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President Biden Will Enter Office With a Mandate to Act for Climate Justice

by Ryan Schleeter

January 20, 2021

"We have never been closer than we are right now to ending fossil fuel racism and ushering in the era of the Green New Deal."

© Tim Aubry / Greenpeace

Washington, DC — In response to Joe Biden’s inauguration later today as the 46th President of the United States, Greenpeace USA Executive Director Annie Leonard said:

“For the past four years, we have cared for one another. Our communities have had each others’ backs in the wake of every attack Trump and the GOP launched against our democracy, our environment, our health, and our human rights. Now, we must come together to ensure our government finally cares for all of us, not just a few. There is so much work to do, but we have never been closer than we are right now to ending fossil fuel racism and ushering in the era of the Green New Deal.

“Against great obstacles during this pandemic, people turned out in record numbers to pick new leaders who will govern for all of us. Greenpeace contacted more than 4.4 million voters in the leadup to the general election and a million more in the Georgia Senate runoffs. So believe me when I say: it is we the people who have given Joe Biden this chance to lead. It’s Black, Brown, Indigenous, and working-class voters — those same voters that Trump sought and failed to discredit — who are the reason we will swear in President Biden today.

“With Joe Biden in the White House and Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate, so much is possible, but nothing is guaranteed. As we look to confront the interwoven crises of climate change, COVID-19, and systemic racism, it is not enough to go back to normal. What we knew as normal was a crisis. President Biden must divest from systems of exploitation and extraction — like police and fossil fuels — and invest in a Green New Deal for workers, families, and communities. We are urging President Biden not just to Build Back Better, but to Build Back Fossil Free.

“For years, we have been offered a false choice between a healthy economy and a healthy planet. We’ve been told that inequality is the result of individual shortcomings, not systemic failures. Today, we see through those myths and begin writing a new story. One that says the just, green, and peaceful future we deserve is possible, and that together we can build the power to manifest it. Our movement will make sure President Biden is listening.”

Greenpeace and nearly 200 leading progressive organizations and grassroots groups have coalesced behind the Build Back Fossil Free platform. The platform identifies 25 crucial executive actions — from protecting public lands to launching a national climate mobilization — Biden must take early in his presidency to prevent climate chaos, end fossil fuel racism, and improve well-being for millions of people.

ENDS

Contact: Ryan Schleeter, Senior Communications Specialist, Greenpeace USA: +1 (415) 342-2386, [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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