USA | Legal petition pushes President Obama to declare climate emergency

Press release 20 April 2016:

Legal Petition Pushes President Obama to End Crude Oil Exports, Declare Climate Emergency

350 Organizations Back Effort to Protect Climate, Communities From Fracking Pollution Linked to Exporting U.S. Oil

WASHINGTON — As the Obama administration prepares to sign the Paris climate agreement, 350 environmental, social-justice, health and faith organizations filed a legal petition today urging President Barack Obama to declare a national climate emergency and end all U.S. crude oil exports. The ban would keep millions of tons of greenhouse gas pollution from escaping into the atmosphere and worsening the climate crisis.

Today’s petition, organized  by the Center for Biological Diversity and Food & Water Watch, calls on the president to immediately halt the export of crude oil under executive legal authority granted to him by the 2016 Appropriations Act and the National Emergencies Act.

As global temperatures hit record highs, the petition points out that “climate change is unquestionably a national emergency.” It also notes that halting crude exports is essential to the Paris Agreement’s goal “to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.”

The petition filing comes two days before the landmark climate agreement reached last year is signed in New York. The president signed an omnibus bill lifting the 40-year-old export ban in December, less than a week after agreeing to the Paris climate accord.

“President Obama must halt crude exports to give us a fighting chance to meet the Paris Agreement’s crucial climate goals,” said the Center’s Jean Su. “The president has the legal authority to reverse the terrible mistake he made in approving an end to the longstanding ban on crude exports. He has to seize this opportunity to protect our climate and U.S. communities from drilling and fracking.”

“While Americans are increasingly turning against fracking and fossil fuels, President Obama has shockingly seen fit to double down on oil extraction to facilitate needless exports,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “But the president has a chance to make this right by acknowledging our emerging climate emergency and halting oil exports now. He must seize this opportunity.”

Halting crude oil exports would reduce drilling and fracking and could prevent up to 500 million tons of greenhouse emissions — the pollution equivalent of more than 135 coal-fired power plants, according to a report from the Center for American Progress.

In addition to climate damage, the petition also highlights the devastating threats to public health and safety created by widespread fracking that has played a key role in driving the production of U.S. crude oil for export.

Fracking and drilling have polluted the air and contaminated water supplies in communities across the country. A recent study by Stanford scientists found that fracking and other oil and gas operations contaminated groundwater in Pavillion, Wyo. Another study, published last year in the journal Epidemiology, found that women living near fracking and drilling face a dramatically increased probability of premature births and high-risk pregnancies.

Today’s petition is signed by the Center for Biological Diversity, Food & Water Watch, Greenpeace U.S.A., Friends of the Earth U.S., , Physicians for Social Responsibility, Public Citizen, SustainUS, WildEarth Guardians, Progressive Democrats of America, Rainforest Action Network, Amazon Watch, Corporate Accountability International, Waterkeeper Alliance, Environment America, and hundreds of other national, regional and local groups.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 990,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

» National CLimate Emergency Petition (PDF, 15 pages)

Contacts:
Jean Su, Center for Biological Diversity, (510) 844-7139, jsu@biologicaldiversity.org

Seth Gladstone, Food & Water Watch, (347) 778-2866, sgladstone@fwwatch.org



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USA | Barack Obama: We’re not acting fast enough

“The point is that climate change is no longer some far-off problem. It is happening here. It is happening now. Climate change is already disrupting our agriculture and ecosystems, our water and food supplies, our energy, our infrastructure, human health, human safety – now. Today. And climate change is a trend that affects all trends – economic trends, security trends. Everything will be impacted. And it becomes more dramatic with each passing year.”

“If we do nothing, temperatures in Alaska are projected to rise between six and 12 degrees by the end of the century, triggering more melting, more fires, more thawing of the permafrost, a negative feedback loop, a cycle – warming leading to more warming – that we do not want to be a part of. And the fact is that climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it. That, ladies and gentlemen, must change. We’re not acting fast enough.”

“People will suffer. Economies will suffer. Entire nations will find themselves under severe, severe problems. More drought; more floods; rising sea levels; greater migration; more refugees; more scarcity; more conflict. That’s one path we can take. The other path is to embrace the human ingenuity that can do something about it. This is within our power. This is a solvable problem if we start now. And we’re starting to see that enough consensus is being built internationally and within each of our own body politics that we may have the political will – finally – to get moving.”

Obama speaks out on climate change

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjcAZNRfm1g

President Obama spoke on climate change on 31 August 2015

Published on youtube.com on 31 August 2015. A shorter version of the speech was posted by The White House

» Transcript of Obama’s speech at GLACIER in Alaska

In 2015, President Obama travelled to Alaska to shine a spotlight on what Alaskans in particular have come to know: Climate change is one of the biggest threats we face, it is being driven by human activity, and it is disrupting Americans’ lives right now.



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