Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

4 Reasons Why It's Time to Break Free

Climate

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

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

More than 1,000 people were told to evacuate their homes when a wildfire ignited in the foothills west of Denver Monday, Colorado Public Radio reported.

Read More Show Less

Accessibility to quality health care has dropped for millions of Americans who lost their health insurance due to unemployment. mixetto / E+ / Getty Images

Accessibility to quality health care has dropped for millions of Americans who lost their health insurance due to unemployment. New research has found that 5.4 million Americans were dropped from their insurance between February and May of this year. In that three-month stretch more Americans lost their coverage than have lost coverage in any entire year, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
Heat waves are most dangerous for older people and those with health problems. Global Jet / Flickr / CC by 2.0

On hot days in New York City, residents swelter when they're outside and in their homes. The heat is not just uncomfortable. It can be fatal.

Read More Show Less
Nearly 250 U.S. oil and gas companies are expected to file for bankruptcy by the end of next year. Joshua Doubek / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

Fracking companies are going bankrupt at a rapid pace, often with taxpayer-funded bonuses for executives, leaving harm for communities, taxpayers, and workers, the New York Time reports.

Read More Show Less
Trump introduces EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler during an event to announce changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Jan. 9, 2020 in Washington, DC. The changes would make it easier for federal agencies to approve infrastructure projects without considering climate change. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

A report scheduled for release later Tuesday by Congress' non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that the Trump administration undervalues the costs of the climate crisis in order to push deregulation and rollbacks of environmental protections, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Education Association (NEA), and AASA, The School Superintendents Association, voiced support for safe reopening measures. www.vperemen.com / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA

By Kristen Fischer

It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Critics charge the legislation induces poor communities to sell off their water rights. Pexels

By Eoin Higgins

Over 300 groups on Monday urged Senate leadership to reject a bill currently under consideration that would incentivize communities to sell off their public water supplies to private companies for pennies on the dollar.

Read More Show Less