Jill Stein on Energy & Oil
Green Party presidential nominee; Former Challenger for MA Governor
Clinton: Yes on both: "an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time." Supports EPA coal plant restrictions.
Trump: No on both. "Climate change is a hoax." "Cancel Paris climate agreement." Opposes EPA coal plant restrictions.
Johnson: Humans probably cause climate change, but not the role of government to regulate.
Stein: Yes on both. "Halt any investment in fossil fuel infrastructure."
Q: On Climate change: Support renewable energy subsidies?
Trump: No. Let market decide.
Johnson: Unclear. In 2012 endorsed a resolution for renewable tax credits, more recently said wouldn't subsidize wind energy.
Stein: Yes. Enact an emergency Green New Deal.
DR. JILL STEIN: Yes, nuclear material in the hands of terrorists is a very dangerous thing. This is yet another reason why nuclear power and nuclear power plants and their proliferation around the world is an intolerable threat, not only because of the nuclear weapons that can be made from their materials once they have been used, but also because of the inherent dangers of nuclear power, particularly in the era of climate change. In our country, we have something like 16 nuclear power plants which are located at sea level. Right now, we could see as much as nine feet of sea level rise as soon as 2050, which means that our 16 or so nuclear power plants are all going Fukushima.
STEIN: 2030 is doable--it is a political problem. It cannot be done unless we have essentially declared a climate emergency. And I would cite, for example, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, where we converted our economy from essentially zero percent of GDP focused on wartime production to 25% of GDP within the course of six months. It was a massive national mobilization predicated on the understanding that this was a national emergency.
Q: So are you saying that we should be spending 25% of GDP on this energy transition?
STEIN: No, what I'm saying is that we have done remarkable things when we understand that we have a true national emergency. And I think Pearl Harbor and the Second World War was a national emergency. I think what we're facing right now is an equivalent national emergency.
STEIN: It was, perhaps, a symbolic victory to have all these countries signing on, but the time for symbolism is long gone. We have a world that is going up in flames right now, and we need real emergency action. COP 21 is voluntary and, even if completely fulfilled, would still lead to a temperature rise of well over 2 degrees Celsius [the point at which irreversible climate change will take place, say scientists], perhaps somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.5 to 4 degrees. Worse, there's no enforcement mechanism. We need to go far beyond COP 21, but we see our government's actions as just another example of how it has been hijacked in the interest of the fossil-fuel industry. So while the Democrats pay lip service to the climate crisis, what they actually do is something entirely different.
As Stein puts it: "The Green New Deal is not only a major step towards ending unemployment for good, but also a tool to fight the corporate takeover of our democracy and exploitation of the poor and people of color. Our transition to 100% clean energy will be based on community, worker and public ownership of our energy system, rather than maximizing profits for energy corporations, banks and hedge funds. We need to treat clean energy as a human right and a common good."
Only our campaign is calling for an immediate halt in all new fossil fuel infrastructure and exploration, and an emergency transition to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030.
A: I transitioned into doing climate work because from my knowledge of science and how you read the data, I certainly share the perspective that we can't take a single day for granted--that we have to work as fast as humanly possible to completely zero out climate emissions, but we have to do more than that as well. Restoring ecosystem resilience is part of the Green New Deal, which we don't often talk about because we're usually focused on the headlines: energy, transportation and food. Those are the big three for climate emissions, and they're critical for economic security, so that's kind of where the focus is.
STEIN: Instead of fighting wars for oil, America will be leading the fight to put an end to climate change. In Afghanistan and Iraq, we have spent about $5 trillion. We have seen thousands and thousands of American lives lost, hundreds of thousands of civilian lives lost, about a trillion dollars a year being spent on a massive, bloated military-industrial-security budget. Instead, we need to cut that military budget, rightsize it to year 2000 levels, and build true security here at home, bringing our war dollars home.
A: This is another reason why we're running the campaign now--because if you follow the science, we don't have four years to wait. We really have to start tackling this now. It's really important for the climate and it's time that people put their politics where their values and science argue they ought to be. I think Obama supporters are really having a rude awakening right now. The US, as you know, is the largest per capita contributor to climate change and the direction the US pushes goes a long way toward determining what the rest of the world does, and from that perspective, dramatically downscaling carbon emissions goes a long way toward determining the global carbon budget and helps move global policy that way.
A: The current science confirms the cynics here. When you do full life-cycle accounting of it, it is not a cleaner fuel, and is very carbon intensive. Add into that all the impacts on water and we do not want to be going there.
Q: Would you support a national ban on fracking?
A: Absolutely. We should not be opening up new lines of carbon right now, like shale gas and shale oil, as well as tar sands oil, and we just cannot go there right now if we do not want to go over the climate cliff. We're looking at 5-6 degrees Celsius increases of warming by the end of century and that's just not survivable. People need to hear the truth about that. Already, the US has been pulled back in their climate understanding by intense propaganda campaign, but even so, they're seeing it right now, with the droughts and the floods and the hurricanes and all that.
A: Our job is to do the right thing in both the climate emergency and not let the public relations campaigns of the various fossil fuel interests confuse our thinking--because they're hyped up. Take, for example, carbon sequestration: there's really no evidence for it whatsoever that it's going to do the job, and it just so happens that it puts billions of dollars into the pockets of coal companies. This is just an exercise in influence peddling.
Q: They're not based on science, is what you're saying?
A: Exactly. They're not based on science or even sound economics, because the economics behind the carbon trade and carbon markets looks to be as problematic as hedge funds.
Q: So, what is the alternative?
A: It's not carbon and not nuclear. It needs to be clean. A lot of it has to do with redirecting our economy to less carbon intensive, relocalized versions of the economy.
For that reason the Green New Deal will address these problems with a World War II-scale mobilization to transform the way we produce and use energy. We will provide leadership along the way to binding international agreements that will return the carbon burden in our atmosphere to safe levels. We will proceed with utmost urgency, and put the United States 30 years ahead of the global curve. Let the rest of the world catch up with us!
A: We're pretty clearly on record here for renewables--this is a win-win, not only for our economy and the environment, but also for national security. This makes expensive wars for oil obsolete - this has a double yield for our economy.
We want to look at public transportation options as well as the means of a sustainable food supply AND the sources of energy. Put those together with physical exercise integrated into our community life and you drastically undercut Homeland Security costs.
For every job that exists in the fossil fuel sector you can create three jobs in the renewable sector. This is a bonanza for job creation as well.
A: Yes, but those alternatives should be renewable clean energy, not nuclear. Nuclear energy is dirty, dangerous and expensive, and should be precluded on all of those counts. The Fukushima [nuclear disaster] is the ongoing example. There is no safe nuclear energy. You can put in in someone else's backyard or even on the other side of the world--but we're all endangered by it. And we don't need it: Renewables are less expensive. Nuclear power would never survive on a free open market. It can only survive with tens of billions $of taxpayer loan guarantees.
Biomass energy is not carbon neutral. To supply the proposed biomass plants, logging would need to dramatically increase. And this would provide only a tiny fraction of our current energy use, since wood is a low energy-content fuel, and combustion for electricity generation is an inefficient technology. Any logging on a scale sufficient to make a significant dent in our energy problem would be detrimental to forest and soil health, producing soil compaction and soil erosion. This makes it doubtful that logged forests would achieve the 'regrowth' needed for the carbon neutrality claim.
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