We need clean air, water and land to survive. But Congress has allowed the corporate interests of a relatively few companies to jeopardize these necessities. A mere 100 corporations are responsible for the extraction, marketing and burning of 71 percent of the fossil fuels destroying our planet. This is causing temperatures to soar, year after year, and creating increasingly serious and far more frequent natural disasters, such the 2017 hurricanes which devastated Puerto Rico and other islands, and parts of Florida and Texas. Sea levels are also on the rise. In fact, scientists predict that by the end of this century—if not before—many of our beaches and oceanside communities will be submerged by the sea.
The future of our planet is at stake.
Natural disasters create major economic crises. Yet corporations and CEOs continue to rape our resources without restraint. They care little about our future—or that of our children and grandchildren.
It’s time for real leadership on climate change.
We can support clean, renewable energy that protects the health of our families and creates new jobs, while holding corporations accountable for the pollution they dump into the air. We can harness renewable energy sources to fuel a lower-carbon economy for everyone—including minority and low-income communities—and ensure the transition of fossil-fuel workers to good new jobs.
To do so, we must transition to a low-carbon economy. This will create millions of new jobs and sustainable economic growth, and also improve our public health. Merely phasing out coal plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania will save an estimated 4,400 lives and $38 billion annually. We can accelerate this transition by keeping fossil fuels in the ground, so the demand for renewable energy sources soars, and reduce energy consumption by raising efficiency, so that emissions and consumer costs decrease.
How do we do it?
First, we must end the extraction of fossil fuels.
- The Keeping It in the Ground Act of 2015 proposes to keep more than 90 percent of potential carbon emission underground, beneath federal lands and waters. It would also protect those public lands and parks from additional oil and gas exploration and extraction.
- The Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act (S. 2204) would eliminate $2.4 billion in annual tax breaks for the five biggest fossil fuel companies.
- The End Polluter Welfare Act (S. 1041) would eliminate $11.4 billion in annual tax breaks.
- We must also restrict pipeline development, ban fracking, ban offshore drilling and reassess the fossil fuel infrastructure based on climate dangers.
Second, we must stop greenhouse gas pollution and invest in the transition to a clean economy.
- The 100 By 50 Act (S. 987) creates a federal mandate for 100 percent renewable energy and clean transportation by 2050, including a natural zero emissions vehicle standard.
- The Clean Power Plan must be restored and strengthened, so that a fully funded EPA can regulate greenhouse gas emissions and help the states create similar plans—especially those who are most impacted by climate pollution.
- Taxing carbon and methane pollution by at least $35 per ton of carbon, plus annual increases, will provide income for investments in clean energy, clean transportation and energy efficiency.
- Promoting community-owned energy in low-income communities will help close the racial wealth gap.
Third, we must rebuild and recover responsibly from natural disasters.
- Increase funding for disaster preparedness, disaster recovery and post-disaster redevelopment.
- Prioritize communities most impacted by climate events.
- Invest in climate risk screening for new development, urban forestry and other climate adaptation projects.