Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

4 Reasons Why It's Time to Break Free

Climate
4 Reasons Why It's Time to Break Free

With the presidential campaign dominating the news cycle, it's easy to get distracted from what our current administration is doing—and not doing—to tackle climate change. We can't afford to wait and see what the election brings. That's why communities from the Gulf South to Alaska and around the globe are uniting in an incredible wave of resistance to fossil fuels this week.

Climate activists gathered in Anchorage, Alaska last month to speak out against offshore drilling in the U.S. Arctic. Photo credit: Mark Meyer / Greenpeace

Here's why taking action matters:

1. Business as usual for the fossil fuel industry cannot continue.

The consequences of our reliance on dirty energy are no secret, but that hasn't stopped fossil fuel companies from going to extremes to protect their bottom lines.

Exxon, for one, knew the climate impacts of burning fossil fuels 40 years ago. But instead of acting in the interest of humanity, the company campaigned in secret to cover up climate science so it could continue to plunder and pollute in search of more oil to burn.

Not to be outdone, Shell spent three years and $7 billion trying to drill in U.S. Arctic waters, a campaign that ended in a very public, ego-bruising failure in 2015. But the company is still clinging to its Arctic drilling hopes by a thread, relinquishing all but one of its Alaskan leases on Tuesday.

What do these two stories have in common? People power winning out over corporate greed. Thanks to tireless activism, Exxon is finally taking its scandal seriously, deploying the full force of its lawyers and lobbyists. And the movement that pressured Shell to leave the Arctic also prompted President Obama to protect Alaska from offshore drilling through 2017 and make the Atlantic off limits through 2022.

2. The path to a sustainable future does not include fossil fuels.

If we have any hope of preventing runaway climate change, we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground—starting now.

A 2015 study in the journal Nature revealed that we need to leave at least 80 percent of the world's known remaining fossil fuel reserves untouched, including more than 90 percent of U.S. coal reserves and a whopping 100 percent of Arctic oil and gas.

In the U.S. alone, keeping publicly owned fossil fuels in the ground would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 100 million metric tons per year.

Of course, communities on the frontlines of the fight against fossil fuels have known this for years, but policymakers are just starting to catch up.

3. Actions speak louder than words.

If last year's Paris climate talks showed us anything, it's that the world's political leaders are ready to talk the talk on climate action.

But are they ready to walk the walk? So far, the answer is no.

President Obama, for example, said last year, “As long as I am president, America will lead the world to meet this threat [climate change] before it's too late."

But his actions aren't on pace with the change we need. He's failed to protect the U.S. Arctic and the Gulf of Mexico from offshore drilling and his Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell called the keep it in the ground movement “naive" in a recent speech.

If you think it's “naive" to preach climate action one minute then turn around and sell our public land to the highest bidder the next, then it's time to speak up!

4. Momentum for a clean energy revolution is on our side.

Breaking free from fossil fuels won't happen overnight, but we're far beyond square one. People power has already stopped major projects like the Keystone XL pipeline and forced Shell to abandon immediate Arctic drilling plans.

And we didn't stop there.

This series of wins is no accident—it's because people like you and me are uniting around one clear message. We only have one choice to protect our future: keep fossil fuels in the ground.

From financial stress to increased pressure from people like you, the fossil fuel industry is reeling. Right now is our best chance to turn up the heat and make 2016 a tipping point in the journey towards a clean, just, renewable energy future.

Communities all over the country—from Alaska to the Gulf South—have already pushed us closer and closer to this tipping point. Now it's time to build on their actions and break free from fossil fuels for good.

Sound like a movement you want to be a part of? Find a Break Free action near you and get involved.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Leonardo DiCaprio Stands With Great Sioux Nation to Stop Dakota Access Pipeline

Carbon Emissions Fall as U.S. Economy Grows

Army Corps Denies Permits for Biggest Proposed Coal Export Terminal in North America

Big Oil Told to Adapt or Die

Sir David Attenborough speaks at the launch of the UK-hosted COP26 UN Climate Summit at the Science Museum on Feb. 4, 2020 in London, England. Jeremy Selwyn - WPA Pool / Getty Images

Sir David Attenborough wants to share a message about the climate crisis. And it looks like his fellow Earthlings are ready to listen.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

People walk down a flooded street as they evacuate their homes after the area was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on August 27, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Kevin T. Smiley

When hurricanes and other extreme storms unleash downpours like Tropical Storm Beta has been doing in the South, the floodwater doesn't always stay within the government's flood risk zones.

New research suggests that nearly twice as many properties are at risk from a 100-year flood today than the Federal Emergency Management Agency's flood maps indicate.

Read More Show Less

Trending

William Perry Pendley is questioned at a National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Subcommittee hearing on Sept. 10, 2019. Natural Resources Democrats

A federal judge in Montana ordered William Perry Pendley, the head of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), to quit immediately after finding that the Trump administration official had served in the post unlawfully for 14 months, according to CNN.

Read More Show Less
President Donald Trump hands coal miners the pen he used to sign a bill eliminating environmental regulations on the mining industry at the White House in Washington, D.C., on February 16, 2017. Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images

By Oliver Milman

Art Sullivan is considered something of a political heretic by other coal miners in south-western Pennsylvania, where a wave of support for Donald Trump based upon his flamboyant promises of a resurgence in coal helped propel the Republican to the U.S. presidency.

"Many of my coal miner friends voted for him," said Sullivan, who has spent 54 years as a coal miner and, more latterly, consultant to a struggling industry. "They were deceived. Trump had no plan, no concept of how to resurrect the coal industry. My friends were lied to."

Read More Show Less
A new white paper explains how to transform current widespread agricultural practices to regenerative agriculture. PickPik

By Andrea Germanos

A white paper out Friday declares that "there is hope right beneath our feet" to address the climate crisis as it touts regenerative agriculture as a "win-win-win" solution to tackling runaway carbon emissions.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch