September 26, 2020

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Hawkins Slams House Energy Bill for Promoting Fossil Fuels and Nukes

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for President, criticized the Energy Bill (HR 4447) passed by the House this week as a continuation of the Democrats’ promotion of continued use of fossil fuels, which ignores the dangers of rapidly accelerating climate change, including its disproportionate impact on low-income minority communities.

“Democrats such as Biden, Pelosi, and Cuomo not only advocate a 30-plus-year go-slow approach to cut emissions, they actually promote fossil fuels, including wasting massive corporate welfare payments to promote carbon capture technology. Progressive Democrats in Congress like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) took the Green New Deal, the signature policy of the Green Party in the 2010s, and gutted it by rejecting the Green demand for immediate ban on fracking and a halt to new fossil fuel infrastructure and by extending the deadline for zero emissions from 2030 to 2050. Then the Biden and the Democratic platform dropped even mention of a Green New Deal,” said Hawkins who was the first US candidate to propose a Green New Deal with a 10-year plan to zero out emissions when he ran for New York governor in 2010.

More than 100 climate groups, including Food and Water Watch, Climate Justice Alliance and Indigenous Environmental Network, issued a statement saying “this bill will decrease environmental justice and increase environmental racism.” Food and Water Watch noted that “It attempts to greenwash carbon capture, advances policies that would actually increase oil production, seeks to release new sources of methane from our ocean floors, and promotes ‘advanced’ nuclear power as a so-called climate solution. This package would lock in continued extracting, processing, and burning of fossil fuels for decades to come.”

Hawkins also blasted the Democrats for promoting nuclear power. “The costs of nuclear power are now two to three times higher than most forms of solar and wind power. The four of the six new nuclear construction projects in South Carolina and Georgia that Biden promoted as vice president with loan guarantees have been abandoned due to cost overruns and construction delays. The same problems plague the remaining at two projects in Vogtle, Georgia. Those boondoggles only continue because Georgia is gouging ratepayers to waste more money on them. Nuclear power is dirty, dangerous, and too expensive. Biden apparently doesn’t care. He wants to please his campaign donors from the nuclear industry,” Hawkins said. Biden is the only presidential candidate this cycle to receive contributions from individuals associated with the Nuclear Energy Institute, according to Open Secrets.

Hawkins’ ecosocialist Green New Deal (GND) plan includes a multi-trillion investment in jobs, businesses, housing, schools, health care, and public transit in racially-oppressed communities that have been segregated, discriminated against, and exploited for generations. Two years ago, the International Panel on Climate Change identified how much carbon we had left to burn before pushing the planet across the tipping point for extremely dangerous global warming of 1.5º Celsius. In the last 2 years, the world has used up 20% of that carbon budget, leaving us just 8 years at the current rate.

“Yet the Democrats want to wait 30 years to get to net-zero emissions. The term net zero is a fossil fuel industry favorite because it leaves the door open to continued oil and gas burning that is supposed offset by planting trees. We need those trees to draw carbon out of the atmosphere so we can reverse global warming. Trump calls climate change a hoax, but the Democrats act as if it is a hoax,” Hawkins said.

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