Huge news: the Obama administration is putting a moratorium on new coal sales on public lands.

This moratorium will keep enormous amounts of carbon in the ground and move the U.S. closer toward hitting our climate goals set in Paris. And if our next President makes the moratorium permanent, this could end up being the single biggest step toward keeping fossil fuels in the ground that the U.S. has ever taken. We’re talking about 212 gigatons of carbon left safely underground! (To put that in perspective, the Canadian tar sands represent about 240 gigatons of carbon.)

This is a real movement-driven victory too: from marching in the streets across the country (and around the world) this past December, to winning big fights like the Keystone XL rejection and Arctic drilling — today’s announcement is possible because of the momentum that you’ve had a hand in creating. The climate movement is really changing the political game.

And we can’t stop now. This win is a huge deal, but this fight isn’t over. We’re calling on Obama to end all government sales of fossil fuels — including oil and gas.

The administration’s plan is to stop federal coal sales and do a complete review of the federal coal leasing program, which has essentially been giving away our public lands to the fossil fuel industry to extract coal (and oil and gas) since 1920.

Most importantly, the review will focus on the climate impacts of coal — and any proper climate review will conclude that we need to leave the coal on public lands untouched. The industry already has five times more coal, oil and gas reserves than we can safely burn. Keeping climate change below 2°C, which the Obama administration has pledged to do — let alone the 1.5°C it said in Paris that we should be aiming for — means a radical shift toward keeping fossil fuels in the ground across the board.

Here’s what the head of the National Mining Association said about this decision: “It appears that they’re going after the federal coal leasing program with the intention of keeping coal in the ground.” Yes!

Fossil fuels have no place in a 21st century energy plan, and our government has no business selling them. President Obama could keep half of all U.S. fossil fuels underground forever by banning government sales of all fossil fuels.

Fossil fuel companies already have way more fossil fuels than we can burn — we can’t afford to sell them any more. This win is great news, but this fight is nowhere near done.

We’ve got the upper hand right now, and momentum is key. Let’s keep winning.

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