By Ramona du Houx

April 28, 2022

Actor and environmental advocate, Mark Ruffalo, and Kevin Johnson, a military veteran- Board Director of the Environmental Defense Action Fund, were on MSNBC on April 11 to urge President Biden to prioritize clean energy independence. They requested that the president invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA).

“Clean energy independence is the only real solution to protect national security lower our energy prices, and create hundreds of thousands of jobs for veterans, frontline communities and fossil fuel workers in the process. You’re ticking a lot of boxes that we’re facing today,” said Ruffalo.

Ruffalo went on to tell MSNBC that President Joe Biden should seize this critical point in history to push needed climate legislation to combat the existential threat of climate change. The Defense Production Act would help aide Europe end its dependency on Russian oil and gas, and lower the price at the pump for millions of Americans.

President Biden in March invoked the Defense Production Act to compel mining and processing for electric vehicle batteries and energy storage facilities.

“We’re calling on the administration to go further to increase critical infrastructure here at home like heat pumps, solar panels and wind turbine components,” said Kevin Johnson, a military veteran- Board Director of the Environmental Defense Action Fund. “We’re really just following the lead of the Pentagon. Many folks don’t know the Department of Defense (DoD) has been leading on the environment.”

The DoD currently has $3 billion in their budget for the climate change.

He said there are discussions at the Department of Energy to increase the production of heat pumps, solar panels and wind turbines that would be exported to Europe to help lessen their dependency on fossil fuels from Russia.

There’s a clear case now to use the DPA to help deal with the climate emergency. The Pentagon says that climate change is a risk to national security, from the direct threats that extreme weather poses to military bases to an increase in conflict around the world as drought and floods impact critical water and food supplies. And what’s happening now in Ukraine—funded largely by sales of Russia’s fossil fuels to Europe—is highlighting the immediate security risks of fossil dependence.

Additionally, Ruffalo and other celebrities have been urging City National Bank with a Hollywood boycott if its parent company if it doesn’t stop financial backing of the Coastal GasLink pipeline in Canada.

In an op-ed for Rolling Stone magazine, Mark Ruffalo wrote that the bank’s parent company, the Royal Bank of Canada, should immediately divest from the Coastal GasLink “or Hollywood and many others will just divest from them.” 

The Californian Los Angeles-based City National Bank is known as the “Bank to the Stars” for its celebrity clientele and has ties to the entertainment industry.

The celebrity pressure campaign against City National Bank started in March of 2022 with who announced and signed an open letter urging the Royal Bank of Canada to divest from the Coastal GasLink, which violates the territory and waters of the Wet’suwet’en Peoples.

“Despite claiming to be a leader in climate conscious banking, since acquiring CNB in 2015, RBC has invested over $160 billion to become one of the world’s largest and most aggressive financiers of tar sands, fossil fuel extraction, and transport . . . We refuse to allow our industry’s bank of choice to be unethical at any level, to accelerate the climate crisis, or to facilitate the abuse the rights of Indigenous Peoples,” they wrote an open letter to City National and RBC.

Some of the Hollywood signatories joining Mark Ruffalo are Leonardo DiCaprio, Jane Fonda, Joaquin Phoenix, Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Ben Stiller, David Fincher, Ava DuVernay, Jewel and Amy Schumer.

In 2021, Hollywood celebrities successfully pressured President Biden to shut down the Keystone XL pipeline on his first day in office.

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