This post is the third in a series of blogs examining where 2016 candidates for President or Governor of North Carolina stand on key energy issues. Note: The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy does not support or oppose candidates or political parties. Links to reports, candidate websites and outside sources are provided as citizen education tools.
The Green Party recently announced its 2016 presidential candidate: Dr. Jill Stein. Stein was the party’s nominee in 2012, but this year she hopes to benefit from higher levels of voter discontent in order to lead her to the White House. The Green Party has developed a “four pillar” platform based on “peace, ecology, social justice and democracy.” While this blog is not meant to be a comprehensive assessment of Dr. Jill Stein’s stance on energy issues, we hope it provides a general overview for evaluating where she may stand on issues of interest to energy-focused voters: coal, climate change, renewables, energy efficiency, natural gas, nuclear and drilling.
Stein and Climate Change
“My Power to the People Plan creates deep system change, moving from the greed and exploitation of corporate capitalism to a human-centered economy that puts people, planet and peace over profit. It offers direct answers to the economic, social, and ecological crises brought on by both corporate political parties. And it empowers the American people to fix our broken political system and make real the promise of democracy. This plan will end unemployment and poverty; avert climate catastrophe; build a sustainable, just economy; and recognize the dignity and human rights of everyone in our society and our world. The power to create this new world is not in our hopes, it’s not in our dreams – it’s in our hands.” – Jill Stein, Platform
Stein uses climate change as a foundational campaign issue. Through a variety of campaign pages and quotes, she opposes climate change. The Green Party has yet to publish its 2016 platform, but its platform from 2014 goes further and recommends repaying “our climate debt” to other countries as a form of reparation. **Since publishing this blog, Stein’s campaign published their official platform here.
Stein and Renewable Energy
“Create 20 million jobs by transitioning to 100 percent clean renewable energy by 2030, and investing in public transit, sustainable agriculture, conservation and restoration of critical infrastructure, including ecosystems.” – Jill Stein, Platform
Stein has the outline of the most ambitious clean energy goals out of virtually all 2016 presidential nominees. The Green Party’s 2014 platform states that: “Greens want to stop runaway climate change, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions at least 40 percent by 2020 and 95 percent by 2050, over 1990 levels.” It’s fair to say Stein’s renewable energy and climate change goals are much more aggressive than even the Green Party’s platform of two years ago.
Stein and Energy Efficiency
“We’re calling for 20 million jobs, which is enough jobs to put everyone to work in a full-time job, and those jobs are focused on creating a just and sustainable economy, with a just transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy, to a healthy and sustainable food system, to public energy efficiency, renewably powered transportation and to include restoring infrastructure, including ecosystems.” – Jill Stein, May 24, 2016
Stein has very little to say about energy efficiency. Her official platform doesn’t even contain the term “energy efficiency.” The Green Party’s 2014 platform includes just a few lines about efficiency and “conservation.” In fact, when searching for a policy position on energy efficiency, one of the top hits comes from a blog that SACE wrote in 2012. In order to achieve Stein’s ambitious climate change goals, energy efficiency and conservation will be imperative; however, the details about how to achieve significant efficiency improvements are extremely slim. The Green Party’s 2014 platform recommends adopting California-style energy efficiency rules.
Stein and Fossil Fuels
“Ensure that any worker displaced by the shift away from fossil fuels will receive full income and benefits as they transition to alternative work….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.” – Jill Stein, Platform
Stein’s position on all use of fossil fuels, including coal, oil and natural gas could be summed up fairly straightforwardly: stop it. While her platform calls for higher taxes on fossil fuels, it’s unclear how high those taxes would be. The Green Party platform from 2014 proposes enacting a fee and dividend system that rises and falls based on the global carbon dioxide content in parts per million where the “fee will be increased by 10 percent each year that global atmospheric carbon dioxide content is greater than 350 ppm, decreased 10 percent each year it’s less than 300 ppm, and repealed entirely when it falls below 250 ppm.”
Stein and Nuclear
“Phase out nuclear power and end nuclear subsidies.” – Jill Stein, Platform
Stein’s position on nuclear is similar to her position on fossil fuels. In addition to calling for a ban on new nuclear reactors, and phasing out existing nuclear reactors, she also calls for total nuclear disarmament and elimination of nuclear tests. The Green Party 2014 platform recommends all existing nuclear reactors shut down within five years. It’s unclear if the Green Party has a rolling five-year phase-out policy, or if the party wants all reactors to shut down by 2019.
Dr. Jill Stein is running for president as the Green Party’s candidate. Many of her energy policy goals are more ambitious of many of the other presidential candidates. However, while her goals are ambitious, the details related to Stein’s energy policies seem to be rather scant. As in 2012, it was difficult to identify specific energy policy recommendations. The Green Party’s newest platform is not available for the public, and Stein’s platform site covers all policy issues, not just energy issues. It’s difficult to identify Stein’s policy priorities. For example, banning nuclear reactors is listed among a long litany of policies and appears as important as, say “America’s youth should not be put in jail for offenses they commit.”
If you’re interested in Jill Stein, you’ll likely have to do a lot more digging – the candidate’s webpage is probably the best, although not the only, resource available for your research. We encourage readers to do their own research and look for more information from the candidates before the election. In the meantime, below is a map showing states where ballots will contain Jill Stein’s name for the Presidency.