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.
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, return, reuse, and 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.
A. Climate Change
Ecosocialist Green New Deal
The Green Party calls for an Ecosocialist Green New Deal to achieve 100% clean energy, zero greenhouse gas emissions, and economic security for all within a decade.
The Green New Deal will continue to work toward negative emissions to bring the atmospheric greenhouse gases back into the climate safety and stability zone by the end of the 21st century. That safety zone is at most 350 ppm CO2. The world reached over 420 ppm in 2021, the highest level in the 3.6 million years since temperatures were 4°C (7°F) hotter and sea levels were 24 meters (78 feet) higher than today.
Greens call for a World War II-scale mobilization to carry through this emergency climate program. During World War II, the federal government took over a quarter of US manufacturing capacity in order to turn industry on a dime into what President Roosevelt called the “Arsenal of Democracy” to defeat the fascist powers. We need to do nothing less through the public sector to defeat climate change.
It is too late for public incentives to private industry such as tax breaks, subsidies, and contracts to make the clean energy transition as the progressive Democrats’ Green New Deal proposes to do. This approach cannot coordinate and integrate the clean energy transition on a rapid timescale across all productive sectors—not only electric power (25% of greenhouse gas emissions), but also transportation (29%), manufacturing (23%), buildings (13%), and agriculture (10%). Private industry will not phase out dirty energy sources as long as its existing plants and equipment are profitable.
Greens call for social ownership and democratic planning in order to make a rapid coordinated transition to 100% clean energy and zero-to-negative greenhouse gas emissions. This Green Economy Reconstruction Program will socialize key productive sectors, notably energy production, power distribution, broadband, railroads and automobiles, a greatly expanded public housing sector, and a domestic manufacturing sector to be rebuilt on an ecological basis of clean power and zero waste.
The Ecosocialist Green New Deal is an economic justice as well as climate justice program that enacts an Economic Bill of Rights that guarantees living-wage jobs, incomes above poverty, affordable housing, quality health care, lifelong public education, and a secure retirement.
The Green Economy Reconstruction Program directly contributes to the goals of the Economic Bill of Rights by providing tens of millions of high-quality jobs, and profoundly increasing the overall power of working people by virtually eliminating unemployment, underemployment, and poverty incomes. Because these publicly-created jobs will be union jobs, it will also contribute to the workers’ power by radically increasing the proportion of unionized workers in the economy.
Declare a Climate Emergency
The president should declare the climate crisis a national emergency, which gives the president powers under existing laws to take many immediate steps to address the climate crisis without needing congressional legislation. The president should create a cabinet-level Office of Climate Mobilization to coordinate all federal agencies and economic planning to meet climate safety and justice goals.
The president should then seek congressional legislation to implement an Ecosocialist Green New Deal. The key policies and programs in this program should include the following:
Stop New Fossil Fuel and Other Dirty Energy Infrastructure
Greens call for a halt to all new fossil fuel infrastructure (fracking, oil and gas pipelines, gas-fired power plants). Existing infrastructure is more than sufficient to deliver fossil fuels during the transition as they are phased out. Greens also call for a halt to so-called “low carbon” dirty energy industries and for their rapid phase-out, including nuclear power; fossil fuel carbon capture and sequestration; waste incinerators; large-scale biofuels such as factory farm biogas, landfill gas, and wood pellets; hydrogen from fossil fuels; large-scale ecosystem-altering hydropower; and market-based accounting systems like carbon offsets. Clean energy includes solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, wave, and small-scale hydro.
Public Energy System
Socialize all power generation and distribution utilities and private energy corporations into a public energy system in order to rapidly implement the transition to 100% clean energy generation and distribution. The public energy system will operate at cost for public benefit rather than cost-plus-profit for owners. For-profit private utilities will not build the smart grid necessary to incorporate the distributed nature of renewables and to implement energy conservation and efficiency in energy use because the private utilities are more profitable continuing to use the servo-mechanical grid based on centralized power plants. The public energy system should be governed from the bottom-up by a decentralized federation of elected local/regional public energy districts that in turn elect state and federal boards for state and federal coordination.
Socialize the railroad and automotive industries into a public transportation system to rapidly electrify transportation powered by clean energy sources. The public transportation system should be governed from the bottom up by a decentralized federation of elected local/regional public transportation districts that in turn elect state and federal boards for state and federal coordination. Intra-city mass transit and inter-city freight rails and high-speed passenger rails should move energy- and resource-inefficient personal vehicles and freight trucking on roads onto electrified passenger and freight rails. Urban planning should encourage walkable and bikeable neighborhoods through pedestrian and bike lanes on roads and rezoning single-family residence zones into mixed use zones.
Build a public manufacturing system that can rebuild manufacturing in the U.S. on the basis of clean energy and zero waste. The public manufacturing system will prioritize developing publicly-owned companies for clean energy and zero waste in key industries that must be transformed to reach 100% clean energy, such as zero-carbon cement manufacturing and replacing coke ovens with electric arc furnaces and green-hydrogen blast furnaces for steel production. The machine tool industry, which builds factory equipment, must be rebuilt in order to build clean-energy, zero-waste manufacturing equipment for all sectors. Policy should require that manufacturing products are returned to their manufacturer when used up to be reused and recycled into the next generation of products. This zero-waste approach includes a rapid phase-out of petrochemical plastics and their replacement by biodegradable and inert packaging and product parts, including paper and glass. The public manufacturing system should have a training program that enables the workers in these publicly-owned companies if they so choose to lease the factories from the public energy system and manage them as worker cooperatives.
The Green New Deal for agriculture will replace pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and large-scale industrialized factory farms based on monocropping and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations with regenerative organic agroecology by working farmers on small and medium-sized farms. It will ban absentee and corporate ownership of farms and ranches. It will subsidize the transition of farmers to organic production. It will provide community-owned farmland to enable farmers to stay on farms where land prices rise too high. It will provide parity pricing and supply management to insure all working farmers have a decent income above their costs of production. In coordination with the public manufacturing system, it will provide ecological farm machinery and regional food and fiber processing and manufacturing in farming districts. Regenerative agriculture will be a major contributor to carbon drawdown by rebuilding carbon-rich living soil and integrating the agroecologies of farms into surrounding ecosystems.
Public Housing and Walkable Communities
Expand public housing until every person has an affordable housing option. Rehabilitate existing and build new public housing that is powered by clean energy. Public housing will be open to anyone so that low-income, working-class, and middle-class people live in the same developments and reduce race and class segregation. Priority placement should be given to low-income people as the expanded public housing sector is built out in order to house the homeless as soon as possible. Coordinate the rehabilitation of existing and the building of new public housing with public transportation and the placement of ecological manufacturing in order to transform urban landscapes into walkable, bikeable communities. The public housing system should be governed from the bottom up by a decentralized federation of elected local/regional public housing authorities that in turn elect state and federal boards for state and federal coordination. Develop organic urban farms and farm belts around cities and towns to increase access to fresh food and employment options in agriculture.
Build a public broadband system providing free internet to all and public ‘cloud’ systems that allow individuals, government, and organizations to construct public alternatives to near-monopolies like Amazon Web Services and Facebook. Universal internet is necessary for equal educational opportunity and access to information as well as implementation of a smart grid for the efficient use of renewable energy sources. The public broadband system should be governed from the bottom up by a decentralized federation of elected local/regional broadband utility boards that in turn elect state and federal boards for state and federal coordination.
Negative Emissions Programs
Create a Civilian Conservation Corps employing several million people in natural carbon sequestration projects that restore biospheric carbon sinks, including forests, soils, wetlands, and mangroves in the U.S. and around the world. The corps should also work to restore and enhance public recreation and park infrastructure and to clean up hazardous waste sites.
Climate science now recognizes that warming above the 1.5ºC will significantly increase the potential onset of tipping points leading to catastrophic climate change with impacts far worse than we now witness. To keep warming below this IPCC-recognized target, near-future radical reduction of global fossil fuel consumption coupled with negative carbon emissions will be imperative. Further, the 2021 6th IPCC Report emphasizes that curbing methane emissions will have significant benefits in slowing down global warming. Climate security requires negative greenhouse gas emissions and not the “net zero” goal now promoted by the U.S. Net zero is a cover for unaccountable carbon offsets and corporate land grabbing, especially in the global South. “Net zero” is an excuse to prolong consumption of fossil fuels and emissions of CO2. Negative carbon emissions should be the goal.
Because the carbon-storing capacity of natural carbon sequestration is uncertain, Greens also believe it is prudent to research and develop other ways of drawing carbon out of the atmosphere in order to return to the climate safety zone. Biospheric carbon sequestration may have to be augmented by geospheric carbon sequestration. Greens call for research and development of a solar-powered industrial acceleration of weathering that fixes carbon in the Earth’s crust in the natural geological carbon cycle. Demonstration projects have already shown it is feasible to combine water and CO2 to react chemically in basalt rock formations to create carbonates that fix carbon to the rocks in the Earth’s crust for geological time scales.
Climate and Ecological Debt
Acknowledge and pay the climate and ecological debt the U.S. has incurred as the world’s largest historical carbon emitter and destroyer of carbon-storing forests, wetlands, and soils. The U.S. climate debt is not only due to its historical emissions. It is part of a broader ecological debt from the destruction of carbon-storing forests, soils, and wetlands by the resource-extracting foreign corporations of the Global North that have expropriated the resources, destroyed the biodiversity, and impoverished the people of the Global South. We in the U.S. are linked to this destruction of biodiversity by the globalization of supply chains and trade. This ecologically unequal exchange exploits the rainforests, agricultural lands, and fisheries of the Global South to provide wood, palm oil, and other food and fiber products to the rich countries. The U.S. is the world’s biggest importer of the tropical products of the Global South, which means the U.S. is the top destroyer of carbon-storing and ecosystem-stabilizing biodiversity. Paying this climate and ecological debt would not only be reparations to the Global South to help those countries make the transition to sustainable clean energy economies. Paying this debt is also an investment in the habitability of the planet for everyone.
Enact a Just Transition program that guarantees that workers and communities affected by the transition to clean energy are kept whole during the transition. The Just Transition program will guarantee workers up to five years of their current wages and benefits, or a good pension for early retirement for those who choose it or can no longer work. Communities that lose tax revenues due the closure of power and manufacturing plants will receive equal revenues until new Green New Deal plants make up the loss.
Economic Bill of Rights
The Ecosocialist Green New Deal includes an Economic Bill of Rights:
- Job Guarantee — A public living-wage job for those who cannot find work in the private sector.
- Income Guarantee — A guaranteed minimum income above poverty built into the progressive income tax structure as monthly payments to bring people above the poverty line whose incomes are below it.
- Housing Guarantee — An expansion of public housing until every person has an affordable housing option.
- Universal Health Care — A single public payer covering all medically necessary services for all.
- Lifelong Public Education — Tuition-free public education from child care and pre-K through post-secondary college and trade schools.
- Secure Retirement — An increase in Social Security benefits so every recipient has an income above poverty.
- Financing the Green New Deal
- The Green Party’s 2020 presidential campaign produced a Budget for an Ecosocialist Green New Deal that estimated sector by sector its cost of implementation over ten years, as well as the number of jobs it would create.
- The Green Economy Reconstruction Program to reach 100% clean energy and zero emissions is estimated to be a 10-year, $27.5 trillion program. It would create 30,484,000 jobs, including 8,564,000 jobs in manufacturing.
- The Economic Bill of Rights is estimated to cost $1.42 trillion a year. It would create another 7,586,000 jobs, including 304,000 manufacturing jobs.
- The total for the Ecosocialist Green New Deal came to $42 trillion over ten years. Total jobs created is 38,070,000, including 8,868,000 manufacturing jobs.
- The Ecosocialist Green New Deal proposes to pay for its program from a variety of short-term and long-term sources, including:
- Progressive Tax Reform — Close tax havens and implement (more) progressive taxes on wealth, estates, personal income, corporate income, and financial transactions.
- Ecological Taxes — The point of ecological taxes is not to raise revenues but reduce pollution and resource destruction. If they are successful, they eliminate the source of their revenue. As such, they should not be considered long-term revenue sources but can be useful for shorter-term financing of environmental goals.
- Ecological taxes are scarcity rents on the use of natural resources, such as the atmosphere, land, fossil fuels, and mineral resources. While ecological taxes are not a substitute for social ownership and economic planning in a green energy transition, they can be part of economic planning to disincentivize fossil fuel use and natural resource extraction, dumping, and depletion.
Three ecological taxes should be instituted to support the Ecosocialist Green New Deal.
- A carbon tax will disincentivize fossil fuel use and do so internationally because carbon taxes function as a tariff on high-carbon imports, encouraging firms and nations that want to export products to the US to lower their carbon content.
- Land value taxation enables the whole community to benefit from the land values of a limited resource instead of a landowning class. Its revenues could be dedicated to funding affordable homes, farms, and business locations.
- Federal severance taxes on non-renewable resources, including reform of the 1872 Mining Law that now enables corporations to purchase mineral rights on public lands for a mere $5 an acre and pay no severance tax for minerals taken.
Peace Conversion — Deep cuts in the US military budget on the order of 50% to 75% and reallocating the savings into the Ecosocialist Green New Deal.
Public Money — Greens favor Monetary Reform based on the creation of debt-free public money by a Monetary Authority in the Treasury Department and spending that money into the economy through the federal budget, including the budget for the Ecosocialist Green New Deal.
Borrowing — Progressive and ecological taxes and reallocating military spending to the Ecosocialist Green New Deal may not generate enough revenue to make the massive investments immediately needed to rapidly transform the economy to clean energy. Climate breakdown will cost much more than not making those investments. So pending Green Monetary Reform, the federal government may have to borrow to make the needed investments. In such borrowing, Greens favor a program of Green Quantitative Easing where the Federal Reserve creates the money to buy the Treasury securities issued to support the Green New Deal investments. This quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve would be used to bail out the planet and the people instead of the big banks as happened in the wake of the Great Recession.
Public Banks — Greens favor the creation of public banks at the local, state, and federal levels to help finance and target Green New Deal and other socially beneficial investments.
Sales of Public Goods and Services — The Ecosocialist Green New Deal will be producing and selling public goods and services through the public sector and receiving income for them, including power bill payments, transit fees, housing rents, and green machinery leases. Over time, these revenues should cover the costs of the initial borrowing like any successful business investment.
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 call for 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.
- The Green Party calls for 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, 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.
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.
Greens support creating 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.
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 environment, and supplies are rapidly being depleted. Over the past century, the infrastructure of our civilization has become utterly dependent on plentiful oil, coal, and natural gas: vast land, air, and sea transportation networks; increasing dependence on imported goods; industrialized food production dependent on fertilizer and biocides; and sprawling, car-dependent neighborhoods and workplaces. Our electric grid depends on fossil fuels for two-thirds of its energy.
Dirty and dangerous energy sources have generated an unparalleled assault on 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 American communities have been devastated by uranium mining, and the people of Appalachia 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 and social chaos. [See section on Climate Change, above]
Since 1859 when the first commercial oil well was drilled in Pennsylvania, 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 dirtier than 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 prepare for the end of fossil fuels now, while we still have energy available to build the cleaner, more sustainable energy infrastructure that we will soon need.
To simply substitute better energy sources in place of fossil fuels is not the answer for two main reasons. First, there are no energy sources (renewable or otherwise) capable of supplying energy as cheaply and in such abundance 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 the unique characteristics of oil, natural gas, and coal.
The energy transition cannot be accomplished with a minor retrofit of existing energy infrastructure. Just as our fossil fuel economy differs from the 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 scarcity, forcing society to adapt; however, lack of government planning will result in a transition that is chaotic, painful, destructive, and possibly not survivable.
The Green Party advocates a rapid reduction in energy consumption through energy efficiency and a decisive transition away from fossil and nuclear power toward cleaner, renewable, local energy sources. Toward these goals, we advocate:
1. Encourage Conservation
Encourage conservation and a significant 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. U.S. 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 insulated. 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 can and must be super-insulated and, as much as possible, provided with alternative heat sources (passive solar, geothermal, or district heating).
- Energy efficiency standards similar to those in California must be adopted nationally. The energy efficiency standards adopted there in the late 1970s have resulted in overall electricity-use remaining flat over the past three decades while the population has steadily increased. During the same time period electricity use in the rest of the U.S. has climbed along with population growth.
- There are many different ways to increase energy efficiency and the best path for one region of the country might differ from that of another. We will need concerted effort to increase efficiency in every sector of our economy. Technologies exist that, if widely implemented, can result in huge energy savings.
- Cogeneration and use of waste heat to generate electricity should be encouraged.
- A carbon tax, which the Green Party supports, would serve as an important market incentive to increase efficiency.
2. Move to Renewable Sources
Move decisively to an energy system based on solar, wind, geo-thermal, marine, and other cleaner renewable energy sources.
The development of Earth-gentle, sustainable energy sources must be a 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 long-term solution.
- Many other solutions being pushed, including nuclear power, coal, 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 into new energy storage technologies, as well as new cheaper and non-toxic photovoltaic materials and processes, and new geothermal and ocean power technologies.
- Policy tools to directly support the development of renewable energy sources, such as Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and Feed-in Tariffs, should also be reviewed for effectiveness. In general, a feed-in tariff is legislation enacted by the government that requires the large electric utilities to guarantee a price for the renewably generated electricity fed into the grid. When done right, such as in Germany, this policy appears to succeed in harnessing entrepreneurial zeal.
- State-level financing policies like California's AB 811 can help homeowners install expensive renewable energy where the county pays the up-front cost and the system is paid for via the homeowner's property taxes.
- Greens support voluntary purchase of tradable renewable energy certificates; however, voluntary approaches are not sufficient.
- Greens support research into advanced fuels when the purpose of the research is to develop a fuel that in its full cycle does not create more problems than it solves. We support the use of hydrogen as an energy storage medium; however we oppose the use of nuclear technologies or carbon-based feedstocks for hydrogen production.
- We call for a ban on the construction of large-scale and inappropriately-located, hydroelectric dams.
3. Eliminate dirty & dangerous energy sources
The Green Party advocates the phase-out of nuclear and coal power plants. All processes associated with nuclear power are dangerous, from the mining 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 is hazardous for thousands of years and there is no way to isolate it from the biosphere for the duration of its toxic life. We oppose public subsidies for nuclear power. Cost is another huge factor making it unfeasible, with each new nuclear power plant costing billions of dollars.
The Green Party calls for a formal moratorium on the construction of new nuclear power plants, the early retirement of existing nuclear power reactors, and the phase-out of technologies that use or produce nuclear waste, such as nuclear waste incinerators, food irradiators, and all uses of depleted uranium.
We call for a ban on mountaintop removal coal mining. With limited supplies and in the absence of commercially viable "clean coal" carbon sequestration, which may never be feasible, coal is neither an economically nor an environmentally sustainable solution.
We call for the cessation of development of fuels produced with polluting, energy-intensive processes or from unsustainable or toxic feed stocks, such as genetically-engineered crops, coal and waste streams contaminated with persistent toxics.
We oppose further oil and gas drilling or exploration on our nation's outer continental shelf, on our public lands, in the Rocky Mountains, and under the Great Lakes.
Due to serious negative impacts on food, soil, and water, we oppose industrial-scale biofuels production and biomass burning for electric power generation. We approve small scale distributed production under local control, such as production of biodiesel from waste oils, production of charcoal and byproducts from wood wastes or sustainably harvested wood, small scale production of ethanol from crop wastes or maize stalk sugar, or production of fuel gas for localized electricity generation from anaerobic methane digesters or charcoal gasifiers. We do not object to the utilization of fuel gases seeping from landfills, as that is one way to reduce air pollution. We support as a minimum standard the Principles for Sustainable Biomass statement signed by Clean Water Action, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, Geos Institute, Greenpeace USA, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Southern Environmental Law Center, Union of Concerned Scientists, The Wilderness Society, and World Wildlife Fund.
The Green Party stands for the enactment of bans on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and oil on the local, state and federal level and stands for bans on the disposal of wastes created by the fracking industry.
4. Decentralize the Grid
Plan for decentralized, bioregional electricity generation and distribution.
Decentralized power systems are likely to be more resilient in the face of power disruptions and will cut transmission losses, assure citizens greater control of their power grids, and prevent the massive ecological and social destruction 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 favor commercial utilities over municipal power districts.
- The Green Party supports net metering to make decentralized energy production economically viable.
- Greens support tax-exempt bonds to finance public ownership of utilities and to allow publicly owned utilities to finance conservation and renewable energy projects.
- We oppose deregulation of the energy industry.
5. Re-localize the Food System
De-carbonize and re-localize the food system.
Our national industrial food system is overwhelmingly dependent upon oil and natural gas for farm-equipment fuel, fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, and the transport. It is responsible for over 12% of all greenhouse gases from human activities in the U.S. New farming methods, new farmers, and a re-localization of production and distribution are needed. These will require land reform, an investment in revitalizing rural areas and the creation of local food processing plants and storage centers. Laws and incentives affecting the food system (including food safety laws and farm subsidies) will need to be rewritten to provide preferential support for small-scale, local, low-input producers.
6. Electrify the Transportation System
Our enormous investment in highways, airports, cars, buses, trucks, and aircraft is almost completely dependent on oil, and it will be significantly handicapped by higher fuel prices, and devastated by actual fuel shortages. The 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 electricity generation to charge the vehicles. Meanwhile, existing private automobiles must be put to use more efficiently through carpooling, car-sharing, and ride-sharing networks. [See Transportation section below for more, including need for dramatic increase in CAFE or gasoline efficiency standards]
7. Requirements for Energy Transition
- Investment: Enormous amounts of investment capital will be needed to accomplish the energy transition, much more than the promise of $150 billion for renewable energy over ten years, and must now come from government.
- Coordination: The energy transition will be complex and comprehensive, and its various strategies will be mutually impacting. For example, efforts to redirect transport away from highways and toward rail service will need to be coordinated with manufacturers, farmers, retailers, and employers. An independent federal Energy Transition Office should track and manage the transition.
- Education: Community colleges should prepare workers for new job opportunities, e.g., sustainable food production, renewable energy installation, grid rebuilding, rail expansion, public transport construction, and home energy retrofitting. Grade school curriculum should include gardening programs in all schools and increased emphasis on energy conservation.
- Public Messaging & Goal Setting: Our leaders must instill in the nation a sense of collective struggle and of a long journey toward a clear goal. The success of a project of this scope will require public buy-in at every stage and level, including the use of language and images to continually underscore what is at stake, to foster a spirit of cooperation and willing sacrifice.
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 2030.
C. Nuclear Issues
- The Green Party recognizes that there is no such thing as nuclear waste "disposal." All six of the "low-level" nuclear waste dumps in the United States have leaked. There are no technological quick fixes that can effectively isolate nuclear waste from the biosphere for the duration of its hazardous life. Therefore, it is essential that generation of additional nuclear wastes be stopped.
- The Green Party calls for the early retirement of nuclear power reactors as soon as possible (in no more than five years), and for a phase-out of other technologies that use or produce nuclear waste. These technologies include non-commercial nuclear reactors, reprocessing facilities, nuclear waste incinerators, food irradiators, and all commercial and military uses of depleted uranium.
- Current methods of underground storage are a danger to present and future generations. Any nuclear waste management strategy must be based on waste containers being stored above ground and continuously monitored, and the containers must be retrievable and capable of being repackaged. All such strategies must also minimize the transportation of wastes.
- The Green Party strongly opposes any shipment of high-level nuclear waste across the U.S. to the proposed Nevada waste repository at Yucca Mountain, or any other centralized facility. The Green Party believes that this proposal is part of a move to re-fire a fast-track, commercial nuclear industry by providing a means for "safe disposal." We deny there is such a thing as safe disposal of nuclear waste.
We propose making spent reactor fuel and other high level wastes safer by vitrification at the site where it is produced or now stored.
- We call for cancellation of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), the nation's first weapons complex nuclear dump in southern New Mexico.
- We call for independent, public-access radiation monitoring at all nuclear facilities
- We support applicable environmental impact statements (EIS) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis with citizen participation at all nuclear sites.
- We support an immediate and intensive campaign to educate the public about nuclear problems, including disposal, cleanup, and long-term dangers.
- We oppose the export of nuclear technologies or their wastes to other nations.
- We oppose public subsidies for nuclear power, including Price-Anderson insurance caps and stranded cost recovery bailouts. We oppose federal loan guarantees to enable the construction of a new generation of nuclear reactors.
- We oppose the development and use of new nuclear reactors, plutonium (MOX) fuel, nuclear fuel reprocessing, nuclear fusion, uranium enrichment, and the manufacturing of new plutonium pits for a new generation of nuclear weapons.
- We oppose the deregulation of radioactive materials and wastes, which is allowing such wastes to be recycled into consumer products and to enter municipal waste landfills and incinerators. We call for the strict regulation, tracking, monitoring, and recapturing of radioactive materials and wastes.
- We call on the military to clean up depleted uranium contamination from testing ranges and battlefields and to fully compensate exposed veterans and civilians who have been affected by depleted uranium exposure in the U.S. and elsewhere.
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 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 amuck.
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 cars.
To counteract these trends and reduce auto use, the Green Party advocates the following strategies:
1. Pedestrians and Bicyclists
- Make streets, neighborhoods and commercial districts more pedestrian friendly.
- Increase the greenery of streets.
- Utilize traffic-calming methods, where the design of streets promotes safe 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 transit options.
- Develop affordable mass transit systems that are more economical to use than private vehicles.
- 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 corridors.
- 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 crosscommuting 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 regional passenger service.
- Transfer ownership and operation of all intercity railroad trackage currently under control of freight railroads to responsible and adequately funded public agencies, as is done with highways, to provide for efficiency and safety of all rail traffic.
3. Motor Vehicles
- Place a moratorium on highway widening, appropriating funds instead for mass transit and facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Mandate HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes on freeways, and lower tolls for carpools.
- Discourage unnecessary auto use by eliminating free parking in non-residential areas well served by mass transit, and establish preferential parking rates for HOV.
- Regularly increase Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards to levels which truly challenge automakers to improve the state of the art, using the fuel economy performance of vehicles worldwide for reference. Eliminate the distinction between cars and light trucks, the footprint loophole, the E85 loophole and the 8500-pound exemption. Eliminate the perverse incentives for alternative fuels that increase the nation's petroleum consumption. Enact a Fee & Dividend system on the carbon content of gasoline, Diesel fuel and E85.
- Enact a fuel-economy-based Federal sales tax that creates a significant incentive for people to select more efficient vehicles, and for automakers to make them available in the United States.
- Lead by example, using government procurement to put more high-efficiency and alternative-fuel vehicles into service.
- Electrify truck stops, freight terminals and loading docks. Enact and enforce anti-idling regulations. Idling engines consume nearly a billion gallons of gasoline and Diesel fuel and emit ten million tons of carbon dioxide annually (2007 data).
- Encourage carpooling programs, telecommuting, and other creative solutions to reduce commuter traffic congestion.
- Remove the most-polluting vehicles from the road by requiring every vehicle to comply with the emission standards in effect when it was manufactured before issuing or renewing its license.
4. Air Travel
- Make airports accessible by local transit systems.
- Legislate further incremental reductions in airplane noise and air pollution.
- Emphasize the use of light and heavy rail for freight transportation.
We call for incentives to get long-distance truck hauling off of our highways and 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.
Greens will shift our nation toward clean production and principles of zero waste.
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 non-toxic alternatives.
- 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 Comunities At Risk Superfund Summit in Washington, DC. 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 color.
- 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: (a) toxics use reduction; (b) source reduction, reuse, clean recycling or composting /digestion; or (c) neutralization, sterilization or detoxification methods where applicable.
- 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 waste.
- 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 nuclear facilities.
- 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 and 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 clean air initiatives should advance and improve national efforts; for example, moving forward with stricter clean air and fuel efficiency standards, and with vehicle and fleet conversions.
GPUS recognizes the positive contributions for controlling ozone-destroying substances that have been made by the Montreal Protocol of 1987 and subsequent amendments thereto. Problems still exist, however. Some of the chemical replacements for CFCs also damage the ozone layer or are potent greenhouse gases. These include hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and Very Short-Lived Substances (VSLS) such as dichloromethane and other chlorine gases.
GPUS supports further research on the damaging effects of VSLS on the ozone layer and finding replacements for those causing destruction of ozone, and immediately phasing out their use. We call for updated amendments to the Montreal Protocol to keep it consistent with current scientific findings regarding threats to the ozone layer.
G. Land Use
Land use policies must promote sustainable development and respect ecology.
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 it. 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 sustainable.
Land ownership and property rights
- Insist that every property right has an implied responsibility to provide for the common good of people, places and the planet.
- 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.
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, under grounding of wires and pipelines, redevelopment of brown fields, 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.
Rural land use
- Preserve and expand rural land use patterns that promote open space, healthy ecosystems, 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 small-scale farmers and ranchers over large-scale corporate agriculture and ranching.
- 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. 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 pricing.
- We need strong national and international laws to 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 restricted. Implement strong laws to promote conservation, reclaim polluted water systems, develop water-supply restrictions, ban toxics and pesticide dumping, control corporate farming, and bring the rule of law to trans-state and trans-national operations that pollute water systems
- 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 borders.
Decisions about water must be based on an ecosystems approach. Use an ecosystems/watershed approach to ensure responsible water use. All stakeholders need to participate in the planning. Environmental justice, ecological impact, and depletion of groundwater supplies need to be integrated with the ongoing process for approval of new withdrawalsCycles 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 necessary.
- 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 and maintain passive and natural systems (such as wetlands) for water and wastewater treatment where appropriate, and enforce regulations against dumping of pollutants through regional Water Quality Control Boards.
- 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.
- Mandate water efficient appliances and fixtures be used in all new construction, and promote retrofitting of older buildings.
- Set health and sustainability water quality guidelines for drinking water supported by the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Regulations are needed or need improvement, for example, for arsenic, bacteria, viruses, protozoa, fluoridation chemical species such as fluoride and fluorosilicate, water disinfection-by-products, environmental estrogens, and pharmaceuticals (medicines).
Achieve a truly sustainable water policy in the light of climate change considering, for example, snow packs, aquifer recharge, rising sea levels, and available water supplies.
Oppose the disproportional political influences of the petroleum, corporate agriculture, mining, timber, real estate and development industries, while working to support family farms, open space, the protection of water quality in our rivers, conservation of watersheds, and the sustainable use and preservation of healthy forest.
- Integrate land use with water use for urban planning decisions. Political bodies, such as municipal water authorities, need to be more inclusive in the representation of users, hydrologists, environmental health professionals, and environmental advocates in the region and address the issues affecting the regional supply and demand of the resource, as well as water quality. Presently, the interests and concerns of real estate and development interests have a disproportionate voice in new allocations.
- Ensure that municipal water and water systems are publicly owned, publicly sourced from the cleanest natural sources possible, obtained and discharged without harming the bioregion's ecosystem, transported using safe, uncontaminated systems and materials, and treated using scientific methods to render water uncontaminated and safe to drink without health hazard. Promptly assess and replace lead pipes in the nation's municipal infrastructure. Comprehensive water testing and analysis that includes a wide range of contaminants and radioactivity should be done throughout the municipality and the results published promptly and publicly. Public health issues should promptly inform and coincide with water testing. Using privatized, bottled water to substitute for a contaminated public water supply is unacceptable. Since water is a human right, all humans within the municipality should have full access to affordable, clean, uncontaminated water from the municipal water system for basic needs at all times and without threat of shut-off.
- It is imperative that we protect the waters and shorelines of the Great Lakes, and Greens strongly urge the following actions:
- Allocate funds to help upgrade and phase out aging municipal sewage systems and treatment plants, have mandatory inspections, and allow for composting and greywater system alternatives to septic systems.
- Prohibit municipalities from dumping sewage into the Great Lakes with a “zero discharge” mandate.
- Set clear and enforceable deadlines and standards for reducing nutrient runoff from agricultural lands.
- Devise and implement a plan to stop the release of flame retardants and other toxins into the Great Lakes without further delay.
- Immediately decommission and shut down the aging Enbridge Line 5 oil and gas pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac as it poses an unacceptable risk to the waters of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.
- Prevent the opening of a new sulfide mining district in northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula to protect the waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior from the inevitable pollution that would be caused by acid mine drainage from such mining.
- Require ocean-going freighters to filter or treat their ballast water to meet high environmentally protective standards.
- Close the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.
- Stop the dumping of toxins by petroleum refineries into the Great Lakes by making it unlawful. Such dumping is currently allowed and administered by the EPA through the purchase of permits or licenses.
- Have the Federal government buy and protect more undeveloped areas of Great Lakes coastlines by designating them as National Lakeshores.
- Encourage the planting of buffer strips of vegetation to act as natural filters of toxins and contaminants, prevent erosion, and provide species habitat between waterways and developed land.
- Allocate funds to help upgrade and phase out aging municipal sewage systems and treatment plants, have mandatory inspections, and allow for composting and greywater system alternatives to septic systems.
Food is a necessity and a fundamental human right. All people have a right to adequate, safe, nutritional and high quality food; and those who grow it have a right to a fair return for their labor.
The United States' industrialized agriculture system is highly destructive of our environment, of our people's health, and of our society's future. Unless it changes radically, we face desertification, ecosystem collapse, mass extinctions, and starvation. Our civilization itself is threatened by the loss of the ecosystem services on which it depends for its existence. moreover, agriculture is the high-order term in climate change, not only because of the amount of carbon it contributes to the atmosphere, but more importantly because of the vital role it could play in sequestering carbon and restoring a healthy carbon cycle.
"Regenerative Agriculture," also called "Agroecology" refers to a suite of holistic principles and methods that together have the proven potential to rapidly restore our rural and natural environments to full health, sequestering vast quantities of carbon, restoring ecological balance and biodiversity, building soil, and reversing desertification, all while producing more food of a higher quality. It also has the potential to restore agricultural communities to economic independence and security.
The principles of regenerative agriculture are promoted by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO) and by an increasing number of academic institutions involved in agricultural and sustainability research. In addition to its positive environmental effects, the adoption of regenerative agriculture throughout the food system will put a stop to unethical confined animal operations, improve the diversity and nutritional content of our food, and rationalize the pricing and distribution of food.
- We call for legislation that assists new and existing farmers and ranchers to convert their operations to regenerative agricultural methods that promote widespread ownership of small and medium-sized farms and ranches, and that revitalizes and repopulates rural communities and promotes sustainable development and stewardship.
- We call for legislation that recognizes, through appropriate regulation, foods that are produced using regenerative methods, including no-till/minimum till, natural soil building techniques, development of natural soil biomes, and set-asides for wildlife alongside cultivated areas.
- We advocate regionalizing our food system and decentralizing agriculture lands, 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 Certification Standards, for example). We advocate shifting price supports and government subsidies to organic, regeneratively produced 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 in favor of Integrated Pest Management techniques as part of a regenerative approach to biodiversity in the rural ecosystem.
- 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 food system.
- 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 production.
- Because of the tremendous amount of energy used in agriculture, we support farm subsidies to encourage the transition from dirty fuels to regenerative, no-till practices that use clean renewable energy as one of the most effective ways to move our country to a sustainable future.
- We encourage states to promote net-metering to make decentralized energy production economically viable, with subsidies to farm operations transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
- Animal farming must be practiced in ethically and environmentally sustainable ways. We support a rapid phase out of confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and a complete transition to an integrated, regenerative agriculture approach to the cultivation, treatment, and use of livestock, not only for environmental reasons, but also for the sake of food safety (e.g. disease epidemics), public health, and animal protection.
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 cumulative interactions.
Most importantly, we support the growing international demand to eliminate patent rights for genetic material, life forms, gene-splicing techniques, and bio-chemicals 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. 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), whether organic standards were met, whether regenerative methods were employed in cultivation, and the country of origin.
- We support the restoration of farmlands to African American families who have been discriminated against and who have lost, or are about to lose, their farms as a result. Greens will work for a meaningful remedy to restore African American farmers' unencumbered ownership of their land.
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 maintain themselves.
- 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 rights.
- We encourage, and support public access to, seed banks and seed collections that emphasize traditional and heirloom seeds.
- We call for widespread 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 stocks.
- We encourage the use of diverse natural seed varieties passed down over many generations. Crops can be grown with the best plants' seeds being saved season to season.
- We oppose international trade agreements (NAFTA, GATT and the WTO in particular) 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 have been eradicated, eliminating predator control on public lands, and reintroducing native predators where they would contribute to a viable ecosystem.
- We should educate ourselves about animal behaviors to overcome our culture's irrational fear of wildlife, and learn techniques of co-existence with other species.
- 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.
- Support an executable and enforceable international agreement that preserves existing biodiversity, and mitigates biodiversity loss during the ongoing 6th Mass Extinction, but also works to repair our fractured, shrinking biodiversity in order to ensure overall health of the biosphere using a framework similar to that of the Montreal Protocol (See Chapter III.N. for more detail).
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. Expand the Animal Welfare Act to include rats, mice, and birds.
- 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.
- Mandate 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 sale of exotic or endangered animals, as well as the use and sale of goods produced from them.
- 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, abuse, and neglect of animals in entertainment and sports.
- Oppose captivity of cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises) for entertainment and/or commercial profit. End the capture and exploitation of cetaceans for entertainment purposes in marine parks and aquariums and captive breeding programs to maintain entertainment stock. Support funding for the development of sanctuaries for cetaceans which may be transitional or permanent depending on the evaluation of the cetaceans involved.
- Encourage a plant-based diet to reduce methane gas emissions that contribute to climate change, reduce animal suffering, reduce animal waste runoff in waterways, reduce animal consumption of grain that could feed the impoverished, and for improved health, among other reasons.
- Prohibit the practice of tethering domesticated animals outdoors in extreme weather, as well as leaving domesticated animals outdoors during such weather without adequate shelter. Extreme weather includes but is not limited to below freezing temperatures, temperatures above 85℉ (30℃), hurricanes, thunderstorms, and tornados.
- Ban the sale, production, import, and export of “foie gras” and any other products that are the result of force feeding.
- Ban the sale, production, import and export of animal furs.
- Place an immediate ban on the practice of declawing, which is immensely harmful and traumatic surgery which involves the amputation of part of an animal’s limbs. Declawing can have health determinants including painful paws, infection, and tissue death as well as behavioral issues such as aggression and/or improper soiling.
- Legalize and fund the practice of trap and release (TNR) of feral, domesticated animals for the purpose of spay and neutering by programs run by licensed veterinarians at any public or private animal shelter, releasing agency, hospital, or clinic.
- Ban the practice of horse racing, greyhound racing, pig racing, and all other situations where animals are commercially raced. Place an immediate ban on the use of whips in horse racing and steeplechase.
- Ban the use of animals in circuses and call for their re-homing to their natural habitats where possible, otherwise to conservational zoos or sanctuaries.
- Require that all zoos and private collections of non-domesticated animals must be for the purposes of conservation and rehabilitation or providing sanctuary for those animals unable to be released back into their natural habitat.
- Guarantee that public buildings that serve food such as schools, jails and hospitals participate in the practice of "Green Monday" – where all foods served on one day of the week does not contain animal products and byproducts – to provide ethical, healthier, and climate friendly meals one day out of each week.
L. Forestry Practices
From oxygen production to water conservation to carbon sinks to stratospheric ozone regulation to medicines and homes for all kinds of creatures, forests are indispensable to human and animal life and must be protected.
Globally, the planet has already lost 50% of our pre-colonial forests and the plant and animal communities they supported. Our rapidly increasing numbers, high-consumption rates, and profit incentives have resulted in massive forest destruction due to logging and development, and the Earth's remaining rain forests are being destroyed and transformed into cattle pastures or mono-crops for bio-fuels production.
The increase in tree die-off in the U.S. and elsewhere in the last few decades is alarming. The causes are multiple: pests, diseases, climate change, acid rain, other forms of pollution, and increased UV radiation due to our thinned ozone layer.
In our Eastern woodlands, for example, the normal pre-pollution background mortality rate would be 0.5 to 0.7% per year. That translates to the death of one tree out of 100 living trees each year. Anything over a 2 or 3% mortality rate per year is considered a disaster. Yet, we are now witnessing local tree die-offs of 30 to 40% and even higher!
The fact is that the pollution inherent to our industrial production and lifestyles has weakened the resistance of the interconnected ecosystems we call forests. Malnourished due to acid rain's destruction of their roots, and bombarded by unusually high UV radiation, our forests are falling victim to a host of diseases and pests. Forestry practices such as clearcutting also destroy the mycorrhizal fungi with which trees have a symbiotic relationship, and regeneration is slowed or impossible.
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 landuse 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 rainforest, and their ecologically sound use of the forest, such as rubber extraction, nut gathering, and collecting medicinal herbs. End the importation of rainforest 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 wildlife habitats, fisheries, biodiversity, scenery, and recreation. We must accept responsibility for the affect local actions have on the global economy and ecology.
Mandate that all U.S. Government offices use 100% post-consumer waste paper processed chlorine free, and that any new fiber necessary to the process come from alternative sources such as hemp or kenaf. Where recycled paper is inappropriate, such as for archival quality paper, high quality fiber such as hemp should be the primary source.
- Ban all clearcutting on publicly owned lands and in privately owned "old-growth" forests, and strictly regulate clearcutting in private sector commercial forestry.
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, over fishing, factory fishing, bottom trawling, by catch, 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 liquefied 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 as these methods entangle whales and other sea life. Phase out factory trawling which decimates coral reefs and other oceanic ecosystems. Ban the importation of fish and fish products from countries that use drift-nets and other illegal means.
- Map undersea toxic dump sites, and investigate methods of rendering them harmless.
- 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.
- Support an international agreement for the full cleanup of all plastic waste currently in our oceans, with a focus on heavily polluted international waters and environmentally sensitive ecosystems in areas like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and the Great Barrier Reef.
- Require ropeless fishing gear when taking any species of fish for commercial or recreational purposes in any trap fishery, including, but not limited to: Dungeness crab, spiny lobster, and spot prawn.
- Ban the practice of fish farming as these methods require vast amounts of antibiotics, which if leached into nearby waterways pose a danger to the health and well-being of wildlife and humans. Ban the importation of fish grown on fish farms.
N. International Environmental Policy
GPUS believes that an international agreement should be reached which sets (1) an executable and enforceable framework for keeping Earth well within its 7 measurable planetary boundaries (currently including climate change, biosphere integrity, land-system change, freshwater use, biogeochemical flows, ocean acidification, and stratospheric ozone depletion) (2) an executable and enforceable framework for the designation of at least 50% of the planet as a nature reserve and (3) international protections, funding, and legal personhood to large swaths of wildlands like the Brazilian Amazon and Nile River, including rivers longer than 1,500 km and wildlands larger than 1,000,000 acres.
GPUS supports the addition of the crime of ecocide to the Rome Statute which created and empowers the International Criminal Court. The definition drafted by a team of lawyers commissioned by the Stop Ecocide Foundation should be taken as a starting point, with refinements added to hold corporations and governments accountable for ecocide committed by their individual agents. GPUS calls on the US and the international community to adopt and enforce strong language on defining ecocide, and vigorous and comprehensive enforcement of that language.
O. Rights of Nature
We support the adoption of local, state, and federal laws which recognize the legal rights of natural communities and ecosystems – including wetlands, streams, rivers, aquifers, and other water systems – to exist, flourish, regenerate, naturally evolve, and be restored. We support the inclusion in those laws of the ability of people and communities to file legal actions in the name of the affected natural community or ecosystem, and for courts to require restoration of the natural community or ecosystem back to its pre-damaged state.