We have a significant opportunity to make bold gains in efforts to protect our food, water, and climate. Friday’s victory for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, a narrower margin in the Senate, and progressive gains in the House have carved out our chance. We now have a small window of time when our nation can come together and act boldly to take on the fossil fuel industry and avoid the worst of climate chaos.
Even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hurt people and the economy, the even larger specter of runaway climate change hangs over us. In the last year, historic wildfires, floods, and hurricanes have battered the United States causing untold damage and uprooting lives. These are problems that will only worsen if we don’t act now in a way that will actually give us a fighting chance to stop runaway climate chaos.
If We Are Going To Thwart Climate Chaos, It Isn’t Enough To Undo Trump’s Actions
Trump has been relentless in working to dismantle already weak environmental protections, promoting fossil fuels, and denying climate science. In their campaign, Biden and Harris promised to reverse Trump’s actions, end subsidies for fossil fuel companies, stop fracking on federal lands (something Food & Water Action first proposed in 2014 through the Protect Our Public Lands Act), and invest trillions in a renewable energy economy. These are all good things which the new administration must prioritize and immediately implement. But together, they still will not be nearly enough.
We cannot stop climate chaos without taking on the fossil fuel industry and immediately stopping the expansion of fossil fuels. This means banning fracking everywhere and halting the development of new fracking infrastructure like pipelines, power plants, and storage and export facilities. Even if we moved to 100% renewable electricity by 2030, we will still be on the path to runaway climate chaos because 60% of gas is not used for electricity. To address this existential crisis, we need bold action that rapidly expands renewable energy while moving us off of fossil fuels. Most importantly, we need to ban fracking now.
We Must Make Biden Sign A Fracking Ban, No Matter What He Said While Campaigning
This is not what Biden campaigned on. In fact, he made it a point to say he does not support a fracking ban. But Biden through his executive authority can take significant action to stop fracking and halt permits for fracking pipelines and other infrastructure. It’s up to us to compel him to be bolder than his vision and rise to this moment. The pandemic, the shattered economy, and climate chaos mean that people are suffering now. With a strong progressive bloc in the House and having won the presidency, Democrats can use the power of both branches to put extreme pressure on the razor thin Republican majority in the Senate to move bold climate legislation that will employ millions and provide the fair and just transition for workers in the fossil fuel industry.
Even with the presidency and House in Democratic hands, none of this will be easy. The same corporate interests that caused this mess contributed millions of dollars to Democratic candidates and will be opening their coffers to prevent meaningful change. The Republican majority in the Senate will resist change at every turn. We need to empower our allies in Congress to use their power to force consideration of a climate and economic recovery plan that meets the moment, while pressuring Congressional leadership and the new Biden administration to address the realities of the climate crisis.
Our Work Ahead To Curb Climate Chaos Is Strategically Plotted And Crucial
At Food & Water Watch and Action, we will be relentless — in the halls of power, in the courts, and in the streets — in pushing a bold administrative and legislative agenda to combat the climate crisis. Starting right now, we’re fighting for a Green New Deal that bans fracking, bans factory farms and invests in small and mid-sized farmers, and revamps our nation's crumbling water infrastructure.
In the short term, we will:
- Watchdog Trump and his cronies as they leave Washington. Food & Water Action will closely monitor the outgoing Trump administration to prevent further erosion of our already limited environmental protections.
- Focus on basic needs — we will work to make sure that any economic relief or stimulus package put forward in the lame duck session or new Congress includes people’s basic need for clean water. No one’s water or other utilities should be shut off in the middle of a pandemic because someone is unable to pay their bills.
- Hold President-elect Biden accountable. He promised to not include members on his transition team that have “been leaders at fossil fuel...companies.” Food & Water Action will hold Biden to that pledge and pressure the incoming administration to make cabinet appointments that are uncompromised and understand the need to move off fossil fuels. We will "unfrack the cabinet."
- Build a massive grassroots campaign to pass a Green New Deal that bans fracking. We will work with partners at the national, state, and local level and allies in Congress to move bold climate legislation that rises to the moment and invests trillions of dollars in renewable energy while keeping oil and gas in the ground.
Now That Trump’s Almost Out, We Need People Power And Political Courage More Than Ever
We can’t achieve these goals alone. It will take a massive movement based on science and reality. It will take not settling for feeble compromises and it will take not settling for quick “wins” that don’t rise to the challenge we face. In politics, there’s nothing easier or more debilitating than a symbolic victory. But symbolism will have no effect on science and will not lessen the impacts of climate chaos. Nothing short of a halt to fossil fuel expansion and a roll back in production will avert the climate chaos which is already upon us.
But we can and will win — and we’re committed to making it happen. Together, we will fight hard. We will use every procedural tool and tactic available, and we will force congressional leadership and the Biden administration to be bolder than they think they can or should be. We will organize across the country and we will be relentless. This window of time is our best opportunity to protect our climate now and for future generations. We will fight like we live here because our future depends on what we can achieve right now. Will you join us?