Oil industry researchers have known since the 1968 that increasing carbon in the atmosphere could impact the Earth’s climate. ExxonMobil and oil-industry groups together spend $115 million in 2015 on advocacy designed to “obstruct” climate change policy, and the oil and gas industry contributed over $47 million to campaigns either directly or increasingly through SuperPACS in 2015-2016 election cycle.
Elected officials should reject contributions from the fossil fuel industry. The fossil fuel industry is an immoral and corrupting influence in our democracy and is preventing science-based action on climate.
In 2009, the G20 group of nations, which includes the United States, pledged to phase out “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” to curb greenhouse gas emissions and tackle anthropogenic climate change. Not only is the U.S. government still providing over $20 billion per year to oil, gas, and coal producers, the amount has increased by 35% since 2009. Governments are subsidizing uneconomic, high-carbon assets that cannot be exploited without driving the planet far beyond the internationally agreed target of limiting global temperature increases to less than 2°C, with an aspirational goal of 1.5°C.
Globally, we must keep 33% of oil reserves, 50% of gas reserves, and over 80% of current coal reserves in the ground by 2050 for the world to have a 50% chance of achieving the Paris commitment to cap planetary warming at 2°C. They have also said that further drilling in the Arctic and fracking will push the planet beyond 2°C, and should be halted immediately.
We need public and private sector solutions to create a just and democratic new energy system that will limit global warming to 1.5°C.
Over 500 institutions and 50,000 individuals have committed to divest $3.4 trillion in assets from fossil fuels and invest in climate solutions, but we need public investment and energy policies that will accelerate the clean energy revolution, create jobs, and ensure fossil fuel industry workers are not left behind.
Governments from local to federal levels should invest in building the infrastructure needed to support local, democratic energy systems, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and ensure that the energy transition and resulting economic system are fair and just.
If we’re going to stop climate change, we need a major shift in our source of power—away from the dirty fossil fuel of the past and toward a just transition toward a clean energy economy. To shift this power, we need people to wield their power over decision makers. Since young people and Millennials stand to bear the brunt of the effects of climate change, it is up to us to secure a safe, livable planet for ourselves. Power Shift empowers young people with the knowledge and skills to plan and execute campaigns that create real change in their communities and on their campuses. Join us at Powershift 2016.
World governments have agreed to global action — but without a clear commitment on how and when they will transition off of fossil fuels. The way to make that transition a reality is by organizing to keep coal, oil and gas in the ground and accelerate the just transition to 100% renewable energy. See actions from around the world!
On April 26, 2016, we held the Divest for Democracy, Invest for a Just Transition Twitter Town Hall, a one-hour panel discussion that connects how the fossil fuel industry uses campaign contributions and lobbying from to secure government subsidies and continued extraction on public lands, and how we are mobilizing against the industry. Read the conversation archive!