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Greenpeace USA and Frontline Groups Response to President Biden's Announcement on Extreme Heat

Oct 06, 2023

by Tyler Kruse

July 27, 2023

Addressing the symptoms while continuing to exacerbate one of the leading causes by approving oil and gas expansion is like bailing water with one hand while drilling more holes with the other.

© Tim Aubry / Greenpeace

WASHINGTON DC (July 27, 2023)–Blisteringly hot temperatures have been reported across the country. Phoenix has experienced over 25 consecutive days of 110 degree weather and cities in Colorado, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming have all broken heat records in July. Internationally Rome, Italy, France, and China, have been hammered by extreme heat. There is truly nowhere to hide from the climate crisis.

Today, President Biden addressed the nation about the extreme heat ravaging communities throughout the United States and the world. On the same day, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is likely to approve a certificate that would permit Port Arthur LNG’s Expansion Project, allowing the terminal to export up to the equivalent of 698 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year – for nearly 30 years. Findings show this project would “increase the atmospheric concentration of GHGs and would contribute to climate change.”

President Biden has an obligation to protect our communities. The extreme heat is a public health crisis that requires us to care for our most vulnerable populations with immediate solutions such as cooling centers. We also know that the situation we’re in is a political crisis. We know why we’re experiencing this extreme weather. The leading cause of the climate crisis is the burning of oil and gas. Until President Biden takes swift, decisive action to end the era of fossil fuels and transition to a just, renewable, and clean future, these half-measures to address a burning planet will be futile. That’s why communities are organizing a mass March to End Fossil Fuels this September in New York on the eve of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ “climate ambition summit” – which sets action to end fossil fuels as criteria for climate leadership.

Climate change is happening right now. We need to stop talking about it like it’s a future problem. Community leaders from across the country have weighed in on the extreme heat:

John Beard, CEO of Port Arthur Community Action Network, said: “Extreme weather ain’t no joke in Texas. Five major hurricanes in 17 years. Winter Storm Uri plunged Texas into a deep freeze, killing 250 people. And now, a HEATWAVE, costing lives and health due to our over-reliance, overuse of fossil fuels, heating up the entire nation to record temperatures!

“How many lives, homes, cities and towns must be “sacrificed” before Biden takes action? He must declare a climate emergency NOW! Stop approving and subsidizing projects which will increase climate changing carbon in our atmosphere that’s fueling this extreme weather. What’s the hold-up, Joe? What’s it gonna take to get you to ACT, before it’s too late?”

Roishetta Ozane, founder of the Vessel Project of Louisiana: “The scorching heat along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana is not just a climate phenomenon; it’s becoming a merciless force that is silently assaulting our children’s well-being. As the mercury rises relentlessly, our young ones bear the brunt of this unrelenting heat, their innocence melting away like fragile wax under the unforgiving sun. President Biden, it is imperative for you to recognize the climate emergency we face, for our children’s futures depend on your bold actions to address this pressing crisis. As a mom of 6, it hurts me deeply to tell my children it’s too hot to play outside. This is not the heat I experienced as a kid. Enough is enough.”

Elida Castillo, Program Director for Chispa Texas: “President Biden must stop listening to his advisers who have an interest in the fossil fuel industry and listen to the people who are being impacted by the climate crisis. We have nothing to gain from more investment in fossil fuels and the false solutions they’re selling, but everything to lose. People are dying and suffering unnecessarily because it has become too expensive to pay their energy bills and basic necessities.

The Biden Administration stepped up and took immediate action during the COVID crisis, and we urge the president to do the same for the climate. We need climate justice now!”

Dr. Crystal Cavalier, co-founder, 7 Directions of Service: “From our Indigenous grandmothers and grandfathers, we were warned years ago of global warming. The Earth is only gearing up to get warmer and hotter. We are now experiencing extremely hot weather, our bodies are not adapted to rising temperatures this quickly. Our president and his team are sacrificing communities on the daily due to their failure to lead the US off of fossil fuels.”

Crystal Mello, community organizer for the Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights Coalition on the frontline of the Mountain Valley Pipeline fight: “This deadly heat crisis is fueled by President Biden’s climate hypocrisy. Biden and Congressional leaders are trying to force forward construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline – a fracked gas pipeline that would sacrifice Appalachian communities, vulnerable ecosystems and our collective climate survival. We need Biden to stop the pipeline, quit all federal support for new fossil fuel projects, and take real action to address the climate emergency.”

Juan Mancias, Chairman, Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas: “The extreme heat is unbearable and directly impacts our native lifeways. It fuels wildfires because of the drying prairies, prevents native wildlife from effectively functioning, erodes our sacred painting sites, and adds to ongoing genocide of all tribal life. President Biden and all decision-makers need to be accountable to us, not the dirty and destructive fossil fuel industry.”

James Hiatt, Director of For a Better Bayou: “The unprecedented record-breaking heat and intensifying climate change that we are witnessing necessitate a complete and urgent shift away from our collective dependence on fossil fuels. The time for half measures or false solutions is long gone; we must commit to radical changes in our energy systems. Continued reliance on fossil fuels perpetuates the very crisis we are trying to mitigate, exacerbating extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and endangering countless species. Embracing renewable energy sources and adopting sustainable practices is not merely an option but a moral imperative to ensure a livable planet for future generations. The costs of inaction far outweigh any hesitations. Now is the moment to prioritize the health of our planet over short-term gains and make resolute strides towards a sustainable, cleaner, and more resilient future.”

Sharon Lavigne, founder, RISE St. James: “Extreme heat and deadly fossil fuel pollution are a package deal on the frontlines of so-called Cancer Alley — we call it Death Alley here in St. James, Louisiana. President Biden needs to quit approving dirty and dangerous petrochemical infrastructure in the Gulf and across the country and declare a climate emergency.”

RL Miller, founder of Climate Hawks Vote, said: “Have you lived through extreme heat? I have. At 120 degrees the air scorches your lungs as you breathe. It hurts to be outside for just a few minutes. This summer people are dying in extreme heat. And it’s going to be the coolest summer of the rest of our lives. We must move faster, farther, in combating the climate crisis.”

Maury Johnson, WV Co-Chair of the POWHR Coalition and Communtiy Organizer for Preserve Monroe said: “President Biden’s words about the extreme heat and changing climate ring hollow because he continues to approve projects like Willow and MVP. His Administration has turned their backs on the sacrificed people of Appalachia, the Gulf South, and others across the nation, where not only is the Administration pushing the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure, but even defending those projects before the courts. I just left the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals where the Administration defended the “Dirty Deal” provision of the recently passed Fiscal Responsibility Act that would unconstitutionally remove the people’s right to challenge illegal permits. Therefore I must call BS on Mr. Biden’s fake rhetoric around his concern about the Climate Crisis. He must immediately cancel the MVP in Appalachia, the Willow Project and new LNG in Alaska, the expansion of LNG terminals in the Gulf South, and stop expanding and defending new fossil fuel projects across the country.”

Alessandra de la Torre, Advocacy and Programs Director of Rogue Climate: “In Southern Oregon, our summers are increasingly filled with extreme heat, smoke, drought, and wildfires. Yet fossil fuel companies continue to threaten our communities by trying to rapidly push through projects like TC Energy’s GTN XPress proposal to significantly increase the amount of methane gas through an aging pipeline.

President Biden, it’s time for immediate climate action. It’s critical that you shut down new fossil fuel projects that put our communities in extreme danger of pipeline explosions, air pollution, and climate impacts. Time and time again, communities across the country fight for climate action—it’s your responsibility to follow their lead, and act now.”

Kavya Kondragunta, Action for the Climate Emergency Prosper, TX Action Team Lead, said: “Experiencing the suffocating heat in Texas comes as no surprise due to the lack of adequate action on the climate emergency. The heatwaves are indicators that we’re approaching irreversible damage and President Biden must take notice. I’m frustrated that despite people’s lives being put at constant risk, action is not being taken. President Biden must take immediate and robust action to make the U.S. a leader in addressing the climate emergency. The world is at stake.”

Allie Rosenbluth, Oil Change International US Program Manager, said: “The extreme heat affecting millions of Americans serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent need to end fossil fuels. The administration’s efforts, such as opening cooling centers, strengthening the power grid, and incentivizing renewable energy through legislation like the Inflation Reduction Act, will have to be replicated and expanded every year if we don’t also tackle the root causes of climate change. In the face of sweltering heat waves and tragic loss of lives, President Biden must address the drivers of the climate crisis once and for all by taking action to end the era of fossil fuels.”

John Noël, Senior Climate Campaigner at Greenpeace USA, said: “The fossil fuel industry has released a blanket of pollution that traps heat in our atmosphere contributing to the chaotic impacts we are collectively experiencing in real time. It is no longer a question of if we are living in a climate emergency, but a question of how bad our leaders like President Biden will let it get. Addressing the symptoms while continuing to exacerbate one of the leading causes by approving oil and gas expansion is like bailing water with one hand while drilling more holes with the other. How many more people must suffer before President Biden realizes the only solution is to stop approving new oil and gas infrastructure. The Department of Justice should heed the call from members of Congress to investigate Big Oil for decades of climate deception.”


Photos:People vs Fossil Fuels organized a group to send a banner message to President Biden this morning:

Extreme heat in California:

By Tyler Kruse

Tyler Kruse is a senior communications specialist with Greenpeace USA covering climate and energy.

Thousands of Californians. Seven cities. One message. Stop permits and end drilling!

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