Thank you, President Biden, for your climate action
President Biden, during the election you promised to build an administration that makes decisions based on sound science, and you have begun to fulfill that promise. You also promised to protect the environment and human health. To us, as citizens who have been raising their voices about the urgency of the climate crisis, this means acting immediately to provide a pathway to a just and equitable transition to renewable energy and a greener economy.
We are grateful, President Biden, that you have taken immediate action to protect the health and livelihoods of many people who live in areas damaged or destroyed by fossil fuel extraction.
Fossil fuels are the main driver of the climate crisis and the fossil fuel industry has had one of the loudest voices in our government’s decision making for too long.
Thank you for getting our country back on track to a sustainable future by making the climate crisis a national security priority for the first time, for canceling the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, for pausing federal land and water leases for fossil fuel extraction, and for stopping the flow of public funds to fossil fuel projects.
We can start to build for the future with your directive to FEMA to offer new guidance on disaster mitigation in this country and with your commitment to a transition to electric cars and to speed up permitting for renewable projects. Importantly, part of our low-carbon transition means rebuilding the economy with good-paying jobs. This is already starting with your promotion of large-scale renewable energy projects and including a raise in the Federal Minimum Wage to $15 per hour as part of your Pandemic Recovery Plan.
Thank you. Your additional focus on retraining former fossil fuel workers to work on renewable energy projects further demonstrates your commitment to protecting jobs as we move forward as a nation.
For too long, the United States has been far behind much of the world, failing to keep up with our international neighbors in facing the issues of climate change.
By rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, you are helping us catch up and try to regain our leadership role on this issue. It is important that, as a country that is experiencing major impacts from the crisis, the United States has a seat at the table when global decisions are made regarding how to solve the climate crisis in ways that protect all who are affected.
The process of international decision-making is a difficult one and we are grateful that you have created a new position for John Kerry, an experienced international negotiator, as Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.
We are eager to work with you to enact a smooth transition to a thriving, renewables-based economy that ensures good health and plentiful jobs for all. In Pennsylvania, we are working to approve programs, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, that will finally start to make fossil fuel companies pay the true costs of their industry and encourage a shift to a more sustainable energy system.
Thank you for providing vision, leadership and action on climate issues in the early days of your administration. Much remains to be done, but you have made a strong start to this important work. We know that there may be times in the next four years when we will disagree, and if that happens, you will certainly hear from us.
If, as some experts believe, we do indeed find ourselves at a tipping point, it may be possible that — with our combined work — our precious planet can regain its balance.
Thank you, President Biden, for allowing us to believe that a green future is possible and within reach.
Keep up the good work!
(Sandy Field is chair of the Susquehanna Valley PA Chapter of the Pennsylvania Chapters Coalition of the Climate Reality Project, advocates for action on the climate crisis. The Pennsylvania Chapters Coalition has over 1,000 members across the state. (www.climaterealityproject.org.)