“Climate change is threatening hundreds of millions of lives and livelihoods across every continent and it is putting thousands of species at risk. The burning of fossil fuels — coal, oil and gas — is by far the major contributor to climate change,” they said.
“We write today, on the eve of Earth Day 2021 and the Leaders’ Climate Summit, hosted by President Biden, to urge you to act now to avoid a climate catastrophe by stopping the expansion of oil, gas and coal,” they added.
Hailing President Biden and the US government’s acknowledgement in the Executive Order that “Together, we must listen to science and meet the moment”, they said in the statement, “Indeed, meeting the moment requires responses to the climate crisis that will define legacies. Qualifications for being on the right side of history are clear.
“For far too long, governments have lagged, shockingly, behind what science demands and what a growing and powerful people-powered movement knows: urgent action is needed to end the expansions of fossil fuel production; phase out current production; and invest in renewable energy.
“The burning of fossil fuels is responsible for almost 80 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions since the industrial revolution. In addition to being the leading source of emissions, there are local pollution, environmental and health costs associated with extracting, refining, transporting and burning fossil fuels.
“These costs are often paid by the indigenous people and marginalised communities. Egregious industry practices have led to human rights violations and a fossil fuel system that has left billions of people across the globe without sufficient energy to lead lives of dignity.”
The statement further added: “For both the people and the planet, continued support must be given to tackling climate change through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Paris Agreement. Failure to meet the Paris Agreement’s temperature limit of 1.5-degree Celsius risks pushing the world towards catastrophic global warming.
“Yet, the Paris Agreement has no mention of oil, gas or coal. Meanwhile, the fossil fuel industry continues to plan new projects. Banks continue to fund new projects. The solution is clear: fossil fuels must be kept in the ground.”