March 10, 2022 By Ramona du Houx In solidarity with the people of the democratic sovereign nation of Ukraine, more than 200 groups wrote to President Biden thanking him for halting oil imports from Russia. Furthermore, they urged the administration to continue to resist oil industry lobbyists from their attempts to lock in future fossil fuel exploitation and dependence. The […]
In solidarity with the people of the democratic sovereign nation of Ukraine, more than 200 groups wrote to President Biden thanking him for halting oil imports from Russia. Furthermore, they urged the administration to continue to resist oil industry lobbyists from their attempts to lock in future fossil fuel exploitation and dependence. The key, they wrote, would be for the President to invoke the Defense Production Act so he could accelerate a clean energy transition for energy independence and help the other countries wean themselves off of fossil fuels.
The impacts of the humanitarian tragedy in Ukraine are continuing to unfold and being felt not just in Europe where electricity, heating, and food costs are set to soar, but here in the U.S. and around the world as the price of oil and gas skyrockets.
Amidst the backdrop of the latest dire Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, the need to transition off of fossil fuels has never been more urgent. President Biden can deploy his executive powers to weaken the geopolitical power of fossil fuels, address the climate emergency, and prevent further mass suffering.
Many of the groups leading today’s letter are a part of the Build Back Fossil Free campaign, a growing movement of over 1100 groups organizing for President Biden to use his executive authority to speed the end the era of fossil fuel production, protect communities from the climate emergency, and repair the harm caused by fossil fuels.
The letter is below:
WEDNESDAY MARCH 09, 2022
The Honorable Joseph R. Biden President of the United States The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Biden,
We stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and we want to thank you for halting oil imports from Russia. We urge you to continue to resist short-sighted policies such as scaling up domestic fossil fuel production or expanding oil and gas infrastructure or financing, which would only deepen our dependence on fuels that lead to global instability and drive further devastating climate impacts.
Instead, we are calling on you to invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) to ramp up the deployment of renewable energy1 to transition the world off fossil fuels.
Already the impacts of the humanitarian tragedy in Ukraine are being felt not just in Europe where electricity, heating, and food costs are set to soar, but here in the U.S. and around the world as the price of oil and gas skyrockets.
Putin’s ability to wreak such destruction on Ukraine is predicated on global dependence on fossil fuels. Oil and gas constitute forty percent of Russia’s national revenue, meaning Russian exports of oil and gas are literally funding this invasion. What’s more, global reliance on Russian oil and gas slowed our collective will to respond over fear of higher energy costs the world over.
At the same time, days after the invasion of Ukraine, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its most dire report in 30 years, calling for an end to the fossil fuel era, and documenting what United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres called the “atlas of human suffering” due to climate change.
You can deploy your executive powers to weaken the geopolitical power of fossil fuels, address the climate emergency, and prevent further mass suffering.
We urge you to utilize the Defense Production Act to ramp up the deployment of renewable energy to transition the world off fossil fuels and generate millions of good quality, union jobs. The DPA – which you have already used to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and respond to wildfires – provides you with the historic opportunity to produce alternatives to fossil fuels, fight the climate emergency, combat Putin’s stranglehold on the world’s energy economy, and support the transition to a renewable and just economy. While we call for the use of the DPA, we implore that you use this mechanism for peaceful means, not increased militarization of the conflict.
We urge you to invoke your DPA powers2 to:
Rapidly scale up production, manufacturing, and deployment of renewable energy technologies, heat pumps, storage, and weatherization technologies here and abroad. These green technologies can be exported to Ukraine, the rest of Europe, and the Global South to help wean them off of their dependence on Russian fossil fuels. And they should be simultaneously deployed across the United States to jumpstart the renewable energy revolution and prioritize construction in climate-vulnerable communities. With one fell swoop, you would reduce energy costs and move the world away from fossil fuel markets that are all too easily manipulated by bad actors.
Create millions of long-term, high-paying domestic jobs and position the U.S. to be a global leader in showcasing the economic benefits of the just and renewable energy transition. Investments by the Federal government can create high-quality, family-supporting jobs; and build worker power by including high-road labor standards.
Accelerate the transition to zero-emission public transportation, alternatives to car based transportation and related infrastructure domestically, and deploy it nationwide, prioritizing communities who are most vulnerable to the climate emergency. These steps will reduce the burden of higher gas prices at the pump for U.S. residents.
Critically, all of the above must center and prioritize low-wealth communities and communities of color that have disproportionately suffered the negative externalities associated with our fossil fuel economy.
A renewable energy future is a peaceful and ultimately more prosperous one. Using the DPA and your other executive powers in this manner won’t just help Ukraine, the rest of Europe, and the U.S. in the short term. It will preempt future crises sparked by oligarchs, strongmen, and the climate emergency, and position the U.S. to be a global leader in the just and renewable energy transition that will leave no worker behind.
Center for Biological Diversity
Climate + Community Project
Indigenous Environmental Network
Oil Change International
Women’s Earth & Climate Action Network (WECAN)
350 Lake Norman
350 Montgomery County
350 New Hampshire Action
350 Ventura County Climate Hub
Accelerate Neighborhood Climate Action
Alaska Community Action on Toxics
American Friends Service Committee
Animals Are Sentient Beings Inc
Atmos Financial PBC
Aytzim: Ecological Judaism
Bronx Climate Justice North
Brooklyn Story Lab
Businesses for a Livable Climate
Call to Action Colorado
CAN South Asia
Capitol Heights Presbyterian
Cedar Lane Environmental Justice Ministry
Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights
Center for International Environmental Law
Center for the Blue Economy
Citizens for a Healthy Community
Clean Energy Action
Climate Action for Lifelong Learners
Climate Action Rhode Island – 350
Climate Hawks Vote
Climate Psychiatry Alliance
Climate Strike Davis
CO Businesses for a Livable Climate
CO Dem. Party – Energy & Environment Inititiatve
Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life
Colorado Businesses for a Livable Climate
Colorado Democratic Party – Energy and Environmental Initiative
Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism
Community for Sustainable Energy
Conejo Climate Coalition
Connecticut Citizen Action Group (CCAG)
Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action
Del-Md Synod ELCA Creation Care Ministry Team
Earth Action, Inc.
Earth Day Initiative
Earth Guardians Bay Area Crew
Eco Action Families
Education, Economics, Education, Climate and Health Organization (EEECHO)
Elders Climate Action
Elected Officials to Protect America
Empower our Future
Empower our Future -Colorado
Environment & Enterprise Strategies
Environmental Investigation Agency
Environmental Justice Ministry Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church