A stable atmosphere is essential for maintaining human, animal and plant health.
The Earth's protective ozone layer is being depleted by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-destroying chemicals. This has already resulted in increased cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation reaching the Earth's surface causing changes in plankton populations - basis of the ocean's food chain. The extent of this ozone destruction has been confirmed by data from satellites and is far greater than most experts had predicted. Doctors fear a serious increase in skin cancers and immune system disorders.
Our fossil-fuel dependent life-style releases huge quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Cattle release large quantities of methane. These and other gasses tend to trap the Earth's heat and prevent it from being radiated back into space. This contributes to a gradual destabilization of the earth's climate - the warming trend known as the greenhouse effect. Fragile ecological systems cannot adapt quickly enough to survive expected climate changes. Damage to the crop producing capacity of many agricultural areas will lead to widespread hunger.
Also, increasing incidents of emission of carcinogenic toxics into California's air directly threaten human and animal health.
The Green Party demands that these dangers be countered by:
The U.S. holding to its time line to ban the use of CFCs and other ozone destroying products, and promote research of replacement substances where substitutes are not readily available.
The U.S. legislating reduction of its carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2005.
Cooperating with the rest of the world in reducing the use of fossil fuels by large scale conservation, and by converting to safe, renewable energy sources.
California banning the burning of tire-derived fuels (TDFs), as these have been shown to increase the toxicity of the air we breathe. Recycling of used tires is an eco-friendly alternative to incineration. [see the Recycling plank.]
Implementing the provisions of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The U.S. should work on other international agreements to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Halting deforestation. Global warming is aggravated by deforestation since plant life, primarily forests, breaks up CO2 through photosynthesis. We must undertake domestic and international reforestation programs to help preserve the atmosphere.
Establishing an environmental trust fund with money raised from pollution fees and other public revenues. The fund should be administered by an appropriate governmental agency and used to assist programs such as reforestation, conversion to non-polluting energy sources, and development of substitutes for ozone-destroying substances.