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Climate Promises Vs. Climate Action

Building a healthier planet for the next seven generations is going to take all of us. Businesses. Climate activists. Elected leaders. Individuals. And yet, recent climate science says we’re losing ground on keeping warming to 1.5 degrees[1]. While we all have a role to play in combatting the climate crisis, the sweeping climate action people and planet so desperately need starts with President Biden, who we’re calling on to begin keeping his climate promises.


In January, as one of his first actions in office, the President, who said that the United States must “meet the moment” and increase our “climate ambition[2],” released an Executive Order on tackling the climate crisis at home and abroad.


Its promising provisions included:
  1. Putting the climate crisis at the center of foreign policy and national security.
  2. Taking a government-wide approach to the climate crisis.
  3. Empowering workers through rebuilding our infrastructure for a sustainable economy.
  4. Securing environmental justice and spurring economic opportunity[3].


Sounds amazing, right?


Like so many who want to build a healthier future, we were thrilled at the President’s promises. At the prospect, finally, of sweeping, sustained climate action at the highest levels that would rise to the occasion and start taking the climate crisis seriously.


Also encouraging was the President’s willingness to acknowledge the struggles of marginalized Indigenous communities, to whom he promised to “restore tribal lands, address climate change, and safeguard natural and cultural resources.[4]


But nearly a year into the Biden administration, those promises not only remain unfulfilled, the words behind them are beginning to feel empty. To the vulnerable communities in harm’s way. To the young people whose future is at stake. To all of us.


Current Fossil Fuel Projects

Currently, there are nearly two dozen fossil fuel projects, including the Line 3 oil pipeline, President Biden could halt with the stroke of his pen. If completed, or allowed to continue operating, it’s estimated these projects would “release combined annual greenhouse gas pollutions equivalent to approximately 20% of 2019 U.S. emissions[5].”


Since that data can feel a little overwhelming, here’s a good reason to stay hopeful: the vast majority of the emissions included in that estimation are from projects that are either not yet operational or haven’t yet started construction. Which means there’s still time.


We also implore President Biden to remember that keeping fossil fuels in the ground and transitioning to a renewable energy economy is not just what was promised, it’s what the people he represents want.


Witness the thousands who converged on Washington D.C. between October 11-15 to participate in Build Back Fossil Free’s week of climate mobilization and non-violent civil disobedience. Indigenous pipeline fighters, Water Protectors, young people, scientists, faith leaders, and more all showed up to deliver a clear message to President Biden. It’s time to choose: People Vs Fossil Fuels. In addition, Indigenous leaders delivered over one million signed petitions asking the Biden Administration to stop the Line 3 oil pipeline[6].


The oil already flowing through Line 3 risks the health of vulnerable Indigenous communities, water, and wild rice beds, bringing us ever closer to climate catastrophe. Line 3 also violates long-standing treaties, undermining tribal sovereignty and directly contradicting the President’s promise to repair relationships with Indigenous communities and safeguard tribal lands.


With COP26, the United Nations annual climate summit, right around the corner, there’s never been a better time for President Biden to begin living up to his bold climate promises with bold climate action. Because we can’t afford to wait any longer.


In the meantime, what do we do?

We show up. We keep fighting. We keep raising our voices and saying the hard truths. We keep demanding the President keep his climate promises and stand with people.

You can help.

Send the President a direct message to say you stand with this and future generations in demanding fossil fuels stay in the ground.






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On a mission to create a more healthy, sustainable, and equitable world for the next seven generations and beyond.