Today, youth strikers, climate impacted communities, and climate and environmental justice activists joined together to escalate the demand for President Joe Biden to #BuildBackFossilFree and stop all new fossil fuel projects, ahead of his Leaders Summit on Climate starting tomorrow, from April 22-23.
A Climate Clock traveled from Union Square in New York City to the White House in Washington, D.C. with a petition demanding Biden and world governments stop all fossil fuel expansion. Speakers represented climate impacted communities and the demands of the 300,000 people who signed the Build Back Fossil Free petitions. Speakers also demonstrated the inherent connections between climate and racial justice, with today’s action taking place the day after the guilty conviction of Derek Chauvin in murdering George Floyd.
“On Day 1 in office, Biden cancelled Keystone XL. Now he must do the same with Line 3, the Dakota Access pipeline, and all new fossil fuel projects. There can be no meaningful climate action if we don’t keep all fossil fuels in the ground. By doing so, Biden will show the world that the U.S. is serious about facing the climate crisis at scale and centering the communities most impacted,” said Natalie Mebane, Policy Director of 350.org.
Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate presents a key opportunity for world leaders to commit to bold, transformative climate ambition ahead of COP26 in Glasgow this November. A projection of the climate clock has also been installed in Glasgow. Biden and world governments must drastically increase emission reduction targets to limit global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius. To do that, they must keep fossil fuels in the ground, including by stopping all new fossil fuel projects.
“The Biden Climate Summit is a big opportunity for the administration to end all fossil fuel projects that threaten our sacred lands, Manoomin(Wild Rice), Treaty’s, and waters. There is no such thing as safe fossil fuel pipelines — all pipelines leak –– and there is no time left to delay on bold climate action to protect my community and communities around the US,” said Silas Neeland of White Earth Nation.
Morgan Brings Plenty, Social Media Intern at Indigenous Environmental Network added, “The Dakota Access pipeline is an illegally operated pipeline; it has never had all of its permits. Biden has it in his authority to shut it down. Yes, he shut down Keystone XL on Day One, but he needs to shut down all of Trump’s pipelines’, including DAPL, Line 3, and Mountain Valley. We will not accept anything less then the complete shutdown and removal of DAPL. Respect our existence or expect our resistance.”
“I traveled from cancer alley to Washington, D.C. because our community is being poisoned by oil, gas, and petrochemical industries,” said Sharon Lavigne, founder and director of RISE St. James. “We are fighting for our survival. President Biden must fulfill his promise to tackle climate change and environmental racism by revoking permits for Formosa Plastics’ proposed petrochemical complex in St. James, and placing a moratorium on all new and expanding petrochemical plants.”
As communities continue to rebuild and recover from the compound crises of COVID-19, racial and economic injustice, and devastating climate disasters, we are sending a clear signal to the Biden-Harris administration: it’s not enough to Build Back Better — we demand a Just Recovery to Build Back Fossil Free.
“As a young, Black environmentalist, I am clear in my demands that Biden must be resolute and proactive in his actions in order to avoid the worst of the climate crisis,” said Elsa Mengistu, Climate Justice Consultant. “First and foremost, we must keep fossil fuels in the ground. Communities that make up all of what I am are the ones who are bearing the brunt of this climate crisis and that is why I call for comprehensive, community-conscious, holistic solutions that do not leave us behind. If we truly want to tackle this exponential crisis, I believe it’s imperative that Biden centers and takes lead from communities of color and community-created solutions in his climate action.”
Photo credit: Laura Beth Pelner/Movement Catalyst