Time to Phase Out Fossil Fuels and Build the Green Economy

In news that was generally overlooked amidst the 24/7 coverage of President Trump’s government shutdown, over 600 environmental groups published an open letter on January 10 called on the 116th Congress for “visionary and affirmative legislation action” to address the looming climate emergency now.

The organizers of the letter, Friends of the Earth (FOE), called for a “thoughtful phaseout of fossil fuel production, a transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035, complete decarbonization of the transportation system, use of the Clean Air Act to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, a just transition to a new green economy and the adherence to treaties upholding Indigenous rights when pursuing these actions.”

Noted FOE in a press release on the letter:

Months before the 116th Congress opened, a series of scientific reports warned of the dire consequences of inaction on climate change.

In October the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that policymakers must take “unprecedented action” to limit warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. In November the Fourth National Climate Assessment reported that the health and economic costs of climate change are already being felt in the U.S., and that those harms will intensify without “immediate and substantial” cuts to greenhouse gas pollution.

The letter expresses support for many of the goals of the Green New Deal proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), if not the Green New Deal (GND) itself. The GND select committee proposed by Ocasio-Cortez is based upon earlier proposals created by the Green Party USA.

“At precisely the time that we need our energy policy to swiftly move us into a managed decline of fossil fuel production, the Trump administration is working with the fossil fuel industry to tear down policies and dangerously expand our fossil fuel extraction,” said David Turnbull, strategic communications director at Oil Change USA. “We need real climate leaders willing to stand up to this onslaught and work to phase out fossil fuel production, rather than digging the hole deeper.”

The letter was signed by a broad range of groups from across the United States, including the Center for Biological Diversity, CODEPINK, Family Farm Defenders, Food & Water Watch, The John Muir Project, and Jesus People Against Pollution.

Local signatories included 350 Petaluma, which has been organizing a response to the climate emergency, and Two Mooks and a Mic, the popular local radio show on KPCA 103.3, featuring Matt Maguire and Jim Thomas.

For a deeper discussion of the GND proposal currently before the 116th Congress, read We Have to Make Sure the “Green New Deal” Doesn’t Become Green Capitalism, an interview by Sarah Lazare of In These Times with Kali Akuno of Cooperation Jackson, .

Join us at the Downtown Drawdown February 13 at the Bank Hub to learn how you can help a people-powered movement reverse global warming now.

Click here for a press release from Connie Madden of the Sonoma County Pachamama Alliance on the Downtown Drawdown.

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