Energy & Environment

Environmental groups press Biden to take executive action to curb fossil fuel emissions

Top environmental groups launched a new campaign Thursday to pressure President-elect Joe Biden to take executive action to try to curb fossil fuel emissions.

The progressive organizations launched the Build Back Fossil Free campaign, a reference to Biden’s “Build Back Better” motto, outlining 25 executive actions they say the president-elect “must take” to tackle fossil fuels. The campaign is backed by environmental heavyweights such as Greenpeace, the Sunrise Movement and 350. 

The three-pronged campaign centers around efforts to: “Protect and invest in the Black, Indigenous, Brown, and working-class communities” that have been hit particularly hard by climate change; “End the era of fossil fuel production” and move away from fossil fuel projects; and “Launch a national climate mobilization” to help create “jobs, justice, and opportunity for all.” 

“False promises and fossil fuel favors will only deepen the interlocking crises our country faces,” said Greenpeace USA Climate Campaigner Charlie Jiang. “Joe Biden has promised to be a president for all people — that must include the Black, Indigenous, brown, and working-class communities on the frontlines of fossil-fueled destruction and climate disasters. We have a once-in-a-generation chance to hold racist, polluting corporations accountable and transition to an energy system that puts people’s health and well-being first.”

Among the executive actions the groups are calling on Biden to take are implementing a “federal No Hotspots Policy to prevent disproportionate exposure” to pollution by communities of color, forming a system to “identify communities facing the heaviest pollution burdens,” and halting “new fossil fuel infrastructure, operations, and transport in and around environmental justice communities.” 

The groups call for Biden to declare a national emergency on climate change and transform all of the government’s operations to “100% clean energy” by the end of his first term in 2025.

The campaign is just the latest by environmental groups to try to press Biden to take an aggressive stance on climate change, one of the issues driving the divide between centrists and progressives within the Democratic Party.

Biden has already said he would take the issue seriously, introducing a plan during his campaign to get to net zero emissions by 2050. However, his plan rankled progressives, who said the world needs the U.S. to be at net zero emissions by 2030 and unsuccessfully lobbied him to come out against fracking. 

The Biden transition did not immediately provide a statement responding to the campaign when reached by The Hill.

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File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

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In this photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev telegram channel, a rescuer gestures as he helps people during an evacuation after storm and flooding in Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. A storm in the Black Sea took down power grids and left almost half a million people without power after it flooded roads, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said. (Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev's telegram channel via AP)
In this photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev telegram channel, a rescuer gestures as he helps people during an evacuation after storm and flooding in Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. A storm in the Black Sea took down power grids and left almost half a million people without power after it flooded roads, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said. (Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev's telegram channel via AP)

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