The Green Party of the United States said today that world leaders must interpret the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as highlighting the need to immediately halt the burning of fossil fuels.
Greens said it was critical for the Global North, starting with the U.S., to dramatically increase its funding for climate mitigation and adaptation by the Global South.
“We need elected officials who have the political courage to immediately say no to fossil fuels, and who are willing to build a world centered on a Green New Deal (GND) that combines a rapid transition to 100% renewable energy and zero emissions within a decade, while ensuring the economic needs of all are met,” said Green Party EcoAction Co-Chair Mark Dunlea. Greens in the U.S. first campaigned for such a plan in 2010, after European Greens had proposed such an initiative a few years earlier.
The IPCC’s Working Group III report on mitigating climate change is the United Nation’s latest warning that the world is on track to surge past the 1.5 degrees Celsius global warming tipping point within eight years. To avoid climate collapse, the most important step is to quickly halt the burning of fossil fuels, which includes natural gas and related methane emissions.
The IPCC said it was still technically possible, and even economically viable, for nations to curb carbon pollution on the scale that’s required. However, it “cannot be achieved through incremental change.”
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres berated leaders of the industrial pollution nations such as the United States for putting the profits and campaign donations of fossil fuel companies ahead of the needs for continued life on our planet. Such leaders “are choking our planet, based on their vested interests and historic investments in fossil fuels.” The IPCC report serves as a “file of shame,” he said, “cataloging empty pledges that put us firmly on track towards an unlivable world.”
Green leaders said the move to 100% renewable energy would help end the wars for fossil fuels such as the US invasion of Iraq and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Green leaders have long called for at least a 50% cut in the military budget, to be redirected toward funding the GND. The Green Party’s platform also advocates for a carbon fee and dividend to help speed up the transition to renewable energy. The IPCC has said putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions is central to getting global warming under control.
The IPCC report makes clear “all global modelled pathways that limit warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot…involve rapid and deep and in most cases immediate GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emission reductions in all sectors.”
Dunlea noted that due to the need to reach consensus among the scientists in the findings part of the report, the IPCC has consistently underestimated the speed and severity of climate change. Many scientists believe much faster cuts are needed in greenhouse emissions to avoid the 1.5 degrees C warming than what the IPCC is calling for. Faster cuts are especially needed in the more industrialized nations.
Greens support the widespread transformations in food systems including a move to plant-based diets and regenerative agriculture, protection and restoration of natural ecosystems, and climate reparations to the Global South along with priority investments in environmental justice communities and Indigenous Peoples.
Greens also recognize the need to reduce excessive energy and environmental consumption by the world’s wealthiest countries and individuals. The Green Party supports the concept of removing growth as an imperative of the economy and instead focusing on creating an ecologically sustainable society. It strongly supports the growth of economic sectors that meet human and nature’s needs, in particular, renewable energy supply, agroecologies, green affordable housing, free public transit powered by renewable energy-derived electricity while at the same time calling for degrowth of the Military-Industrial Complex.
“Our government knows there’s a climate emergency and needs to make a formal declaration to address the issues threatening our communities. The people need public ownership and democratic control of our energy and economic systems. Our future generations deserve the best quality of life that we can offer.” added Green Party US Co-Chair Rei Stone-Grover.
“Global capitalism’s ‘grow-or-die’ imperative has brought us to the brink of ecocide,” said Green Party US Co-Chair Garret Wasserman. “We must move to a community-based economic system that respects the constraints of the environment and the dignity of all.”
The world governments had delayed the release of the IPCC document as elected officials worked to weaken the positions outlined in the executive summary of the reports, which frequently are inconsistent with the scientific findings.
The Green Party opposes strategies that would allow global warming to rise above the 1.5 degrees C target and rely on mere hope that ways could be found to remove carbon and lower the warming. While Greens support the use of natural systems such as forest protection to remove carbon, they – and many scientists – oppose supporting speculative carbon removal technologies that would allow for the continued burning of fossil fuels.
“We recognize direct air capture of carbon dioxide and permanent storage in the crust may be a likely imperative but only after there is a robust, global supply of renewable energy to reduce the atmospheric carbon dioxide level to the safe limit below 350 ppm, not exceeding the IPCC warming target of 1.5 degrees C,” said Dunlea.
The Center for International Environmental Law noted, “both in its previous reports and in Working Group III’s technical analysis, the IPCC has repeatedly cautioned against over-reliance on speculative technologies like carbon capture and storage (CCS) and large-scale carbon dioxide removal, including direct air capture (DAC) and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), which are unproven at scale, risky to humans and nature, and may simply not work to reduce emissions or limit temperature rise.”