We are now in a hugely consequential season when it comes to ending the dominance of the polluting fossil fuel industry and shifting urgently to clean and renewable energy sources like wind and solar. And by this season, I mean this autumn, the months of September, October and November.
What ends up happening with the US Congress as far as the climate and other provisions in the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill is huge. Strong legislative action must be taken now!
What happens in November at the 26th annual United Nations Climate Conference is also huge. We don’t have another year to waste with lip service and minimal action—minimal when compared to what the world is already experiencing as far as extreme weather events—from the world’s most powerful governments. The US absolutely needs to be exemplary when it comes to climate action ambition and concrete steps.
What could send a strong and clear signal to the world that the US is serious about this emergency? One would be for President Biden to actually sign an executive order declaring a climate emergency. And using that declaration as the basis, he should then announce that this year, following the call for such action by the International Energy Agency, he is instructing his agencies to stop approving any new fossil fuel infrastructure.
No new oil and gas pipelines. No new gas compressor stations to push gas through the pipelines. No new Liquified Natural Gas export terminals. No new gas or oil storage terminals. No more saying one thing and then letting just the opposite happen.
Are these realistic demands? From the standpoint of the climate emergency, absolutely. From the standpoint of the IEA (!), already done. From the standpoint of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, whose August report declared a “code red for humanity,” yes.
They are realistic if there’s enough political pressure from below right now.
That is why thousands of people are planning to descend on Washington, DC three weeks from now to take part in organized, nonviolent direct action at the White House the 11th-14th and Congress on the 15th. In the words of a letter to Biden from frontline activists around the country, “President Biden, in light of the upcoming COP26 United Nations climate summit, you cannot claim to be a climate leader when you are supporting fossil fuels. Stand with frontline communities, stand with future generations, stop approving fossil fuel projects, declare a climate emergency now.”
Their statement concludes with these wise words:
“If you have ever marched, rallied, called your representatives, lobbied, signed petitions to urge governmental leaders to act—we call on you to take the next step. Nonviolent civil disobedience is a time-tested tactic for change. Every movement for change, from suffragists to the Civil Rights movement, has proven that the defining moments are those where people are willing to risk arrest.
“If we all come together, put our bodies on the line in the name of climate justice, we may be able to change the course of history. Please consider joining us on October 11-15 for one day, for the entire week, or for whatever time you can offer.
“In solidarity for the protection of Mother Earth and the next seven generations of life.”
https://peoplevsfossilfuels.org – that’s where you can find out more, find answers to your questions, and sign up.
It’s time, right now, for us to rise to the call of history.
Ted Glick is a volunteer organizer with Beyond Extreme Energy and president of 350NJ-Rockland. Past writings and other information, including about Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution, two books published by him in 2020 and 2021, can be found at https://tedglick.com. He can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick.