Tell President Obama:
Fossil fuel production on public lands is incompatible with stopping runaway climate change. I urge you to issue an executive order that instructs federal agencies to stop granting new and expanded leases to extract coal, oil and gas from public lands and coastal waters.
President Obama wants to be remembered by history as a leader on climate, and in recent months he's taken big steps toward advancing a vision for climate action. But there's a gaping hole in President Obama's climate policy: while the president has pushed for international agreements to limit carbon pollution, he's also been a de facto "driller-in-chief" and presided over a massive drilling boom on our public lands.
Approximately 25 percent of U.S. fossil fuel production occurs on federally-managed public lands and waters — places that belong to all of us, and that are under the direct control of the president. The Obama Administration is responsible for leasing public fossil fuels located on more than 2.6 billion acres of federal lands and waters. That’s a vast expanse, roughly equivalent to the land area of the entire United States. And it’s something we hold in common, and shouldn’t be just given away. But as things stand, from the Gulf Coast to Alaska, our public lands and coastal waters are being systematically exploited by big corporations extracting fossil fuels for private profit, at enormous cost to local communities and to our climate.
This status quo is killing the climate. Emissions from federally managed lands and waters are responsible for approximately 24 percent of U.S. energy-related greenhouse gas emissions annually — principally from coal, oil and gas.
It’s also a huge opportunity. To avoid catastrophic climate change, scientists say we must keep between 67% and 80% of the world’s remaining fossil fuels in the ground.
As the leader of the world’s biggest carbon polluter, and richest country, President Obama should issue an executive order instructing federal agencies to stop granting new and expanded leases to extract fossil fuels from public lands.