Welcome back to another Climate Movement Monday in which I provide info on how we can support frontline communities (typically BIPOC and poor people) who are suffering the greatest effects of climate change. I’m not going to lie, my climate anxiety is very high these days as we learn the crisis is accelerating beyond earlier predictions. But this does NOT mean it’s foregone and that we can give up. To the contrary, it’s vital we all push for a just transition to renewables.
Below, I’ve pasted an entire Op-Ed (in The Hill) from the climate political director of the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund that lays out the multiple dangers of being at the mercy of OPEC and relying on fossil fuels. My ask today is that you contact President Biden:
Comment line (11A-3P, Tues-Thurs): 1-202-456-1111
On the same day that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its oil-exporting allies, which include Russia, agreed to raise oil prices with a major supply cut, President Biden was touring Hurricane Ian’s damage in Florida, declaring that it “ends discussion” on the climate crisis. Both show why Biden needs to reinstate the U.S. ban on crude oil exports.
The multidimensional threats from fossil fuels are evident in everything from intensifying superstorms, wildfires and heatwaves to toxic pollution and spiraling energy prices. OPEC’s production cut just before our midterm elections demonstrates how petrostate power threatens both economies and democracy.
Congress lifted the 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports at the behest of the oil industry, right as the Paris climate talks drew to a close in 2015. Big Oil wanted the ban lifted so it could reap greater profits from the oil and gas production boom enabled by fracking — the ultra-hazardous extraction technique that exploits new oil and gas sources at the expense of our climate, health and wildlife habitat.
At the time, oil companies promised that the production boom and lifting of the export ban would lead to energy security and lower gas prices. Surprise, surprise — the oil industry lied. Despite record-high U.S. production, Americans face painful prices at the pump, along with record-high inflation driven in large part by fossil fuel energy prices.
The way for Biden to protect people from price spikes and profiteering is to accelerate the transition to clean renewable energy and end the fossil fuel era once and for all.
As a life-on-Earth-saving bonus, reinstating the crude oil export ban will help end the fracking free-for-all that has supercharged greenhouse gas pollution and the climate crisis. In fact, 85 percent of planet-warming pollution comes from oil, gas and coal. Scientists have been crystal clear that new fossil fuel production is “moral and economic madness.”
Next Biden must direct his executive branch agencies to comply with existing U.S. environmental law and stop approving new fossil fuel infrastructure and extraction projects — none of which serve the public interest. Most major fossil fuel projects require permits from one or more federal agencies. Just as the Biden administration denied the disastrous Keystone Pipeline as contrary to the public interest, other unsustainable and financially risky fossil fuel ventures should be denied.
The oil, gas and coal in fields and mines that are already in production, or where the capital has already been invested, are more than enough to get us to the other side of the clean energy transition. Indeed, the world cannot afford to burn all the fossil fuels in already developed reserves globally — doing so would push us way past the 1.5 degrees Celsius limit agreed to in the Paris climate treaty to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
Kassie Siegel is climate political director at the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund.