Letter demands world’s top polluter take urgent action to phase out fossil fuel production, slow global climate catastrophe.
For Immediate Release
15 June, 2023
Contact: Valentina Stackl, Oil Change International, email@example.com
WASHINGTON, D.C. — More than 500 groups from six continents and 63 countries sent a letter to President Biden today demanding he stop fossil fuel expansion ahead of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’s Climate Ambition Summit this September.
The letter comes as climate and environmental justice movements announce a global End Fossil Fuels wave of action, culminating in the March to End Fossil Fuels on Sept. 17 and the UN Secretary General’s Summit in New York City on Sept. 20. The global actions are in solidarity with a recent national week of action held by climate advocates and frontline leaders across the United States.
Guterres has said the ticket to entry for the United States and other wealthy oil producing nations is ending fossil fuel expansion and beginning a phase out of existing fossil fuel production. The actions and march demand that Biden and other top polluters meet this threshold by immediately stopping new fossil fuel project approvals and leading a fast, just, fair, and equitable fossil fuel phaseout. Tonight, actor and activist Jane Fonda will join community leaders at a virtual kickoff to announce the mobilization.
The Biden Administration has approved major fossil fuel projects and ensured the U.S. remains the world’s top oil and gas producer and a top exporter. In 2023 alone, the administration greenlit the Alaska Willow Project; approved multiple Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export facilities in Alaska and along the Gulf Coast; held a massive oil and gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico; and fast-tracked the Mountain Valley Pipeline. More U.S. onshore and offshore oil and gas lease sales are planned this year.
Groups across Asia, Africa, Oceania, South America, North America, and Europe are demanding the Biden Administration take immediate and bold action, including:
- Declare a climate emergency and reinstate the crude oil export ban, accelerate the shift off fossil fuels, boost just and resilient renewables, and advance justice;
- Reject federal permits for new fossil fuel projects and revoke illegally granted permits;
- Phase out fossil fuel production on federal public lands and waters;
- Limit gas and fossil fuel exports to the full extent allowed by law.
As the world’s biggest historic polluter, the United States under Biden’s leadership has an outsized responsibility to lead a global and just transition away from fossil fuels and avert further climate disaster. This includes providing the necessary resources for the countries most harmed and least responsible for the climate crisis, especially those in the Global South.
“President Biden’s approach to the climate crisis is nothing short of hypocritical. While the president’s rhetoric aligns with global climate promises, the United States is the world’s top oil and gas producer and exporter, and is planning the largest expansion in oil and gas production over the next decade. Every new fossil fuel project is incompatible with a livable future.” said Allie Rosenbluth, U.S. Program Co-Manager at Oil Change International. “As the world’s biggest historic polluter, the U.S. has a responsibility to lead a global and just transition away from fossil fuels. Voters are not going to ignore Biden’s disastrous climate record unless he starts keeping his climate promises and paves the way for a sustainable future to avert further climate disaster.”
“We were all shocked to see what the extensive activation of oil and gas reserves can lead to, namely to the Russian war against Ukraine: destruction and terror, no morning without bloody attacks, killing innocent people,”said Svitlana Romanko, Executive Director of Razom We Stand. “It doesn’t matter whose gas it is, Russian or American, as long as it enables the fueling of autocratic political regimes and delaying the moment of solving the all-encompassing climate crisis, it’s a weapon of mass destruction and a source of geopolitical and energy insecurity. This is not leadership that the U.S, the democratic powerhouse of the world, wants to show amidst the climate crisis and crisis of peace. It’s a high time to choose between democracy and petrostate ambitions.”
“President Biden must stop green-lighting fossil fuel projects for his imagined political gain. His hypocrisy is insulting to our communities and embarrassing on the global stage,” said Russell Chisholm, managing director for the Protect Our Water Heritage Rights Coalition. “Despite his climate promises, he has deemed Appalachia a sacrifice zone yet again by backing the Mountain Valley Pipeline – an unwanted, unnecessary, and unfinished fracked gas pipeline. Biden must use his executive power to back us as we ensure the just and livable future we deserve.”
“Reasons millions of Indigenous, BIPOC, and frontline communities casted their votes for Biden in 2020 was because of his campaign promises to address climate and environmental injustices,” said Tom BK Goldtooth, Executive Director of The Indigenous Environmental Network. “Three years in, we see he has broken those promises. The ugly reality is that Biden and his administration shamelessly promote climate false solutions that not only increase extraction, exploitation, pollution, and commodification of our lands, waters, and air– but his lack of real action and failure to reduce emissions at source is accelerating the climate crisis. We all have a collective responsibility to ensure a sustainable planet and climate for our future generations, and politicians like Biden need to do their part.”
“Mr. President, the people along the Gulf Coast are dying,” said Roishetta Ozane, Director of The Vessel Project of Louisiana and Gulf Fossil Finance Coordinator for Texas Campaign for the Environment. “It’s time to declare a climate emergency and stop any new fossil fuel project approvals. The impact of climate change is not a distant future, it’s happening now. We cannot afford to wait any longer. With the help of big banks and the rubber stamping of industry under your administration, our children won’t be able to raise their children in the place that we all love. Use your executive power to propel us towards a more renewable future.”
“From approving Willow to auctioning off our public land and water to oil and gas, President Biden is on a dangerous backslide from the climate ambitions he outlined as a candidate and early in his presidency,” said Anusha Narayanan, Global Project Lead at Greenpeace USA. “The gas industry – producers and operators – have used the crisis in Ukraine to spin U.S. and European priorities away from climate goals under the guise of energy security. A recent analysis of the boom in U.S. LNG exports to the EU in 2022 found that the gas industry’s propaganda has resulted in a long-term build-out of new infrastructure and the lock-in of decades-long gas contracts. If built, the approved projects alone could more than double U.S. export capacity to 15,500 bcf – with annual lifecycle emissions equivalent to 393 million cars. Many of us voted for President Biden because he promised transformative climate action. He has yet to come anywhere near meeting these promises. It’s time for him to lead in the climate fight, not be puppeteered by gas operators who sacrifice the health and safety of communities to boost their profits.”
“Regardless of how the White House spins President Biden’s actions, he cannot be a climate leader while continuing to expand fossil fuels,” said Nicole Ghio, Senior Fossil Fuels Program Manager at Friends of the Earth. “The world desperately needs Biden to start living up to his rhetoric and address the root cause of the climate crisis. There should be no place for him at the Climate Ambition Summit until he does.”
“The US has a historic responsibility to halt expansion of coal, oil and gas that undermine global efforts to meet the 1.5C climate target,” said Alex Rafalowicz, Executive-Director of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative. “President Biden has a moral obligation to stop fueling the crisis they helped create, and to provide financial support so that fossil fuel dependent nations can make the energy transition they want and deserve. Pacific nations and other countries in the Global South are taking the lead, calling on all governments to develop a new global mechanism to manage an equitable phase out of fossil fuels. It’s time for the US to match the size of its rhetoric of ‘climate leadership’ with actions the size of the problem. The world’s test is simple: no new fossil fuel projects anywhere under President Biden’s watch.”
“It’s past time for President Biden to put the brakes on the reckless oil and gas expansion that threatens all of us,” said Jean Su, Energy Justice program director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Instead of condemning people and wildlife to worse suffering, Biden can lead the world’s biggest oil and gas producer in ending the fossil fuel era. Nobody has more power, or greater responsibility, than this president to stop fueling climate destruction. This is the moment for Biden to break the cycle of harm and heartbreak, stop approving disastrous projects like Willow and the Mountain Valley Pipeline, and lead us into a safe and healthy future.”