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Green Party LogoGreens: Obama and Congress are wrong on 'clean coal', nuclear energy, and emissions trading


For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, cell 202-904-7614,
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805,

Green Party Speakers Bureau: Green leaders available to speak on energy policy, transportation, and the climate crisis

WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders, while praising President Obama's efforts to focus public attention on emissions and the climate crisis, said that the White House and Congress are either going too slow or in the wrong direction on many energy policies.


Greens said that the President's plan for new emissions and mileage standards for cars and light trucks is a step in the right direction, but falls short.

"The new requirements will have minimal effect unless we also see measures to reduce car traffic, such as regionally sensitive carbon taxes, congestion taxes, a halt in new highway construction, and -- most urgently for working Americans -- a massive public transportation project to replace the reliance on cars," said Wes Rolley, cochair of the Green Party's EcoAction Committee.


Greens have expressed dismay over President Obama's embrace of the 'clean coal' myth promoted by the coal industry.

"Clean coal is a PR fabrication. The environmental effects of coal extraction have proven disastrous. Mountaintop removal and strip mining have devastated whole landscapes in West Virginia, Tennessee, and other states, destroying mountains, valleys, and forests and dumping poisons into rivers, streams, and water tables. The amount of energy used to transport energy in trucks and trains adds further pollution. Scrubbing coal removes some particulates but ultimately doesn't end the emission of greenhouse gases, the cause of global warming," said Carl Romanelli, former Pennsylvania Green candidate for the US Senate and co-chair of the Luzerne County Green Party in the heart of anthracite country.

See also: Coal is not the answer,


Greens strongly opposed 'Clean Energy Investment Bank' legislation sponsored by Senate Energy Committee Chair Jeff Bingaman, Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), and Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM), which would provide unlimited taxpayer loan guarantees for the construction of new nuclear reactors.

"Nuclear power is dirty and dangerous. There is no safe way to handle nuclear waste or mine uranium or eliminate the many security risks they pose. The Clean Energy Bank will encourage unclean and unsafe nuclear and coal energy, with giant taxpayer-funded bailouts for companies like Duke Power, Southern Company, UniStar Nuclear and Exelon," said Jill Bussiere, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States and former member of the Kudzu Alliance, which opposed construction of the Shearon Harris nuclear plant in North Carolina during the 1970s.

Along with security problems, nuclear energy is simply too inefficient and expensive as a solution to global warming, requiring massive construction and huge amounts of fuel. Green Party leaders quoted a June 2007 Keystone Center report: "Hypothetically, an aggressive scenario to achieve even modest global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions would require building 21 large (1,000 megawatt) nuclear reactors worldwide every year for fifty years, and more than five per year (275 total) in the United States.... [T]he amount of resulting waste would fill '10 nuclear waste repositories the size of the statutory capacity of Yucca Mountain." (

See also:

"Florida Greens file petition against NRC licensing of Levy Cty. nuclear plant": Green Party of Florida press release, February 14, 2009

"Greens blast legislative move to repeal nuclear moratorium; call attempt an effort to undermine renewable energy": Illinois Green Party release, April 2, 2009

"Nuclear Nonsense: Why Nuclear Power is No Answer to Climate Change and the World’s Post-Kyoto Energy Challenges" by Benjamin K. Sovacool and Christopher Cooper, Environmental Law and Policy Review, Volume 33, Fall 2008 Issue 1

Nuclear Information and Resource Service


Greens have criticized emissions trading ('cap and trade'), calling it a concession to polluting industries that will impede efforts to curb global warming. In many instances, emissions trading encourages greenhouse gas emissions, since companies with low pollution will be able to sell their conservation credits to the highest bidders, giving major polluters a license to maintain or increase pollution levels. Party leaders called emissions trading schemes like the Waxman-Markey "American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009" a capitulation to polluting industries.

"Democratic leaders in the US House are planning to give away 85% of the greenhouse gas emission credits. Giveaways bypass the trading and auction strategies that cap and trade advocates have promoted as a free market solution. Such allowances are a signal that Congress is more willing to satisfy industry demands and 'grandfather' polluters than to demand the necessary extensive reductions," said Tony Gronowicz, political historian and 2005 New York City Green Party mayoral candidate.

See also:

"Good News, There's a Climate Bill -- Bad News, It Stinks" (on the "American Clean Energy and Security Act") by Daphne Wysham, AlterNet, May 19, 2009

Carbon Trade Watch


The Green Party strongly opposes emissions trading schemes, and instead favors bans on new coal fired-power plants, new nuclear power plants (as well as early retirement of current nuclear reactors), and all mountaintop coal removal. The party endorses a reduction by 90% of mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants by 2012, targeted carbon taxes, investment in renewable noncarbon-based energy technology, and reduction of CO2 and SO2 emissions by 80% by 2020.

Greens call for a reorganization of the US economy that would create millions of new jobs in conversion to safe clean energy, conservation, and expansion of public transportation to replace car traffic.

"President Obama must launch a project to stem global warming that's comparable to the concerted and internationally cooperative effort to defeat the Axis powers during World War II. The lives of future generations in America and throughout the world are vastly more important than the current demands of energy industries," said Budd Dickinson, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States and a retired energy engineer.


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