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Leading progressive groups launch pressure campaign for Biden to address fossil fuel pollution and the climate crisis

by Ryan Schleeter

December 17, 2020

Joe Biden must live up to his promises and take executive action to deliver healthy communities, millions of good-paying jobs, and a better life for people on the frontlines of fossil fuel racism, pollution, and the climate crisis.

Joe Biden

© Marc Nozell / Creative Commons

Today, organizations representing millions of environmental, racial, and economic justice advocates across the country are launching a new campaign to hold President-elect Joe Biden accountable to his promises for bold climate action. The Build Back Fossil Free campaign includes 25 crucial executive actions Biden must take the moment he enters office to prevent climate chaos, end fossil fuel racism, and improve well-being for millions of people.

“False promises and fossil fuel favors will only deepen the interlocking crises our country faces,” said Greenpeace USA Climate Campaigner Charlie Jiang. “Joe Biden has promised to be a president for all people — that must include the Black, Indigenous, brown, and working-class communities on the frontlines of fossil-fueled destruction and climate disasters. We have a once-in-a-generation chance to hold racist, polluting corporations accountable and transition to an energy system that puts people’s health and well-being first. To keep his promises and truly unite our country, Biden needs to Build Back Fossil Free.”

We have a once-in-a-generation chance at healthy communities, millions of good-paying jobs, and a better life for people on the frontlines of fossil fuel pollution and the climate crisis. We urge Joe Biden to use all the tools at his disposal to avert further climate devastation while helping people recover from the pandemic. Together, the actions outlined in the Build Back Fossil Free platform will:

  • Protect and invest in the Black, Indigenous, Brown, and working-class communities that have borne the brunt of fossil fuel pollution and climate disasters.
  • Reject new fossil fuel projects, eliminate giveaways to oil gas, and coal corporations, and end the era of fossil fuel production.
  • Launch a national climate mobilization to Build Back Fossil Free, deliver jobs, justice, and opportunity for all.

“Biden’s legal authority to be the climate president is just as compelling as his political mandate,” said Jean Su, an attorney and director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Energy Justice program. “Bedrock environmental laws like the Clean Air Act, as well as the National Emergencies Act, empower the president to act immediately to prevent climate catastrophe and protect communities. Biden can take the bold action we need on Day One, including immediately ending new fossil fuel permits and project approvals and declaring a climate emergency to ignite our clean and democratic energy revolution.”

Fossil fuel pollution and climate disasters are already disrupting millions of lives. As Biden takes office, activists from the North Slope of Alaska to the Gulf Coast of Texas will still be fighting to stop dangerous fossil fuel projects like the Keystone XL and Line 3 pipelines and protect sacred places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Black, Indigenous, Brown, and working-class communities gave Biden the chance to lead. Now, it’s time for Biden to keep his promises to us.

“Indian Country organized our communities and relatives to vote for Biden. The violation of our treaty rights by Enbridge’s Line 3 is the continued weakening of our sovereignty,” said Dawn Goodwin of the RISE Coalition. “Immediately, Biden needs to stop Line 3 and require federal agencies to secure Free, Prior & Informed Consent from our tribal nations. We are past the tipping point and immediate action must be taken to protect the water, land, and sky. We will not back down.”

A growing number of progressive organizations and grassroots movements have endorsed the Build Back Fossil Free platform. These include Action Center on Race and the Economy, Alliance for Climate Education, Another Gulf is Possible, California Kitchen, Call to Action Colorado, Call to Action Madison, CatholicNetwork.US, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for International Environmental Law, Cheyenne River Grassroots Collective, Climate Justice Alliance, Colorado Businesses for a Livable Climate, the Colorado Democratic Party Energy & Environment Initiative, Earth Action, Earthworks, Food & Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace USA, Hip Hop Caucus, Idle No More SF Bay, Indigenous Environmental Network, Indivisible, the Institute for Policy Studies, Movement Rights, New Florida Majority, New York Communities for Change, Northern Colorado Community Rights Network, Oil Change International, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, People’s Action, Power Past Fracked Gas, Pueblo Action Alliance, Rainforest Action Network, RapidShift.Network, Renewables Now Loveland, Rogue Climate, Sierra Club, the Sunrise Movement, Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN), WildEarth Guardians, Wilderness Workshop, 198 methods, 350.org, and 350 Silicon Valley.

The full set of executive action demands, as well as convening partners and sponsoring organizations, is available at www.buildbackfossilfree.org. The Build Back Fossil Free campaign builds on two detailed policy platforms: the #ClimatePresident Action Plan and the Frontlines Climate Justice Executive Action Platform. Together, they are supported by more than 500 leading climate, environmental, racial and economic justice, and youth organizations nationwide.

ENDS

Contacts: 

Ryan Schleeter, Greenpeace USA: (415) 342-2386, [email protected]

Jennifer K. Falcon, Indigenous Environmental Network: (218) 760-9958, [email protected]

Jean Su, Center for Biological Diversity: (415) 770-3187, [email protected]

Ryan Schleeter

By Ryan Schleeter

Ryan Schleeter is a senior communications specialist with Greenpeace USA covering climate and energy. His writing has appeared in National Geographic, Grist, GreenBiz, EcoWatch, and more. Find him on Twitter @ryschlee.

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