December 30th, Lexington, Massachusetts
Despite the claims of a new climate accord in Paris, U.S. political leaders have continued to promote a massive expansion of greenhouse gas emissions while scores were killed this weekend by extreme weather.
“The Obama administration has given us a lot of hot air over climate change. While world leaders in Paris were proclaiming the end of the era of fossil fuels, Obama was giving the green light to a major pipeline project exporting fracked gas and signed off on a Congressional deal to lift the ban on exporting oil,” noted Dr. Jill Stein, who is seeking the Green Party nomination for President.
Stein is calling for a Green New Deal to create an emergency transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030. The plan includes public control and ownership of a decentralized energy system while ensuring jobs and equity for existing fossil fuel workers and communities most impacted by climate change. This transition pays for itself in savings from public health impacts alone, given the enormous economic benefits of preventing asthma, heart attacks, strokes, cancer and other diseases tied to fossil fuel pollution.
Stein said her plan would also fund the Green New Deal with a carbon fee, a financial transaction tax, and cuts in military spending. Massive reductions in military spending would be enabled by the new era of renewable energy that makes wars for oil obsolete. These catastrophic wars of the past decade and a half cost approximately $6 trillion dollars, or $75,000 per household.
Dr. Stein’s plan also calls for an immediate halt to any further investments in fossil fuels (including natural gas) and related infrastructure.
“Extreme weather driven by climate change will kill more and more people and force hundreds of millions to migrate, while wrecking our economy. Renewable energy in contrast will create millions of jobs, improve our health, and lower electric costs compared to burning fossil fuels. Politicians are delaying needed action to protect the profits of the fossil fuel industry,” added Stein.
At least 43 Americans died over the Christmas holiday weekend due to flash floods and tornadoes. Tornadoes were reported in 10 states, including Michigan, which recorded its first-ever tornado in December, and Texas, where at least 11 people died. Meanwhile, heat records were broken from Maine to Georgia. England is experiencing record flooding; the Mississippi River is poised to set winter flooding records; and 100,000 people were displaced by flooding in South America.
The lifting of the oil export ban will result in more carbon pollution each year than 108 million additional passenger cars or 135 coal-fired power plants. The increase in extraction -- primarily from fracking -- will lead to an increase in transportation from the oil fields to the coast, which means more pipelines and oil bomb trains.
Stein noted that the Gulf Trace Pipeline, secretively approved by the Obama administration, will ship fracked natural gas into Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass LNG export terminal in Louisiana. Natural gas, or methane, is 87 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide in the short term. Expanding the use of natural gas will invariably lead to greater leakage. One such massive methane leak is currently underway in California.
Stein concluded, “If we are going avert climate catastrophe we need a President that puts the welfare of the American people and the planet over the profits of the fossil fuel industry.”