We have two priorities with related actions. They Are: First, identify and support major actions to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and demand that our political leaders put in place effective implementation plans for each of these actions as soon as possible. Second, stop adding more fossil fuels to our oversupply of planet destroying emissions.
1) Major Actions to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
- The EPA just announced stringent auto and truck pollution limits. These limits are designed to ensure that 67% of new cars and 25% of new heavy trucks sold in the U.S. by 2032 are electric and 54% to 60% by 2030. It is also a major transition from where we are today with 5.8% electric cars and only 2% of trucks in the U.S. These limits are the federal government’s most aggressive climate regulations to date and could propel the U.S.to the front of the global effort to slash greenhouse gases generated by cars and trucks, a major driver of climate crisis. Nearly every major car company has already invested heavily in electric vehicles, but few have committed to the levels envisioned by the Biden Administration. The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act is a key enabler in bringing this initiative to the marketplace.
- The EPA has also been working for the past two years developing detailed plans to reduce methane emissions. Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas and now represents 29% of greenhouse gas. The U.N. Environment Program notes that over a 20-year period, methane emissions are 80 times more potent in causing warming than carbon dioxide. It also notes that these emissions are worsening, with 2020 recording the largest annual increase since 1983. The methane emissions reduction program is now ready for implementation and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will enable the EPA to implement this important program. The primary focus is on the petroleum and natural gas sectors and implementation will begin in May. The Methane Reduction Plan will reduce 41 million tons of methane emissions from 2023 to 2035, the equivalent of 920 million metric tons of carbon emissions. The EPA has made a projection of 74% conversion to the new emission standards by 2030. In addition, the EPA has committed to explore other areas where methane emissions can be reduced.
- There is also an International component of this initiative that started two years ago when the United States and the European Union jointly launched the Global Methane Pledge at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP 26). The Pledge asked countries to band together and commit to a collective goal of reducing global methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030. The State Department recently announced that 120 countries have joined this pledge. Since the EPA/IRA Methane Emissions Reduction Program was not developed at that time, we are demanding that President Biden propose a meeting with representatives from the 120 countries who have joined the methane reduction pledge. The EPA can review the key components of their Methane Emissions Reduction Program and the President can make a commitment to provide assistance to enable other countries to implement a similar program.
The Biden Administration is keenly aware that climate activists are angry over their recent decision to approve The Willow Project, an enormous oil drilling project on federal land in Alaska. Some inside the administration argue that speeding up the transition to renewable energy, would lessen the demand for oil drilled in Alaska or elsewhere. CAPA realizes that we must demand our elected representatives introduce essential legislation like ‘The Earth Bill’’ instead of weaker alternative proposals. We also demand that President Biden declare a “Climate Emergency”.
2) Stop adding more fossil fuels to our oversupply of planet destroying emissions.
- We will continue to stop the legislative approval of the Mountain Valley Project or what is better known as “Manchin’s Dirty Deal”. So far, we have blocked the approval of this project three times. During the approval process for the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Senator Joe Manchin and Senator Chuck Schumer agreed to a deal that would enable the Mountain Valley Project to get approved by step siding some local regulations in exchange for Manchin’s approval of the vote on the IRA. This project, if completed, will emit the equivalent of 25 operating coal plants into the atmosphere. When environmental groups recognized this, 600 environmental organizations across the country, including CAPA, called their House and Senate representatives demanding that they reject this Dirty Deal. We will continue to update you as new versions are introduced, so we can act again to reject them.
- Stop the “Willow Project”. This will be the largest oil drilling project in the U.S. to date. This project will produce an estimated 254 million metric tons of climate-busting carbon over 30 years. The plan was initially approved by the Trump Administration but was halted in 2021 by an Alaskan judge because “Environmental impacts were not fully addressed.” In March of 2023 President Biden gave final approval to this project, an unacceptable departure by Biden from the promises he has made to the American people and to the environmental justice communities. Six environmental organizations subsequently filed a lawsuit against the Biden Administration. The law suit alleges that the Biden Administration approved the project knowing the harm posed to Arctic communities, wildlife and the climate arguing that the project will spew toxic emissions and GHG pollution and undermine Biden’s promises to the American people. This suit was filed by Sovereign Inupiat for a Living Arctic, Alaska Wilderness League, Environmental America, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Sierra Club, and Wilderness Society. CAPA will follow this law suit closely and will support this litigation however possible.
- CAPA has joined a national campaign to stop Wall Street Banks from financing climate destruction pipelines or refineries. Since the Paris Climate Agreement was signed, the large U.S. banks have provided $1.4 trillion to the fossil fuel industry. Currently, two national action movements are protesting the four largest banks funding fossil fuel projects. CAPA joined ‘Stop the Money Pipelines’ and have organized protests at these banks: J.P. Morgan Chase, Citi Bank, Bank of America and Wells Fargo. A second national campaign against these banks was recently established by Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, is also focusing on these banks. The group called “Third Act”, focusing on customers over 60 who have their money in these local branch offices. These banks are funding major pipeline projects for the fossil fuel industry to transport either dirty oil from Alberta, Canada, liquified gas or CO2 captured carbon to locations all across the U.S. We must do everything we can to stop these climate destructive projects that are built to last 30 plus years. We will inform you about our next protests.
- House Republicans passed a sprawling energy bill on March 31st. The bill, “The Low Energy Cost Act”, aims to undermine and revise Biden’s climate policies. The energy package would sharply increase production of oil, natural gas, coal, and offshore drilling. It would also ease permitting restrictions that delay pipelines, refineries and other projects by bypassing local community and state regulations. This legislation will not pass the Democratic controlled Senate. However, Kevin McCarthy and the extreme Republican House members want to use this legislation now to force Mr. Biden to negotiate over raising the debt limit. This is the type of toxic climate legislation we can expect, if we do not elect pro-environment representatives in 2024 to enable the country to achieve the aggressive climate legislation, we need to reach a clean and sustainable future.
We are now in the process of setting up meetings with our elected House and Senate representatives, establishing coalitions with other like-minded organizations, drafting letters to key political decision makers and encouraging our members to join in these efforts. We will also be participating in demonstrations both locally and in Washington D.C.