Prez hopeful Stein (G) condemns White House blockade of Durban climate progress

Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate, criticized the White House today for effectively killing a legally binding global agreement at the UN Climate Change meeting in Durban. The meeting concludes on December 9th. Stein has called for a Green New Deal to create jobs while reducing climate change.

I condemn the White House’s inaction in the face of a global emergency. The U.S.’ and other rich countries’ inaction on climate change is not only inexcusable. U.S. and global emissions continue to rise, and national legislation to reduce emissions is nowhere in sight. Even when the Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate in 2009-10, efforts to pass even weak legislation to reduce emissions were completely unsuccessful due to the powerful influence of Big Oil and Big Coal on both of the establishment political parties.

The White House’s global position reflects the influence of the fossil fuel companies that continue to dominate the energy agenda of both the Democrats and the Republicans. President Obama has himself supported offshore drilling, including granting permits to exploit the pristine environment of the Arctic,  expanding nuclear power, and promoting the unproven technique of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). 

“Climate change is the biggest threat facing the U.S. and the planet. We don’t need a nice sounding but meaningless statement coming out of Durban. The  White House continues to block the creation of binding agreements for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse emissions and provide financial  upport for developing countries to transition to carbon-free economies,” stated Dr. Stein.

As part of her aggressive plan to combat climate change, Stein has proposed a Green New Deal, “that would create millions of green jobs through investment in weatherization, renewable energy, clean manufacturing, sustainable agriculture, public transportation and reforestation. The Green New Deal, according to Stein, would be paid for by redirecting trillions of dollars being squandered on wars for oil,Wall Street bailouts, and tax breaks for the wealthy. She says she will also end the White House’s subsidies for “clean coal” schemes.

The emission reduction targets of the Kyoto Protocol, the only binding international agreement on greenhouse gases, expire in 2012. Despite the weakness of the Protocol, the U.S. has failed to ratify the agreement under both Democratic and Republican presidents.  The United States and some other industrialized nations say they will adopt emissions limits only if rising powers like China, India, and Brazil (which were excluded from the original 1997 goals) also commit to matching reductions, which, according to Stein, “has been a formula for stalemate. The U.S. and a few other developed countries are responsible for  releasing the vast majority of the global warming pollution that’s in the atmosphere. It is appropriate that we take the lead in reducing the emissions.”

“Global warming is already having a serious impact on the United States and the rest of the world. The year 2011 has been a year of extreme weather events marked by record rainfall and flooding, forest fires, and deadly tornadoes, and severe hurricane activity. These events have taken a huge toll on the lives and livelihoods of many thousands of U.S. residents. The global picture is one of growing climate instability and ever rising emissions. Yet the developed countries have made it clear that a new global agreement will not be in effect until 2020 at the earliest. U.S. leadership is desperately needed to galvanize a new world treaty to rescue the climate and our future economy that depends on it.”

Since the disastrous UN climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009, the White House has worked to undermine the chances of a rules-based global agreement along the lines of the Kyoto Protocol. The Administration’s support for ineffective voluntary commitments to reduce emissions in the form of a so-called “pledge and review” system has brought the UN process to the brink of collapse, as other major emitters have followed the U.S. and lowered their own already inadequate emissions reductions targets. “This isn’t leadership” said Stein.  “It’s an abdication of responsibility to the future that we can no longer tolerate.”


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  1. […] Prez hopeful Stein (G) condemns White House blockade of Durban climate progress […]

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