Help Us Pass the Ecosocialist Green New Deal Amendment!

Contact your state party and urge your Green Party US National Committee Delegates to vote YES!

State Party/Committee Contacts:

Illinois Green Party – AJ Reed, co-chair ILGP, ajreed2112@gmail.com

DC Statehood Green Party – David Schwartzman, dschwartzman@gmail.com 

Green Party of New Jersey – Tom Violett, Monmouth County Chair, tomviolett@gmail.com 

Green Party of Colorado – Andrea Mérida Cuéllar, interim co-chair GPCO, andrea@coloradogreenparty.org

GPUS EcoAction Committee – Mark Dunlea, co-chair EcoAction, dunleamark@aol.com

The cosponsors of this proposed platform amendment followed their respective processes to authorize cosponsorship.

  • Green Party of Colorado: approval by state council vote on September 22, 2021
  • Illinois Green Party: On 9/19/21, the Illinois Green Party approved by consensus co-sponsoring Howie Hawkins’ amendment to update the Green New Deal section of the GPUS Platform. Vote is recorded in section 18 of the minutes from the ILGP’s 9/19/21 Coordinating Committee.
  • DC Statehood Green Party: cosponsorship approved by Steering Committee on September 27, 2021
  • Green Party of New Jersey: cosponsorship approved by Executive Council on September 29, 2021.
  • GPUS EcoAction Committee: cosponsorship approved by the committee on Friday, September 24, 2021

Author Contact:

Howie Hawkins

PO Box 562

Syracuse, NY 13205

(315) 425-1019

Chapter and Letter of Plank being addressed: III. Ecological Sustainability, A: Climate Change

Current language, proposed and other commentary

Additional Commentary:

Background

The two purposes of this proposed substitute plank for the Green New Deal in the platform of the Green Party of the United States are:

  1. To bring together in one place a clear statement of all the climate justice and economic justice policies and programs we have called for under our signature program over the last decade: the Green New Deal
  2. To distinguish the Green Party’s Ecosocialist Green New Deal from the progressive Democrats’ Keynesian Green New Deal, which relies on tax breaks, subsidies, and contracts with the private sector. These policies that are incapable of making the rapid clean energy transition we need. The progressive Democrats’ Green New Deal has also diluted the Greens’ Green New Deal by dropping the halt to fracking and new fossil fuel infrastructure, eliminating the phase out of nuclear power, not supporting deep cuts to military spending to help pay for the Green New Deal, and extending the deadline for zero emissions by two decades from 2030 to 2050.

We have not endeavored to rework the entire ecological sustainability section, which repeats itself, including policies covered by the Green New Deal. Repetition is not the worst problem here. What needs correction are obsolete dates and numbers, which we hope are obvious editing that the platform committee can make on its own.

Current Language Being Addressed:

  1. Climate Change

OUR POSITION

Greens want to stop runaway climate change, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions at least 40% by 2020 and 95% by 2050, over 1990 levels.

Climate change is the gravest environmental, social and economic peril that humanity has ever met. Across the world, it is causing vanishing polar ice, melting glaciers, growing deserts, stronger storms, rising oceans, less biodiversity, deepening droughts, as well as more disease, hunger, strife and human misery. It is a tragedy unfolding in slow motion.

Greenhouse gases warm the Earth by trapping heat in the atmosphere. Much of that heat is initially absorbed by the ocean, creating roughly a 30-year delay in the impact of that heat at the surface of the planet. Practically speaking, that means that the melting glaciers and expanding deserts of 2009 were the result of greenhouse gases dumped into the atmosphere in the late 1970s, when the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was below 350 parts per million (ppm). To return to a safe level of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere, we must reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases as quickly as possible to levels that existed before 1980, to 350ppm carbon dioxide.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.”

Proposed New Language

  1. Climate Change

Ecosocialist Green New Deal

The Green Party calls for an Ecosocialist Green New Deal to achieve 100% clean energy, and 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 3.6 million years when temperatures were 4°C (7°F) hotter and sea levels were 24 meters (78 feet) higher than today.

The 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 to turn industry on a dime into 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 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 plant and equipment is profitable.

The 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 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

The 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. The 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 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.

Electrified Transportation

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.

Ecological Manufacturing

Build a public manufacturing system that can rebuild manufacturing in the US 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 to electric arc 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.

Regenerative Agriculture

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.

Public Broadband

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 for 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, the 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. The 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 ecological 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. 

Just Transition

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 was 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 was 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 was 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 revenues 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. 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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—The 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 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, the 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 time 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—The Greens favor the creation of public banks at the local, state, and federal level 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.