Howie Hawkins for Governor - Green Party
www.howiehawkins.org - www.gpny.org
On 10-10-10, Hawkins Says NY Must Put more Wind Into Climate Action
Green New Deal would Invest in Renewable Energy for Jobs, Economic Recovery, and Climate Stability
Condemns the Proposal for 20 New Nukes in NY's Climate Action Plan
Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, released his Climate Action position paper as part of the 10-10-10 worldwide day of action (350.org) against global warming. Hawkins is participating in the (Hula) Hoop Day of Action for the climate in Syracuse.
A copy of the paper is at http://howiehawkins.com/2010/media-releases/289-hawkins-on-jobs.html
"It is time to put some real wind into New York's stated goals of reducing climate change. We need an immediate massive investment at the state and federal level in developing clean, green renewable energy and energy conservation. Previous Governors have made some good statements about needed action, but their initiatives fall far short of what is needed, and their actual actions have lagged way behind their vision. New York State must convert its energy system to zero net carbon emissions by 2020 with the same urgency, speed, and commitment of resources that our country demonstrated in converting to war production for the mobilization for World War II,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins criticized the recommendation in the state's soon-to-be-released Climate Action Plan that ay result in 20 more nuclear power plants, saying that the length of time needed to bring them on line (assuming that other problems can be solved) means that they would do nothing to solve climate change while exposing New Yorkers to serious environmental and financial dangers. (For more info, see http://www.nirs.org/mononline/nukesclimatechangereport.pdf)
Hawkins noted that the draft Plan seriously underestimates the role renewable energy can play in meeting the State’s energy needs. “Renewables yes, Nuclear no – that is the way to reduce emissions from power generation in a safe and effective manner. The world is turning its back on nuclear in favor of wind and solar – New York State should get with the program.”
Hawkins also opposed the plan's support for the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) options for coal, saying that investing large sums in this unproven technology would just divert needed resources from the development of a carbon free economy. For similar reasons, Hawkins is the only Gubernatorial candidate who is calling for an immediate and permanent ban on the hydrofracking for natural gas.
Hawkins called for a robust carbon tax as a far more effective strategy than the present carbon cap and trade programs that provide enormous profits for Wall Street traders but have had only minimal impact on reducing carbon emission. He also called for raising the state's gasoline tax to increase revenues for a clean energy transition. Part of the revenues would be used to provide New Yorkers with a dividend to help offset the regressive nature of energy taxes. The rest would be used to finance the transition to clean energy.
The Greens welcomed initiatives such as Governor Paterson’s Executive Order 24, which commits NYS to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 80% by 2050 based on 1990 levels. But the Greens said the goal is utterly too little and too late to address the climate crisis. The “80x50” target, while ambitious, lags behind the latest scientific evidence, which shows that the predictions of rates of global warming and related adverse environmental changes in the latest International Panel on Climate Change report in 2007 were much too conservative.
Climate scientists now say the world must stabilize atmospheric carbon levels below 350 parts per million (ppm) in order to have a 2 in 3 chance of averting runaway climate change. To reach that level (we are now at 390 ppm), the world must limit carbon emissions to 750 gigatons (billion tons) between now and 2050. If that carbon budget is allocated per capita, the United States will use up its carbon budget in 6 years at current rates of emissions.
Hawkins said he would overhaul the leadership at the Public Service Commission and the NYS ERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority), which he said has been a real impediment towards progress in developing energy. He also would install new leadership at the Power Authority of New York State to help guide public development of renewable energy, including wind and solar. Hawkins said that the state also need to more aggressively help guide the development of wind power, including setting standards and guidelines for where to site them.
"New York has to significantly cut the per capita consumption of energy. Our present lifestyles, especially such a huge dependency on cars, are unsustainable. The US consumes twice as much energy per capita as Europe, which has a similar standard of living to us, and 30 times as much as India. Developing renewable energy alone can not solve the problem. We can have a decent standard of living for all in a sustainable energy system, but the environment cannot sustain the lavish and wasteful lifestyles of the rich," said Hawkins.
Hawkins said he favored the development of decentralized and publicly owned energy systems. He said the private investor-owned utilities and energy supply companies make their profits by increasing consumption of existing energy sources and have no incentive to conserve energy or abandon their existing coal, oil, gas, and nuclear assets for new renewable energy sources
Hawkins Climate Action paper also addressed issues such as increased support for mass transit; congestion pricing in New York City; transition to sustainable agriculture, including phasing out the use of pesticides and fertilizers; rebuilding cities around walkable communities instead of expanding sprawl; and revamping building codes and land use plan to promote energy reductions (e.g., passive solar).
For more details on the basis for this goal in climate science, the US contribution to carbon emissions, and the technology currently available for a carbon-free energy system, see the answer to question 4 in http://howiehawkins.com/2010/images/stories/2010/LeagueOfConservationVoters.pdf. Hawkins has also laid out various revenue options such as the Stock Transfer Tax to create a $25 billion state surplus to finance a Green New Deal. http://howiehawkins.com/2010/platform/26-progressive-tax-reform.html