Brittany Miller, Friends of the Earth,

Nicole Rodel, Oil Change International –

Global call for United States to change course on LNG at COP28 climate talks

300+ groups demand Biden stop new permits and dirty diplomacy

DUBAI, UAE — Over 300 organizations from over 40 countries across the globe released a letter today calling on the Biden Administration to abandon its support for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) at COP28. The groups are demanding a stop to the permitting of new facilities in the United States and an end to financial and diplomatic support for LNG globally. The letter was delivered in advance of the “Break the Chain: Speak Out Against LNG” rally scheduled today for 3:30 GST at the front entrance of COP28 in Dubai.

The United States, now the largest exporter of LNG on the planet, is expected to see exports double by 2027. The pipeline of proposed but not yet under construction facilities represents a veritable carbon bomb, threatening to lock-in over 1400 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions annually — equivalent to the emissions of 378 new coal plants.

“Any push for a phase-out of all fossil fuels at COP28 risks falling flat if the world’s leading LNG exporter shows no signs of changing course,” the letter reads. “We urge the Biden Administration to publicly commit during the COP to no further regulatory, financial, or diplomatic support for LNG in the United States or anywhere in the world.”

The U.S. Export-Import Bank (EXIM) recently approved support for commodity trader Trafigura to insure speculative bets in the global LNG market. Although the Biden Administration has given regulatory approval to terminals like Alaska LNG, it has yet to approve major projects pending in or near the Gulf of Mexico, such as Venture Global’s Calcasieu Pass 2 (CP2) — the largest export application ever considered by Department of Energy.

Photographs from the “Break the Chain: Speak Out against LNG” rally will be available here.

Signatories of the letter released the following quotes (listed in alphabetical order): 

“The United States’ expansion of deadly gas is a threat to communities everywhere. From sacrifice zones where fracked gas is extracted to sites in Asia where millions live alongside dangerous gas infrastructure, more LNG is a dead end hurting our people, said Lidy Nacpil of the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt & Development. “At COP28, we sorely need bold leadership for a rapid, just, and equitable transition of the energy system to 100% renewable energy. President Biden can lead, but he must change course immediately and stop LNG expansion.”

“I came to Dubai because the Biden Administration isn’t listening at home,” said Melanie Oldham, founder of Better Brazoria: Clean Air and Water. “Communities like mine live in the shadow of the LNG boom. If this infrastructure isn’t stopped, it means more sacrifice zones and more emissions.”

“With a fossil fuel phaseout the leading topic at COP28, now’s the time for the Biden administration to halt LNG exports once and for all,” said Ben Goloff of the Center for Biological Diversity. “The United States is doling out permits for new gas export terminals like there’s no tomorrow. Our new analysis shows that the Inflation Reduction Act’s emissions benefits are more than canceled out by the Biden administration’s support for new fossil fuel projects, and new LNG export facilities are the engine of this disastrous machine.”

“We’re faced with clear scientific consensus that we will not have a safe and stable climate if we continue to use and expand fossil fuels. Not only has the United States become the top exporter of LNG, the Biden administration is being bombarded with proposals for new export terminals that could quadruple U.S. LNG export capacity,” said Kelsey Crane, Senior Policy Advocate for Earthworks. “Unless the United States reverses course, the buildout of LNG threatens to put global and domestic climate goals out of reach, perpetuates environmental injustice, and condemns the Gulf South and global South to be sacrificed for false solutions.”

“If President Biden isn’t willing to stand up to LNG, then his climate legacy is in deep trouble,” said Lukas Ross, Senior Program Manager at Friends of the Earth U.S. “The United States cannot preach climate action in Dubai if it is willing to consider mammoth new projects at home like CP2.”

“While the United States is the largest exporter of LNG, Japan is the largest importer. Both are denying their historical responsibility for the climate crisis and putting communities in danger. We must stand together around the world and say no to more LNG,” said Ayumi Fukakusa, Deputy Executive Director at Friends of the Earth Japan.

“As the world’s greatest historical polluter, the United States cannot claim to be a climate champion while exporting methane LNG across the globe, furthering the climate crisis,” said Russell Armstrong, Senior Director for Campaigns and Advocacy at the Hip Hop Caucus. “The hypocrisy is that with one hand, our government has finally realized the need to regulate super pollutants at home, while with the other hand, it continues to sacrifice Black and Brown communities to export LNG at increasingly alarming rates across the globe, keeping other nations addicted to fossil fuels. Here at COP28, the United States must get serious about a full phaseout of fossil fuels that includes a stop to LNG exports, abated and unabated.”

“Under President Biden’s current policies, gas exports are expected to soar by 2035. This administration has funneled billions of taxpayer dollars into LNG projects in the United States and abroad,” said Allie Rosenbluth, United States Program Manager at Oil Change International. “If Biden wants to show he’s truly a climate leader, he must end all support for LNG and support a full, fair, fast, and funded phaseout of fossil fuels at the UN climate talks.”

“As a resident of a frontline community, I wholeheartedly understand and advocate for the imperative of a fast, fair, and forever phaseout of fossil fuels,” said Roishetta Ozane, Director of The Vessel Project of Louisiana and Gulf Fossil Finance Coordinator at Texas Campaign for the Environment. “Our community bears the brunt of the negative impacts caused by the extraction and burning of these fuels. As a mom raising children with health conditions caused by the pollution from these industries, I understand the impacts on human life. The United States must stop putting people last and for once put us first.”

“The mad dash for gas is nothing but a blockade to a renewable energy future in Southeast Asia. Lies peddled by countries like the United States paint gas as a transition fuel, but our people and environment have paid a steep price,” said Krishna Ariola of Youth for Climate Hope Philippines. “In addition to LNG’s environmental and climate impact, new gas plants mean higher electricity bills and a slower transition to renewables. Why must we let LNG poison our waters, destroy biodiversity, and drive us further to climate chaos?”

“The LNG terminal on Krk Island in Croatia was built despite the overwhelming opposition of the local and regional communities. Croatia now plans to increase its capacity by 100 percent and do it jointly with Austria and Bavaria in order to bring gas to Germany, who already has six new terminals planned. It’s proven that the demand for gas in Europe is decreasing. So the question is, who are these terminals actually in the interest of? Perhaps the United States as the biggest exporter of LNG to the EU?”, said Marija Mileta, vice-president of Zelena Akcija (Friends of the Earth Croatia).