A Free-Market Energy Blog

Green Party Platform: Climate Change (Part I)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- October 6, 2020

“Enact a Fee & Dividend system on fossil fuels to enable the free market to include the environmental costs of their extraction and use…. The carbon fee [tax] will initially be small, a dime per kilogram of carbon [1000x = $100 per metric ton], to avoid creating a shock to the economy. The fee will be increased by 10% each year….”

“[The US will] pay for adaptation to climate change in countries with less responsibility for climate change. Provide a carbon neutral development path for those countries that can no longer be permitted to develop in the same way we did—by burning cheap fossil fuels.”

The Green Party does not seem so radical anymore. Back in 2016, their climate/energy plank could be derided as soured pie-in-the-sky. But since the Green New Deal (GND) of 2019, it is pie in the face.

The Biden Green New Deal (“Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face“) is the OAC vision at a political pace, that’s all. And reading the Biden plan versus the Green Party platform for 2020, the normalization of both is striking. Biden’s is just a bit quieter on the Climate Tax that must be at the federal center. It’s get elected first … and then let the Statism roll.

The overall climate platform was approved by the Green Party Presidential Nominating Convention in July 2020. The Climate section follows with bold highlights added.

[Malthusian Prelude]

The human community is an element of the Earth community, not the other way around. All human endeavors are situated within the dynamics of the biosphere. If we wish to have sustainable institutions and enterprises, they must fit well with the processes of the Earth. The ideology of industrialism, in both capitalist and communist countries, insists that modern society lives on top of nature and should rightly use and despoil the rest of the natural world as we desire— because any loss of the ecosystems is merely an “externality” in economic thought and because any problems can be addressed later by a technological fix.

We are now living through the painful consequences of that arrogant, ignorant perspective. Many of our children suffer from accumulations of mercury and other toxins in their neurological systems, environmentally related cancer is on the rise, and our air and water are increasingly polluted. Meanwhile, our ecosystems are being compromised by the spreading presence of genetically engineered organisms.

Our houses and buildings, manufacturing processes, and industrial agriculture were all designed with the assumption of an endless supply of cheap and readily available fossil fuels. Pollution and despoiling the land were not part of the thinking. The Green Party, however, is optimistic about the alternatives that now exist and that could be encouraged through tax policy and the market incentives of fuel efficiency.

We also challenge the grip of the oil, automotive, and automobile insurance industries that have managed to block or roll back progress in public mass transit. The gutting of subsidies for the railroads has meant not only fewer passenger routes but also the addition of thousands of large freight trucks on our highways, decreasing public safety and increasing pollution. We are committed to extending the greening of waste management by encouraging the spread of such practices as reduce, return, reuse, and recycle. We strongly oppose the recent attempts to roll back the federal environmental protection laws that safeguard our air, water, and soil.

The health of the life-support systems— the ecosystems on our continent — is of paramount importance. Inherent in the efficient dynamics of those ecosystems is a vital profusion of biodiversity. Therefore, the Greens call for a halt to the destruction of habitats, which are being sacrificed to unqualified economic expansion. We humans have a moral responsibility to all of our relations, many of which are facing extinction because we carelessly and permanently halt their long evolutionary journey.

The Green Party also supports the spread of organic agriculture and the careful tending of our nation’s precious remaining topsoil. We support planetary efforts to slow the ever-increasing numbers of humans pressuring the ecosystems, and we especially support the reduction of consumption of the world’s raw materials by the industrialized Northern Hemisphere.

We are appalled by our country’s withdrawal from serious efforts to limit greenhouse gases that are contributing mightily to global climate disruption. The Green Party strongly urges the United States to adopt an actively responsible position in this crisis and to take significant action to address the problem.

A. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Enact energy democracy based on public, community and worker ownership of our energy system. Treat energy as a human right.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.”


1. Strong International Climate Treaty

The climate treaty reached in Paris in December, 2015 is inadequate to address the climate change crisis.

The 195 nations involved pledged to reduce greenhouse gases. The pledges are not mandatory, however. The treaty does not require the phase out of fossil fuels, and it delays higher aid levels for poorer nations until 2025.

We call for legally binding commitments for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2020 and a 95% reduction by 2030 over 1990 levels.

2. Economic Policy For A Safer Climate

  1. Enact a Fee & Dividend system on fossil fuels to enable the free market to include the environmental costs of their extraction and use. These fees shall be applied as far upstream as possible, either when fuel passes from extraction to refining, distribution or consumption; or when it first enters the United States’ jurisdiction. The carbon fee will initially be small, a dime per kilogram of carbon, to avoid creating a shock to the economy. The fee will be increased by 10% each year that global atmospheric carbon dioxide content is greater than 350 ppm, decreased 10% each year it’s less than 300 ppm, and repealed entirely when it falls below 250 ppm.
  2. Although imported fossil fuel has no more impact on global climate change than domestic, importing petroleum and natural gas has a catastrophic impact on American foreign policy and the American economy. We will enact this same fee on imported fossil fuels a second time to give the free market an incentive to wean America off foreign oil and gas.
  3. The Green Party calls for elimination of subsidies for fossil fuels, nuclear power, biomass and waste incineration and biofuels. We must also acknowledge that the bulk of our military budget is, in fact, an indirect subsidy for oil & gas corporations.
  4. To prevent perverse incentives arising from higher carbon prices, the Green Party mandates clean fuels in addition to pricing carbon. Otherwise dirty energy sources like nuclear power, biomass and biofuels that are not subject to carbon pricing will become economically competitive.

3. Repay Our Climate Debt

  1. Pay for adaptation to climate change in countries with less responsibility for climate change.
  2. Provide a carbon neutral development path for those countries that can no longer be permitted to develop in the same way we did—by burning cheap fossil fuels.

4. More Efficiency And Conservation

  1. Adopt energy efficiency standards that reduce energy demand economy-wide by 50% over the next 20–30 years. The U.S. can make massive reductions in its energy use through a combination of conservation and efficiency measures. We don’t actually need any additional power. Instead, we can and should reduce our consumption of power.
  2. Build an efficient, low cost public transportation system. The best incentive we can provide to live closer to work and reduce the use of private vehicles is to make the alternative inexpensive and convenient to use.
  3. Adopt a national zero waste policy. The less we consume and throw away, the less we will need to produce and replace.

5. Clean, Green Energy and Jobs

  1. Create an inclusive program to train workers for the new, clean energy economy. Focusing on both the environment and social justice, prioritize the creation of green jobs in communities of color and low-income communities.
  2. Transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 using wind, solar, ocean, small-scale hydro, and geothermal power.
  3. End the use of nuclear power. Nuclear energy is massively polluting, dangerous, financially risky, expensive and slow to implement. Our money is better spent on wind, solar, geothermal, conservation and small-scale hydroelectric.
  4. Stop “dirty clean energy.” Many of the “solutions” offered in climate legislation aren’t real solutions. Biomass incineration (trees, crops, construction debris and certain types of waste), landfill gas and many types of biofuels will dump massive quantities of toxic pollutants into the air and water, and some of these energy sources produce more greenhouse gas emissions than coal. Natural gas is primarily methane, which is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. Consequently, when pipeline leakage is considered, the clean-burning characteristics of natural gas can be lost, resulting in a fuel with climate impacts as bad as coal. Biomass and biofuels will also increase deforestation, contributing to more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

6. Regenerative Agriculture

  1. End industrialized agriculture methods, including monocropping, reliance on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and the use of confined animal operations, all of which are high-order contributors to atmospheric greenhouse gases.
  2. Convert our food producing systems to small-scale organic, regenerative agriculture (agroecology) systems to restore soil health, sequester carbon, foster biodiversity, discourage the currently unsustainable level of meat consumption, and secure robust ecosystem services for a sustainable future.
  3. Replace subsidization of industrially produced agricultural products with support for small producers employing organic, regenerative agricultural methods. Localize food distribution systems to minimize waste, build rural communities, and eliminate reliance on fossil fuels.

7. Carbon Sequestration Using Ecological Restoration

To stabilize the climate, limiting emissions is not enough; carbon must be removed from the atmosphere and sequestered in the ground. Ecological restoration is a valuable tool to achieve this and it will increase the quality of living for all. When forests, grasslands, and farmlands are restored, they act as carbon sinks and improve the health of the soil.

Greens support creating a federal program under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for carbon sequestration to fund local public initiatives that:

  1. Plant trees, reforest and afforest public lands
  2. Revegetate grasslands with native species to prevent desertification and improve climate resilience
  3. Encourage the use of regenerative agricultural techniques
  4. Restore ecosystems on privately-owned lands by providing incentives to landowners.


  1. John Garrett  

    That document might as well have been written by a Communist dictator.


  2. Denis Rushworth  

    It is clearly free of any objective facts. There is lots of data available on drought, famine, hunger, wild fires, poverty and so on. And none of it shows such matters getting worse. Quite the opposite, they are getting better or remain unchanged.

    The greenies operate in a data-free environment. That saves them a lot of time.


  3. Mark Krebs  

    The cited $2 Trillion for the The Biden Green New Deal is a deposit on a down payment. See Tom Tanton’s IER podcast for more details:


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