Today the Sierra Club launched a new campaign demanding that President Obama make the fight against climate disruption a priority in his second term. The Obama Climate and Clean Energy Legacy Campaign will bring the organization’s 2.1 million members and supporters together to push the Obama administration to tackle the most serious environmental crisis of our age.
“President Obama’s second term will be a pivotal four years in the fight against climate disruption,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “In his victory speech, the President invited a national climate conversation, but we also need swift, decisive action to prevent more erratic weather, superstorms and wildfires.”
“As we make critical decisions about how we power our nation and what kind of place we’ll leave for our children and grandchildren, the Sierra Club will push President Obama to define his legacy with bold climate solutions and clean energy innovation,” said Brune. “Climate disruption is the singular issue of our time for anyone who cares about clean air, clean water and a safe future for our families.”
To demonstrate the urgency of its demands, the Sierra Club launched 100 Days of Action on Climate, a series of local and national actions focused on bringing climate disruption to the forefront of the national conversation and pressing the President to be a leader in the climate fight. During this period—spanning the President’s Inauguration through Earth Day—allies and activists from around the country will host events ranging from inauguration watch parties in New Mexico, to a national climate rally on Presidents Day weekend in DC, to town hall meetings across the nation, highlighting the broad support from Americans for fighting the climate crisis.
The Sierra Club outlined five key actions that the Obama administration must take to curb the country’s carbon emissions and address climate disruption. The actions include:
1. Hold fossil fuel corporations accountable for their pollution
- Adopt and enforce coal pollution protections for carbon, soot, smog, sulfur, water toxics and coal ash, and set water pollution standards that will end mountaintop removal mining.
- Enact standards and close loopholes to protect water, air, and climate from fracking and other forms of oil and gas production.
- Finalize Tier 3 clean fuel standards, finalize emissions standards for refineries, and establish strong mileage standard for medium and heavy-duty vehicles.
2. Reject proposals to import dirty fuels and stop the rush of fossil fuel exports
- Stop Keystone XL and other tar sands infrastructure.
- Halt expansion of fossil fuel exports, including liquefied natural gas export facilities, new coal export terminals, and increased oil exports.
- Increase U.S.-backed international finance of renewable energy and energy efficiency, and phase out fossil fuel lending.
3. Double down on clean energy
- Open innovative financing and investment avenues for energy efficiency and renewable energy.
- Facilitate environmentally responsible leasing and deployment of clean energy generation and technologies on public lands and waters and within federal agencies.
4. Protect communities from future climate disasters and readying a robust and just response
- Release equal and just national climate resilience plans that help create strong and sustainable communities, infrastructure and ecosystems.
- Hold the U.S. Environmental Protection Agecny and Federal Emergency Management Agency accountable for ensuring equal, appropriate and just federal emergency and disaster response, including better equipping state and local officials to develop and support climate resilient communities.
5. Protect America’s lands, air, water and wildlife from fossil fuel development
- Stop the rush to expand oil and gas drilling, coal mining, and dirty fuels development on our public lands and the Outer Continental Shelf, reform the Department of Interior coal leasing program, and protect the Arctic Refuge and national parks from fossil fuel development.
- Ensure that lands and wildlife can adapt to climate disruption by protecting large scale landscapes that connect wildlife habitat, and ensure that every national forest addresses the impacts of climate disruption and protects carbon-storing old growth forests as part of their management plan.
“When our children and grandchildren look back at the climate crisis, what will President Obama’s legacy be?” asked Brune. “The American people recognize the impact of extreme weather on their communities and the ever-greater threat climate disruption poses to their children’s future. President Obama deserves credit for improving vehicle efficiency standards, creating incentives for clean energy, and passing historic clean air protections. We are, as a nation, slowly beginning to succeed against climate disruption, and we must do everything we can to ensure that President Obama and the federal agencies he leads roll up their sleeves and increase the momentum. We cannot afford to lose a minute in this fight. It’s time that we finally establish our American climate legacy.”
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