President Obama arrived in Alaska yesterday for a high-profile address on climate change. His speech was one of his best ever on the issue — moving, forceful, and grounded in the reality of the melting permafrost.

Here’s what he said during his address:

“The United States recognizes our role in creating this problem, and we embrace our responsibility to help solve it … It’s not enough just to talk the talk. We’ve got to walk the walk.”

But the gap between his walk and his talk is almost painful to see. Remember, this is a President who has let a Keystone XL decision languish for years, and so far green-lit Shell’s drilling in the Arctic.

If he’s serious about walking the walk, what we need from him — and from world leaders meeting in Paris this year — is simple:

  • Keep at least 80% of fossil fuels in the ground.
  • Finance a just transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

Anything less will put too many of the communities that did the least to cause the climate crisis at risk of floods, superstorms or other climate disasters.

The President has opportunities to start walking the walk now.

There are 450 billion tons of carbon pollution on publicly owned lands in the US, including under Alaska, enough to push the world over key climate tipping points. Keeping 80% of the world’s fossil fuels underground means putting 100% of that coal, oil, and gas off limits — something President Obama could do with the stroke of a pen.

And if the President also puts his pen to work on rejecting Keystone XL, Alberta Clipper expansion, and Shell’s bid to drill the Arctic, we could start to set the world on a path towards a different kind of climate future.

The companies pushing to dig up all that carbon pollution are using our money to do it. Between now and Paris, the campaign to divest from fossil fuels is doubling-down to show that it’s immoral to fund the destruction of the planet: pressuring colleges, churches and museums to cut their ties with destruction.

And when we do divest, we’re going to make a new effort to reinvest in solutions that are community and grassroots led, with good jobs, that work for everyone.

We’re at a global economic tipping point: for two years running, the world has built more renewable energy than fossil-fueled. Unfortunately we’re also at climate tipping points — July 2015 was the hottest month ever recorded on planet earth.

With people power, Paris could be a political tipping point. It will take President Obama doing more, and more from us as well. Click here to tell him to do what it takes to keep 80% of fossil fuels underground and fund a just transition to 100% renewables by 2050.

The road through the Paris climate talks will be a tough one — but together we can walk it, and build the power it will take to transform our economy and our planet.



P.S. Also be sure to see our new page laying out all of the organizing plans between now and next April — click here to get plugged in.

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