To stop catastrophic global warming and save our planet, we need to keep 80 percent of proven fossil fuels in the ground. President Obama's legacy as a climate leader hinges on whether he follows through and cancels all drilling, mining and fracking on our public lands and waters in the 321 days he has left before leaving office.
Take a moment to consider this: we're winning the fight against fossil fuels. Not only are global prices for oil, fracked gas and coal so low that companies are going out of business,1 our elected leaders are also taking action. Forget the deniers and defeatists in Congress (well, don't forget, just ignore them for the moment). -- In the last nine months alone, President Obama has rejected the Keystone pipeline, canceled Arctic drilling, and paused all new coal mining leases on public lands.2
That's an amazing start. But scientists tell us it's just the down-payment on the climate legacy Obama needs to leave. To avoid the worst impacts of global warming and save the planet, scientists tell use we must keep 80 percent (or more) of the fossil fuels we know about in the ground.3 President Obama can do a lot of that by banning extreme energy extraction on public lands and waters, but he's running out of time.
Barack Obama has just 321 days left in office. That's why we're teaming up with a huge coalition of allies to urge the President to secure his climate legacy by keeping fossil fuels safely in the ground. If we can gather 100,000 signatures before the end of the month, President Obama will be forced to respond with his plan to use his remaining time in office to keep fossil fuels in the ground.
President Obama has shown again and again that when we join together and demand environmental action - when the whole world is watching - he can rise to the occasion and do what’s right. Sign here to join us in making one more bold demand: for the President to halt all drilling, mining, and fracking on our public lands and waters before leaving office.
Last November, when Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, he said, “If we’re going to prevent large parts of this earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.”4
A lot of us were surprised, and pleased, to hear the President use the phrase "Keep it In the Ground," which has become a rallying cry of sorts for climate activists and eco-warriors around the world. Two months later, we cheered again when Secretary Sally Jewell, of the Interior Department, announced a moratorium on new coal leases on federal land pending a review the coal program’s climate impacts.
Keystone was the first international oil pipeline vetoed due to climate concerns. The coal leasing pause was the first time climate change was cited as a reason to keep fossil fuels in the ground.
And the whole idea makes a ton of sense. A 2015 report showed that in order to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2°C, which is after all what President Obama and every other world leader just committed to in Paris last December, 80 percent of the planet’s fossil fuel reserves must remain underground.5 All that's missing is a sweeping Executive Order from the President of the United States that connects the dots: If Keystone is too dirty, and coal leases are to dangerous for our climate -- then it's time to halt all extreme energy extraction on public lands and waters and bring our energy policy in line with our climate ambitions.
We’ve connected our website to the White House’s “We the People” platform so that once we hit 100,000 signatures, the President is required to respond. But all 100,000 signatures must be recorded in a single month. So we need you to sign, and share the campaign with your networks online, right away this week. Click here to sign on and be counted.
Thanks for getting down to Keep it In The Ground,
Drew and the climate KING crew at Environmental Action
1 - Katie Valentine, Why 175 Oil And Gas Companies Could Go Bankrupt This Year, Think Progress, February 16, 2016
2 - Coral Davenport, In Climate Move, Obama Halts New Coal Mining Leases on Public Lands, The New York Times, January 14, 2016
3 - Brad Plumer, The world’s climate scientists explain how to avoid drastic global warming. It’s not easy. The Washington Post, September 27, 2013
4 - Drew Hudson, Obama just blocked the Keystone XL oil pipeline, Environmental Action Blog, November 6, 2015
5 - Christophe McGlade & Paul Ekins, The geographical distribution of fossil fuels unused when limiting global warming to 2 °C, Nature, January 8, 2015