Talking Points / Briefing for Green Party candidates

One of the purposes of EcoAction is to assist Green Party candidates in their electoral efforts.

Below we have pulled together information  about issues we are working on, particularly climate. We are also available to answer questions and help with research.

Climate Action

Below is information from the existing national Green Party platform ( A more detailed proposal based on an ecosocialist Green New Deal (as Howie Hawkins initially proposed in 2010) is being voted upon by the GP national committee.

Besides advocating for an ecosocialist Green New Deal (zero emissions within a decade, an Economic Bill of Rights), the EcoAction committee has endorsed a series of Executive Orders that the President should issue to treat climate as an emergency and to move forward on climate action without the need for additional Congressional approval (see

Key points to make:

  • the window to avoid climate collapse is rapidly running out; we need to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees C. We are now expected to exceed that temperature globally at least in one year within the next five years. (See UN Chief remarks on latest IPCC report)

  • the safe limit of carbon in the atmosphere is 350 parts per million. We are over 420 and raising climate action is healthy. About 10 million people worldwide annually are killed by air pollution, about half of that from fossil fuel plants.

  • climate action will lower power costs and create jobs. One of the biggest challenges in the clean energy transition is training enough workers.

  • we need a different world, one where the well-being of the many (the 99%) is put ahead of the greed and wealth of the 1%.

EcoAction drafted a series of news releases within the last 18 months for the national party on the need for climate action

What Can Green Party candidates call for:

There are many individual proposals on how to respond to global warming. The big one for the Greens is the Green New Deal (GND). The Green platform supports other measures such as an immediate halt of new fossil fuels; a ban on fracking; support for regenerative agriculture (to put carbon back into the soil) and other nature based solutions.

The Greens support increased funding for environmental justice and Just Transition (ensuring that the needs of workers and communities presently dependent on fossil fuels are adequate met). While the latter two issues have been adopted by many democrats and most climate groups, their actual proposals (e.g., 40% of climate funding should go to disadvantaged communities) are so full of exceptions and loopholes that to date they have not been effective. Related to a Just Transition is requiring strong labor standards in the clean energy build out.

The two biggest sources of emissions in the US are transportation and buildings (heat and cooling in particular). While the Greens support quickly ending the sale and use of vehicles that use fossil fuels, even more critical is the expansion of mass transit and promotion of other car-free alternatives (e.g., bicycling and walking). NYC recently required all new buildings to be gas free by 2024, something many cities are also doing. Funding is needed to help buildings become carbon free (better insulation, energy efficiency, use of solar, geothermal / heat pumps).

Here is a roadmap to what local governments have done on climate. The City of Ithaca has a Green New Deal to raise $100 million to finance the decarbonization of all the buildings in the city (including private).

How do the Greens differ from even progressive Democrats like AOC on the GND?

  • the Greens call for an immediate halt to new fossil fuel infrastructure and fracking;

  • the Greens call for at least a 50% cut in the military budget to pay for the GND;

  • the Greens support a 10 year timeline to zero emissions, not 30 years (2050);

  • This ecosocialist approach features extensive public ownership and planning, particularly in the energy, transportation, and manufacturing sectors, in order to achieve its goals in a decade.

  • the Greens are explicitly anti-nuclear;

  • the leadership of the Democratic Party are heavily invested in corporate boondoggles such as carbon capture and sequestration.

Existing Green Party Platform on climate (overview)

Note: below is the introduction. There are more details in the platform.

Greens support science-based policies to curb climate change. We have an ambitious plan to make drastic changes quickly to avert global catastrophe. We will expend maximum effort to preserve a planet friendly to life as we know it by curtailing greenhouse gas emissions and actively removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

  1. Enact an emergency Green New Deal to turn the tide on climate change, revive the economy and make wars for oil obsolete. Initiate a WWII-scale national mobilization to halt climate change, the greatest threat to humanity in our history. Create 20 million jobs by transitioning to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030, and investing in public transit, sustainable agriculture, conservation and restoration of critical infrastructure, including ecosystems.

  2. Implement a Just Transition that empowers those communities and workers most impacted by climate change and the transition to a green economy. Ensure that any worker displaced by the shift away from fossil fuels will receive full income and benefits as they transition to alternative work.

  3. Enact energy democracy based on public, community and worker ownership of our energy system. Treat energy as a human right.

  4. Redirect research funds from fossil fuels into renewable energy and conservation. Build a nationwide smart electricity grid that can pool and store power from a diversity of renewable sources, giving the nation clean, democratically-controlled, energy.

  5. End destructive energy extraction and associated infrastructure: fracking, tar sands, offshore drilling, oil trains, mountaintop removal, natural gas pipelines, and uranium mines. Halt any investment in fossil fuel infrastructure, including natural gas, and phase out all fossil fuel power plants. Phase out nuclear power and end nuclear subsidies. End all subsidies for fossil fuels and impose a greenhouse gas fee / tax to charge polluters for the damage they have created.”

Carbon Fee and Dividend

Most economists believe that charging those who use fossils fuels for the damage they cause (IMF estimates about $5 trillion a year) is the most effective way to speed up the transition to 100% clean emissions.

The Green Party platform states: Enact a Fee & Dividend system on fossil fuels to enable the free market to include the environmental costs of their extraction and use.

Note that the platform does not specify the level of the dividend. The Citizens Climate Lobby advocates for a 100% dividend, both to offset the regressive nature of any energy tax and to build public support. Polls however show that using at least some of the revenue to support building renewables leads to greater support for a carbon tax, especially among republican.

A carbon fee (or tax) is different from cap and trade, which is more widely condemned for being subject to Wall Street speculation and allows polluters to continue to pollute – particularly in low-income and communities of color – in exchange for investing in actions elsewhere (e.g., tree planting) to reduce emissions (in practice, that has often failed). (Why EJ groups oppose carbon offsets)

Oppose Nuclear power

The Green Party remains opposed to nuclear power.

New nuclear power plants would take too long to build to assist in cutting emissions in the time frame needed.

From Platform - 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.

Avoid False Climate Solutions

From Platform - 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.

An overview of false climate solutions.

Stop Single Use Plastics

The fossil fuel industry is rapidly shifting its focus to plastic production. Plastic is on track to outpace coal's greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. by 2030. has good background information on single use plastics. Includes a link to false solutions to plastics and recycling (note: only 5 to 6% of plastics are recycled in the US)

One issue that has popped up in many states in proposed Extended Producer Responsibility laws. The concept is very good – make those who produce waste responsible for its ultimate disposal, including costs. However, it is the waste industry which has developed model legislation that is greenwashing while giving waste producers like Coke and Pepsi to be in charge of the new regulations. Many groups have supported their proposals because it would provide some funding to support municipal recycling programs. EPR needs to include strong goals focused first on reducing the amount of waste generated. Background on EPR from Beyond Plastics

The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act is best federal legislation to make meaningful reductions in the amount of plastic pollution the U.S.

Oppose Garbage Incineration

GP platform: 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.

Some background. Incineration is very expensive and often provides a financial penalty to recycling. It does not eliminate landfilling. It is the major source of heavy metals and other contaminants (e.g., dioxin) in the environment.

Rights of Nature

EcoAction has proposed the following platform addition: 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.

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