COP26 Achieves Little; Biden Must Be the Focus for Real Fossil Fuel Action
By Alan Minsky, Executive Director – Progressive Democrats of America
As world leaders wrap up the COP 26 conference in Glasgow, climate activists are expressing frustration with the unwillingness to directly confront the fossil fuel industry, and are strengthening their calls on the Biden administration to take necessary executive action to address the escalating global crisis.
With Biden’s climate priorities being substantially watered down during Congressional negotiations, activists are pushing the White House to use its robust executive authority to make real progress.
So far, the White House has made a series of moves to appease the fossil fuel industry, from continuing to approve new drilling and fracking permits to the failure to intervene to stop the dirty Line 3 and Dakota Access pipelines. The White House has also embraced industry scams such as carbon capture and ‘blue’ hydrogen, which will only prolong our dependence on fossil fuels.
And the administration’s remaining legislative agenda on climate — the Build Back Better Act — would include subsidies to the coal industry, in the form of lucrative tax breaks for carbon capture schemes that are essentially non-existent.
(For more background, see Food & Water Watch’s Biden Climate Watch feature).
“Everyone can see that the climate provisions of the Build Back Batter Act have been substantially weakened — and there are still doubts about its final passage,” said Mitch Jones, Policy Director at Food & Water Watch. But the fate of climate action does not rest on a handful of recalcitrant Senators or world leaders. There is plenty that President Biden can and must be doing to promote a safe and livable future. Biden must use his executive authority to stop the expansion of fossil fuels, reject industry-friendly scams, and put the full force of his administration behind a transition off fossil fuels.”
“Another global climate conference comes and goes. Scientists and frontline communities set the table with real, hard information about our catastrophic reality. What follows then are bromides, photo ops, and inadequate incremental mostly non-binding agreements. The meeting adjourns; and we remain stranded inside the logic of a classic palindrome: In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni – Round and round we go in the night and are consumed by fire,” said Alan Minsky, Executive Director, Progressive Democrats of America.
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Policy and Organizing Experts
Mitch Jones is Policy Director at Food & Water Watch. Mitch leads the organization’s national legislative and executive strategies including legislative efforts to stop fossil fuel subsidies and ban fracking.
Alan Minsky is Executive Director at Progressive Democrats of America. PDA has partnered for years with Food & Water Watch and is focused on pushing Congress and President Biden to address the climate crisis by taking on the fossil fuel industry. Alan advocates for the Democratic Party severing all ties to the fossil fuel industry.
Sandra Steingraber and Peter Kalmus initiated with Food & Water Watch and Center for Biological Diversity a letter from over 330 scientists to President Biden calling on him to follow the science, stop fossil fuel projects and declare a climate emergency.
Sandra Steingraber is a biologist and Senior Scientist at Science & Environment Health Network. She is co-founder of Concerned Health Professionals of New York and was a key leader in the fight to ban fracking in New York.
Peter Kalmus is a climate scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and associate project scientist at UCLA’s Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science & Engineering. He speaks on his own behalf.