Green Party candidates and leaders said that President Obama's new EPA regulations on carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generating power plants represented no more than a modest step forward against global climate change.
Greens reiterated the party's call for conversion to an economy based on clean renewable energy, with the added benefit of millions of new jobs. The president's plan also promotes more nuclear energy and natural gas extraction (fracking), which the Green Party opposes because of the danger they pose to public health and security.
"Reducing carbon pollution from electric power plants is a good start, but the goal must be phasing out coal, oil, and natural gas as our energy sources," said Howie Hawkins, Green candidate for Governor of New York. "The EPA remains vulnerable to industry lobbies, with a negotiation process that will make enforcing emissions reduction difficult."
Greens joined environmentalists in criticizing the new plan's reliance on an inflated 2005 baseline for the 30% reduction, calling it far too modest and a capitulation to industry lobbies. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions only 7% between now and 2030 is extremely inadequate, given the current level of knowledge about the effects of climate change, which include the Arctic melt and increasing extreme weather events:
"Relative to 2030 emissions projected from current trends, the drop in that year's U.S. CO2 emissions sought by the President is a painfully modest 355 million tonnes (metric tons). That equates to just 7% of total actual emissions from all sources last year (5313 million tonnes)... [A]s of last year, demand and supply steps by industry, household and government had already wrought a 15% reduction in U.S. power plant emissions from the president's 2005 base year (a drop of 361 million tonnes from 2414 million). By calling for only a second round of 15% cuts (355 million tonnes) from 2014 to 2030, the Obama plan in effect takes twice as long (16 years) to cut as much carbon pollution as the country just did (in 8 years, from 2005 to 2013)." (link)
"The energy debate is too important to be left to Democrats, who prefer industry-friendly ideas, versus climate-change-denying Republicans. In comparison to the appalling irresponsibility of the GOP, President Obama's EPA rules are a godsend. In comparison to what we need to do, the new rules are a drop in the bucket," said Tim Willard, Green candidate for Montgomery County Council in Maryland.
"We can't ignore the health and infrastructure costs related to these emissions - the costs of storm, drought, and flood damage caused by an increasingly destabilized climate. Instead of modest and ineffective regulations, Greens are offering smarter and more effective solutions than our industrial cash-dominated government is capable of," said Mr. Willard.