FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Syracuse, NY – July 1, 2020) Howie Hawkins, the presumptive Green Party nominee for President, said today that the modest climate plan proposed by House Democrats failed to treat the climate crisis as a true emergency.
Hawkins, the initial proponent in the U.S. of a Green New Deal in his 2010 Green Party campaign for Governor of New York, has called for zero greenhouse emissions by 2030 combined with an Economic Bill of Rights, including a living-wage job guarantee, a guaranteed income above poverty, affordable housing, and Medicare for All.
Hawkins especially faulted the Democrat Party’s continuing refusal to ban fracking and halt new fossil fuel infrastructure. He condemned the plan’s heavy reliance on carbon capture and sequestration in order to continue using fossil fuels and carbon-emitting biofuels.
“Obama gave us an All-of-the-Above energy policy, which made the US the world’s top producer of oil and gas by fracking the hell out of the country. Now the Democrats propose an Almost-All-of-the-Above energy policy, which after a leisurely 30-year transition, would still have a high level of greenhouse gas emissions, especially from industrial processes,” noted Hawkins. The Democrats’ plan calls for an 88% reduction below 2010 emission levels by 2050, which is still well above zero emissions.
“The Democrats are not focused on saving civilization for future generations on the planet. Instead, they want to dole out public payments to private interests in the energy field and subsidize their drive for profits. Capitalism’s competition-driven compulsion for boundless growth is devouring nature and driving dangerous climate change. It needs to be replaced with an ecosocialist economic democracy based on public enterprise and planning to meet our basic needs within ecological limits,” added Hawkins.
As president, Hawkins said he would focus on expanding mass transit rather than private vehicles. He would move the Democrats’ timeline for 100% zero-emission vehicles to 2025 as Norway and others have done. He would amend building codes to require zero emissions and replace gas and oil heating with heat pumps. He would hire 4 million people for a revived Civilian Conservation Corps to replace oil and gas heating with heat pumps and to restore carbon-sequestering forests and other natural habitats. He would replace industrialized corporate farms with family farms practicing organic regenerative agriculture that restores carbon to the soil.
“It is nice to see the Democrats catching up with the Greens and other climate activists to support the call for environmental justice and a Just Transition. Like most of the report, the Democrats just give this issue lip service and don’t invest the resources needed to help the Global South survive the climate crisis that the rich nations have caused,” added Hawkins.
Hawkins’ has released a budget for an ecosocialist Green New Deal that would invest $27.5 trillion over ten years to achieve zero-to-negative emissions and 100% clean energy by 2030. Hawkins would fund his Green New Deal with a 75% cut in the military budget, higher taxes on the rich, a robust carbon tax starting at least $40 a ton (with a rebate to low- and moderate-income Americans), and public borrowing. He said in the long run the massive public investment will pay for itself through the sale of public goods and services produced by Green New Deal factories, power plants, public housing, urban mass transit, high-speed passenger rail, and electrified freight rail.
Hawkins stated the taking 30 years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions substantially was far too slow to avoid climate collapse. He noted that all the prior IPCC climate reports have significantly underestimated the speed and severity of climate change.
With the economy depressed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hawkins said, “Our full-strength Green New Deal is now needed for economic recovery as well as climate recovery.”