April 27, 2022

500 Global Groups Urge Biden to End Fossil Fuel Era in Response to Russia-Ukraine War 

Global Push to Accelerate Just Transition to Renewable Energy

WASHINGTON— More than 500 organizations from six continents sent a letter to President Biden and other world leaders today, urging them to speed the end of the fossil fuel era and spur a just and equitable transition to 100% renewable energy. The letter demands an end to the violence and climate chaos sowed by fossil fuels in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and people worldwide affected by the global volatility of oil and gas prices. 

The letter states: “Humanity now faces a cascade of emergencies. The Russian military, business and political elites around President Putin are committing brutal crimes in Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, annihilating basic principles of state sovereignty and undermining democracy. At the same time, the climate crisis is wreaking an “atlas of human suffering”. These crises may seem entirely independent, but they share the same dangerous thread: dependence on fossil fuels.”

The letter comes two months after Russia began its unlawful, fossil fuel-funded assault on Ukraine and days after the Biden administration made a renewed Earth Day push to confirm its commitment to addressing the climate emergency. 

However, this purported commitment clashes with the administration’s plans to rapidly expand U.S. fossil gas exports to Europe and restart the federal fossil fuel leasing program. 

The letter condemns fossil fuel expansion, and calls for an end to fossil fuel extraction, windfall profits, subsidies and other financial support to the fossil fuel industry. A recent bill from Democrat Senator Sheldon Whitehouse seeks to tax oil and gas companies’ excess profits tied to spikes in global fossil fuel prices. 

The letter also demands that Biden proliferate safe, distributed, democratic renewable energy systems and energy-efficiency technologies to displace the violent fossil energy system. A recent bill from U.S. Reps.Cori Bush (D-Mo.) and Jason Crow (D-Colo.) would require Biden to use the Defense Production Act to build a renewable energy industrial base to protect communities and achieve energy independence from deadly fossil fuels. 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released a report confirming the scientific mandate to make rapid and deep cuts in carbon emissions by phasing out all fossil fuels and making transformative shifts toward energy efficiency, renewable energy, and forest and ecosystem conservation. United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres called the report a “file of shame” and warned that current empty pledges put us “firmly on track towards an unlivable world.” 

Below are statements from leading environment, climate, and frontline organizations:

“The US has shown a good example of how fast the right decisions can be made in times of need by banning fossil fuel imports from Russia after 2 weeks of war. However, because of being unprepared to cover the gap with renewables, now the US is basically looking for new suppliers of fossil fuels to feed itself. Other countries’ dependency on coal, oil and gas are enabling Russia to continue its invasion of Ukraine. Creating new dependencies will only lead to more geopolitical and climate crises. I think the US can do better. And it should do better. We want to see the criminal fossil fuel industry end in the closest decade and transition to renewable energy as fast as possible. There should be no place for dirty and harmful energy suppliers in the world we’re building,” Olha Boiko, coordinator of CAN Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia

“The fossil fuel blood money funding Russia’s war machine reveals the link between dirty energy and deadly conflict,” said Jean Su, energy justice director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “But instead of working to break this vicious cycle, President Biden is doubling down on fossil fuels with expanded exports and broken-promise federal leasing. The right response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine isn’t more drilling, but an energy transformation built on renewables, justice and peace. The good news is that President Biden has the executive tools to break free from fossil fuel oligarchs and turn the U.S. into a renewable-energy powerhouse. The violence of fossil fuels must come to an end to save life on Earth,” Jean Su, Energy Justice Program director, Center for Biological Diversity

“Oil and gas infrastructure exposes my community in Freeport, Texas to toxic pollution and fuels the climate emergency hitting the Gulf Coast with worse hurricanes and storm surges. Biden and all world leaders need to transition now to clean, renewable energy to protect the health and wellbeing of Gulf Coast environmental justice communities like mine,” Melanie Oldham, Chair, Citizens for Clean Air and Water in Brazoria County

“President Biden is failing to capitalize on an iconic moment in world history to move the U.S and its European allies beyond dependence on fossil fuels and into clean, green renewable energy. Rather than coordinate the transition with Europe, Biden has pivoted to big oil and gas, seeing in them the solution to the problem. But nothing could be further from the truth. An “all-of-the-above” play, like Sen. Manchin proposes, is a recipe for climate catastrophe and shooting well past 1.5 degrees Celsius by continuing reliance on fossil fuels. Fortunately, Biden still can make a difference, but it will take Europe and our pollution overburdened American communities to compel him to make real his promises,” John Beard, Founder, Port Arthur Community Action Network