We support reintroducing native species to areas from which they
eradicated, eliminating predator control on public lands, and
reintroducing native predators where they would contribute to a viable
- We should educate ourselves about animal behaviors to overcome
our culture's irrational
fear of wildlife, and learn techniques of co-existence with other
- Since the efforts to clone animals - and eventually humans - has
been undertaken by
profit-making corporations, the purpose behind such projects is to
manufacture commodities. To classify a human (or any part thereof,
including human DNA and body organs) as a commodity is to turn human
beings into property.
K. Ethical Treatment of Animals
Cruelty to animals is repugnant and criminal. The mark of a humane and civilized society lies in how we treat the least protected among us. To extend rights to other sentient living beings is our responsibility and a mark of our place among all of creation. We call for an intelligent, compassionate approach to the treatment of animals.
We reject the belief that our species is the center of creation, and that other life forms exist only for our use and enjoyment. Our species does not have the right to exploit and inflict violence on other creatures simply because we have the desire and power to do so. Our ethic upholds not only the value of biological diversity and the integrity and continuity of species, but also the value of individual lives and the interest of individual animals.
The Green Party advocates humane treatment of animals with the following policies:
- Redirect the funds that are disbursed annually by the National Institutes of Health away from animal experiments and more towards direct health care, preventive medicine, and biomedical research using non-animal procedures such as clinical, epidemiological, and cell culture research.
- Phase-out the use of animals for consumer product testing, tobacco and alcohol testing, psychological testing, classroom demonstrations and dissections, weapons development and other military programs.
- 3Mandate clear labeling of products to tell whether or not they have been tested on animals and if they contain any animal products or by-products.
- Establish procedures to develop greater public scrutiny of all animal research. These should include the welfare of laboratory animals, and a halt to wasteful public funding of unnecessary research such as duplicative experiments.
- End the abuse of animals, including farm animals, and strengthen our enforcement of existing laws.
- Ban the use of goods produced from exotic or endangered animals.
- Prohibit large scale commercial breeding facilities, such as "puppy mills," because of the massive suffering, overpopulation, and ill health such facilities produce.
- Subsidize spay and neuter clinics to combat the ever-worsening pet overpopulation problem that results in the killing of millions of animals every year. Where unwanted companion animals are being killed in shelters, we advocate mandatory spay and neuter laws.
- Ban the exploitation of animals in violent entertainment and sports.
L. Forestry Practices
Forests are indispensable to human and animal life and must be protected.
Vast forests once covered most land, moderating the Earth's remaing forests are a critical resource in that useful products, especially medicines, originate in the forest. Today's global market economy, in the hands of multi-nationional corporations, irresponsibly uses and often destroys this valuable and irreplaceable resource.
The governments of many countries are selling off their rain forest land to cattle growers for the production of cheap beef, most of which is exported to first-world countries such as the U.S. Unsuitable rain forest land is also given to subsistence farmers who ruin the soil in a few seasons. In the meantime, landowners hoard prime agricultural land for speculation. On both state and federal lands, trees are harvested and the raw logs are exported, causing jobs to be exported.
The Green Party calls for actions to protect our forests:
- Overhaul state and U.S. Forest Service rules to protect our forests and use them wisely.
- Review, reform and restructure all federal and state land-use policies so that our practices become environmentally sustainable, and so that forests provide a continuing supply of high quality wood products.
- Stop building logging roads in national forests at taxpayers' expense. These roads not only cost more than the revenue from timber sales that they expedite, but they also contribute to soil erosion and silting of streams, which ruin fish habitats.
- Ban the harvest of Ancient Forests.
- Ban the export of raw logs and other minimally processed forest products (pulp, chips, carts, slabs, etc.), which causes American job loss.
- Offer subsidies to local watershed-based mills. This will maximize employment opportunities through value-added processing, and promote sustainability and worker control.
- Use work projects, goats, and other sustainable methods to control undergrowth rather than spraying herbicides, especially near communities.
- Grow and use hemp as a plentiful and renewable resource for the manufacture of paper and other forest products.
- Protect significant archaeological, historical and cultural sites.
- Support the rights of people indigenous to the rain forest, and their ecologically sound use of the forest - such as rubber extraction, nut gathering, and collecting medicinal herbs. End the importation of rain forest beef.
- Forgive the debts of Third World countries that need help in halting the destruction of their rain forest lands.
- Develop labels that identify ecologically sound forest products. This would help consumers to support ecologically sound forestry.
- Protect of wildlife habitats, fisheries, biodiversity, scenery, and recreation. We must accept responsibility for the affect local actions have on the global economy and ecology.
M. Ocean Protection
Our oceans, with their enormous diversity of life and function, are essential to life on Earth and must be preserved.
Our oceans are threatened by climate change, pollution, whaling, overfishing, factory fishing, bottom trawling, bycatch, pirate fishing and fish farming. Simple, strong policy changes can rejuvenate the health of our oceans and planet.
- Protect 40% of the world's oceans as marine preserves, especially near shore coastal habitats. Determine protected zones through a democratic process involving all stakeholders.
- Ban offshore oil drilling.
- Ban the siting of liquified natural gas facilities off the U.S. coast.
- Phase out use of the once through cooling process, currently used by power plants, in and near coastal waters.
- Require secondary treatment of waste effluent before release.
- Ban ocean transportation of nuclear and toxic waste.
- Ban sonar testing in the oceans.
- Support the ban on international commercial whaling as well as other international efforts to protect endangered marine species.
- Ban drift-net fishing and long-line fishing and phase out factory trawling.
- Map undersea toxic dump sites, and investigate methods of rendering them harmless.
- Ban the importation of fish and fish products caught by drift-nets and other illegal means.
- Ban the importation of coral products and the destruction of breakwaters.
- Support the Law of the Sea Treaty that establishes the global sharing of ocean resources.
- Support complete cleanup of existing and past oil spills. Cost of cleanups and compensation for affected communities should be paid by the corporations responsible for the spills.