Climate justice campaigners plan to descend on Washington, DC in October to protest outside the White House for a straight week, calling on President Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency and end all new fossil fuel projects.
The Build Back Fossil Free coalition announced the People Vs. Fossil Fuels: Biden Test Demonstrations campaign, which runs October 11-15, in a statement Thursday. The week of action will come just ahead of COP 26, a United Nations climate summit set to kick off in Scotland at the end of next month.
The coalition’s main message is: “President Biden, you cannot claim to be a climate leader while you still support fossil fuels. Support frontline communities, support future generations, stop approving projects of fossil fuels, declare a climate emergency now. “
“As fires burn, oceans rise and cities flood, we rally in Washington, DC to demand that President Biden act now for climate justice,” said Joye Braun, an organizer. frontline community with the Indigenous Environmental Network.
The activists plan to meet in McPherson Square at 8:00 a.m. ET each day, focusing on different themes throughout the week:
- Monday October 11: Indigenous Peoples Day
- Tuesday October 12: Fossil fuels, the engine of the climate crisis
- Wednesday October 13: Climate chaos is happening now
- Thursday October 14: We need real solutions, not false promises
- Friday October 15: We did not vote for fossil fuels (action led by young people)
âThe fossil fuel industry has devastated our homelands and it is time we took this fight to the gates of Biden,â Braun said. âDespite President Biden’s climate rhetoric, his administration has failed to halt major projects like the Line 3 oil sands pipeline, defended Arctic oil drilling, promoted fossil fuel exports, and cleared the pipeline. drilling, mining and hydraulic fracturing to continue on native and public lands. “
âWe have come forward to vote,â added the organizer, referring to last year’s presidential election, âand we will continue to run to make him uncomfortable in his inaction until that the necessary drastic measures be taken to mitigate climate change and protect Mother Earth “.
Sharon Lavigne, executive director of RISE St. James, one of the groups battling a Formosa Plastics complex project in an area of ââLouisiana called “Cancer Alley,” said, “I can’t wait to go to DC for speak to President Biden to ask him to refuse all fossil fuel projects. “
“If Formosa Plastics is built, it would be a death sentence for the people here,” warned Lavigne, who earlier this year received the Goldman Environmental Prize. “We want to live and we want to breathe clean air.”
“We can no longer negotiate. It is a matter of life and death.”
âJohn Paul Mejia, Sunrise Movement
Siqniq Maupin, director of Sovereign Inupiat for a Living Arctic, which fights against oil drilling in Alaska, said that “we will make it clear that we are here to protect our lands and our waters.”
John Beard, director of the Port Arthur Community Action Network, which deals with fossil fuel refineries and export facilities on the Gulf Coast of Mexico, said those meeting in Washington will encourage the president to “initiate a just transition to a clean and green renewable energy economy. “
The coalition’s announcement comes a day after Canada’s fossil fuel company Enbridge revealed that its new Line 3, a larger replacement of an aging pipeline, is “largely completed and ready to be fully operational” this past. week, despite continued indigenous opposition.
Since taking office in January, Biden has resisted calls from Native Americans and climate leaders to use his power to shut down Line 3. The president has also made various promises to reduce pollution caused by heating the planet, to from a sweeping plan to halve all U.S. emissions by 2030, to a methane-focused engagement with European leaders unveiled earlier this month.
The coalition’s plans also come as two pieces of legislation intended to deliver on many of Biden’s climate commitments – a limited bipartisan infrastructure bill and a larger Build Back Better set – face an uncertain future due to obstruction of right-wing Democrats.
“President Biden took office promising bold action to transform our economy with renewable energy and good jobs, but he passed the buck on a dysfunctional Congress,” said Jean Su of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Biden has immense executive powers to hasten the end of the fossil fuel age and spark a just and renewable revolution in renewable energy.”
Su, director of the centre’s energy justice program, warned that “without executive action on fossil fuels, the president has no way of protecting us from the climate emergency. We call on Biden to reclaim his power to from coal and gas “. state senators and show us he can be our climate president. “
Although Biden, as he roamed through the damage of a deadly storm this month, called the climate emergency a “code red” situation, experts and activists accused him of failing to match this rhetoric with the necessary actions.
As John Paul Mejia of the youth-led Sunrise movement said on Thursday, âWe are so happy to join together in coming down to DC and making our voices heard because we can no longer negotiate. Its a question of life or death.