We're Building Back Fossil Free
January 26th started with a bang when President Biden announced he would scrap the much-maligned Keystone XL pipeline. This wonderful news inspired many activists to push the Biden team to work even harder for climate justice.
Maybe it was a coincidence that the 26th was the day the #BuildBackFossilFree campaign – the culmination of hundreds of environmental non-profits putting their brightest brains together – held its first big digital rally to show where progress is most needed. Frontline Indigenous activists from across the country shared their personal struggles to fight destructive pipelines placed on their native lands (watch the video here).
After hearing harrowing stories and inspiring calls to action, participants rallied together to call in and tweet to Biden and National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy about the need to continue the momentum after the Keystone ban. The rush of support for a fossil free future that followed immediately overwhelmed the White House phone lines. With spirits re-energized, BBFF organizers noted rumors swirling that Biden would be making some other big climate announcements the next day.
And that he did.
On Jan. 27th, Biden signed a slew of executive orders to fight climate change in the U.S. and abroad. The most consequential, immediate action was his order to pause all new oil and gas leases on federal lands, which will give the Secretary of the Interior time to review and reassess agreements left by the previous administration.
Broader goals set for the nation by Biden’s “Climate Day” executive orders included doubling offshore wind production by 2030, having a carbon pollution-free electricity sector no later than 2035, and achieving a net-zero economy by 2050. If you haven't yet, be sure to watch the full announcement here or read the executive order here.
These announcements seem like a magic carpet ride away from the world we've been living in the past few years. That said, these developments left many oil and gas projects undisturbed, and a divided Senate will make even modest progress on many of these objectives difficult to implement.
The good news is that #BuildBackFossilFree is working to address the urgent matters that these executive orders ignore.
If you'd like to help, start by signing #BuildBackFossilFree's petition so you can stay up to date with their work. Then, join the week of action starting February 8th to put pressure on the new administration to go even further than those executive orders.
Greenpeace has also begun supporting a 350 campaign to stop one of the most harmful projects, the Line 3 pipeline, by releasing a stirring new poster of Biden from the one and only Shepard Fairey. You can sign that petition here.
Stay tuned as we identify more ways to stay involved,
Carl van Reis, 350 Silicon Valley volunteer