“I know it’s a long shot, but there has to be someone telling the truth and showing a clear vision moving away from capitalism to an eco-socialist future that is just for everyone.”
– Gary Stuard (Green Party). Quoted in Kim McGuire, “Greens Steadfast on Environment.” Houston Chronicle, August 6, 2016, p. A4.
Milton Friedman once said: “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.” The uncommonly wise economist also said: “Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.”
Let’s assume that the Green Party is made up a fair number of well meaning, non-corrupted (as in ‘crony capitalist’) individuals that really want the common person to have a good life and entrepreneurial opportunities. Maybe I am wrong and naïve, but assume that some percentage of Green Party regulars fit this description.
Also assume that they do not understand basic energy physics, the destruction wrought by wind turbines and solar farms, or the exaggerated claims of climate activists who refuse to consider that low-sensitivity estimates are where the physical science is going (regarding the climate implications of the enhanced greenhouse effect).
The Annual National Meeting, concluded yesterday in Houston, chose physician Jill Stein from fourteen candidates, with only political scientist Bill Kremi also being party-certified for Presidential nominee. Lots of attention was paid by the Houston Chronicle, the Left newspaper that recently came out in support of Hillary Clinton (rather than protest Trump with either a Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, or vote-your-conscience recommendation.
The Green Party and Stein personally want to continue and grow the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party. Stein, who received .36 percent of the vote in her 2012 presidential run, had a sharp response to Sanders’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton: “Sadly,” she said, “Sanders is one of a long line of true reformers that have been undermined by the Democratic Party.”
The energy sections of the Green Party Platform, covering 10 pages and 6,800 words, is part of the “Ecological Sustainability” section that harks to deep ecology as this introductory passage indicates:
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.
Some key planks of the energy/climate platform follow:
Jill Stein’s Energy Plan
Energy (and climate) constitute two parts of Stein’s twelve-section “Power to the People Plan.”
A Green New Deal
Create millions of jobs by transitioning to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030, and investing in public transit, sustainable agriculture, and conservation.
Protect Mother Earth
Lead on a global treaty to halt climate change. End destructive energy extraction: fracking, tar sands, offshore drilling, oil trains, mountaintop removal, and uranium mines. Protect our public lands, water supplies, biological diversity, parks, and pollinators. Label GMOs, and put a moratorium on GMOs and pesticides until they are proven safe. Protect the rights of future generations.
It is assumed that government-forced energy transformation from carbon-based, nuclear, and hydro energies will not interfere with the following plank:
Guarantee economic human rights, including access to food, water, housing, and utilities, with effective anti-poverty programs to ensure every American a life of dignity.
Energy education, anyone?
Calling Julian Simon … calling Alex Epstein… Examine the record, the facts. Celebrate life, more lives and longer lives and better living standards. Celebrate the bounty of free-market capitalism, the incredible bread machine. Look to that institution that has a monopoly on the initiation of force, government, as the root cause, the overwhelming culprit, of what the Green Party’s Call to Action identifies as “a system that extols exploitation, unsustainable consumption, and destructive competition.”
Appendix: Entire Energy Platform
The energy platform follows:
The United States has a high-energy-consumption economy based mainly on fossil energy. The extraction, refining, and combustion of fossil fuels have proved extremely harmful to the environment, and supplies are rapidly being depleted. Over the past century, the infrastructure of our civilization has become utterly dependent on plentiful oil, coal, and natural gas: vast land, air, and sea transportation networks; increasing dependence on imported goods; industrialized food production dependent on fertilizer and biocides; and sprawling, car-dependent neighborhoods and workplaces. Our electric grid depends on fossil fuels for two-thirds of its energy.
Dirty and dangerous energy sources have generated an unparalleled assault on the environment and human rights. In the U.S., low income communities and communities of color bear the greatest burden of health impacts due to exposure to emissions from coal and gas-fired power plants. Native American communities have been devastated by uranium mining, and the people of Appalachia watch helplessly as their ancient mountains are destroyed for coal-fired electricity. Regional and global peaks in supply are driving up costs and threatening wars and social chaos. [See section on Climate Change, above]
Since 1859 when the first commercial oil well was drilled in Pennsylvania, the global community has consumed about half what nature generated over hundreds of millions of years. Although coal is more abundant than oil, it is inherently dirtier than oil, is limited in terms of its use as a vehicle fuel, and demand is skyrocketing globally for use in electricity generation. Natural Gas is also in high demand for power production and is ultimately finite. We must plan and prepare for the end of fossil fuels now, while we still have energy available to build the cleaner, more sustainable energy infrastructure that we will soon need.
To simply substitute better energy sources in place of fossil fuels is not the answer for two main reasons. First, there are no energy sources (renewable or otherwise) capable of supplying energy as cheaply and in such abundance as fossil fuels currently yield in the time that we need them to come online. Second, we have designed and built our infrastructure to suit the unique characteristics of oil, natural gas, and coal.
The energy transition cannot be accomplished with a minor retrofit of existing energy infrastructure. Just as our fossil fuel economy differs from the agrarian economy of 1800, the post-fossil fuel economy of 2050 will be profoundly different from all that we are familiar with now. Changes would occur if we wait for the price of fossil fuels to reflect scarcity, forcing society to adapt; however, lack of government planning will result in a transition that is chaotic, painful, destructive, and possibly not survivable.
The Green Party advocates a rapid reduction in energy consumption through energy efficiency and a decisive transition away from fossil and nuclear power toward cleaner, renewable, local energy sources. Toward these goals, we advocate:
1. Encourage Conservation
Encourage conservation and a significant decrease in our energy consumption, institute national energy efficiency standards.
With five percent of the world’s population, U.S residents consume twenty-six percent of the world’s energy. U.S. consumption of electricity is almost nine times greater than the average for the rest of the world. These are not sustainable levels.
2. Move to Renewable Sources
Move decisively to an energy system based on solar, wind, geo-thermal, marine, and other cleaner renewable energy sources.
The development of Earth-gentle, sustainable energy sources must be a cornerstone of any plan to reduce reliance on conventional fossil fuels. The Green Party advocates clean renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, marine-based, and other cleaner renewable sources as the long-term solution.
3. Eliminate dirty & dangerous energy sources
The Green Party advocates the phase-out of nuclear and coal power plants. All processes associated with nuclear power are dangerous, from the mining of uranium to the transportation and disposal of the radioactive waste. Coal is the largest contributor to climate change with estimates as high as 80%.
The generation of nuclear waste must be halted. It is hazardous for thousands of years and there is no way to isolate it from the biosphere for the duration of its toxic life. We oppose public subsidies for nuclear power. Cost is another huge factor making it unfeasible, with each new nuclear power plant costing billions of dollars.
The Green Party calls for a formal moratorium on the construction of new nuclear power plants, the early retirement of existing nuclear power reactors, and the phase-out of technologies that use or produce nuclear waste, such as nuclear waste incinerators, food irradiators, and all uses of depleted uranium.
We call for a ban on mountaintop removal coal mining. With limited supplies and in the absence of commercially viable “clean coal” carbon sequestration, which may never be feasible, coal is neither an economically nor an environmentally sustainable solution.
We call for the cessation of development of fuels produced with polluting, energy-intensive processes or from unsustainable or toxic feed stocks, such as genetically-engineered crops, coal and waste streams contaminated with persistent toxics.
We oppose further oil and gas drilling or exploration on our nation’s outer continental shelf, on our public lands, in the Rocky Mountains, and under the Great Lakes.
Due to serious negative impacts on food, soil, and water, we oppose industrial-scale biofuels production and biomass burning for electric power generation. We approve small scale distributed production under local control, such as production of biodiesel from waste oils, production of charcoal and byproducts from wood wastes or sustainably harvested wood, small scale production of ethanol from crop wastes or maize stalk sugar, or production of fuel gas for localized electricity generation from anaerobic methane digesters or charcoal gasifiers. We do not object to the utilization of fuel gases seeping from landfills, as that is one way to reduce air pollution. We support as a minimum standard the Principles for Sustainable Biomass statement signed by Clean Water Action, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, Geos Institute, Greenpeace USA, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Southern Environmental Law Center, Union of Concerned Scientists, The Wilderness Society, and World Wildlife Fund.
Enact a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’) until its damaging effects on water and air quality are fully studied and understood. Permanently ban high-volume hydraulic fracturing in sensitive watersheds. Regulate hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Water Act and National Environmental Policy Act, and require public disclosure of the chemicals used in fracturing fluids.
4. Decentralize the Grid
Plan for decentralized, bioregional electricity generation and distribution.
Decentralized power systems are likely to be more resilient in the face of power disruptions and will cut transmission losses, assure citizens greater control of their power grids, and prevent the massive ecological and social destruction that accompanies production of electricity in mega-scale projects.
5. Re-localize the Food System
De-carbonize and re-localize the food system.
Our national industrial food system is overwhelmingly dependent upon oil and natural gas for farm-equipment fuel, fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, and the transport. It is responsible for over 12% of all greenhouse gases from human activities in the U.S. New farming methods, new farmers, and a re-localization of production and distribution are needed. These will require land reform, an investment in revitalizing rural areas and the creation of local food processing plants and storage centers. Laws and incentives affecting the food system (including food safety laws and farm subsidies) will need to be rewritten to provide preferential support for small-scale, local, low-input producers.
7. Electrify the Transportation System
Our enormous investment in highways, airports, cars, buses, trucks, and aircraft is almost completely dependent on oil, and it will be significantly handicapped by higher fuel prices, and devastated by actual fuel shortages. The electrification of road-based vehicles is a must and will require at least two decades to fully deploy and we must move to Earth-gentle electricity generation to charge the vehicles. Meanwhile, existing private automobiles must be put to use more efficiently through carpooling, car-sharing, and ride-sharing networks. [See Transportation section below for more, including need for dramatic increase in CAFE or gasoline efficiency standards]
7. Requirements for Energy Transition