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Climate protesters ask Biden to follow through on his campaign promises

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
 Demonstrators gathered at the White House in Washington, DC, on Monday, October 11, 2021. They urged US President Joe Biden to take stronger action on climate change. (Reuters photo)

Climate protesters have gathered at the White House in Washington, DC where they warned US President Joe Biden to take their demands seriously, and declare a national emergency, and end projects involving fossil fuels.

The Build Back Fossil Free coalition took to the streets in Washington, DC, on Monday which is a part of their five-day-long effort aimed to spur action by the Biden administration against climate change, Fox News reported.

Siqiñiq Maupin, who is the director of coalition core member the Sovereign Inupiat for the Living Arctic, told Fox News in an email statement on Monday that they arranged the demonstration because they believe Biden needs to fulfill his campaign promises.

"People are dying right now from the pollutants, the toxins, the climate catastrophes that are happening — and we have to stop the harm," Maupin wrote. "Biden’s election was riding on climate change; his entire election hinged on turning out people of color and Indigenous people."

"But when it really comes to what matters, our lives are still being sacrificed for oil and gas," Maupin continued. "That’s why we’re here today."

Biden censured over ‘empty words’

The Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), which is a broad alliance of tribes, Indigenous rights groups, labor organizations, and others said in a statement on Monday that Biden “has consistently fallen short of protecting the water that sustains all life on Mother Earth and continuously failed to honor our treaties.”

The alliance noted that Biden has so far not moved to block Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement project in Minnesota, where Native Americans have led several demonstrations.  

“If President Biden was committed to honoring the treaties and strengthening sovereignty, he would implement a policy of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent by executive authority and act swiftly to mitigate the climate chaos that has engulfed our communities by ending the anti-Indigenous US legacy of fossil fuel extractivism,” the statement added.

“We have had enough of your empty words. Our communities need clean water, land returned, divestment from the fossil fuel industry, and healing from residential school traumas,” the alliance said.

Biden has pledged to transition the US economy towards clean energy and reduce emissions from coal, natural gas and oil. Biden brought the US back into the Paris climate accord in January after former US President Donald Trump pulled the country out.

Biden has asked Congress to approve a $36 billion budget for fighting global warming in 2022. 

The lion share of the budget will be allocated to clean energy initiatives, innovations and research, while a lesser share will go to the building infrastructures for storage and transmission of clean energy, as well as retrofitting homes and federal buildings.

Independent US Senator Bernie Sanders and Democratic Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Earl Blumenauer in February introduced legislation that required Biden to declare a national emergency on climate change.

Trump had labeled climate change a hoax, defying widening international support for the Paris agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions. He argued that the concept of global warming had been “created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.”

In June 2017, Trump announced that he was pulling out of the 2015 global agreement to fight climate change, characterizing the decision as "a reassertion of American sovereignty."

The move drew a rebuke from Democrats at home and world leaders who had pressed Trump not to abandon the 197-nation accord. He argued that remaining in the deal would hurt the US economy.

A report by US national security and intelligence experts warned that climate change could become a “catastrophic” security threat on both national and global levels.

Global warming “will pose catastrophic, and likely irreversible, global security risks over the course of the 21st century,” experts wrote in a report released by the National Security, Military and Intelligence Panel of the Center of Climate and Security as quoted by The Hill in February 2020.

The report warned that all regions across the globe faced “serious implications,” adding that global warming could bring “catastrophic security impacts across the globe.”

The US is the world's second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases behind China. Russia is the fourth-largest emitter.

Meanwhile, US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer warned that extreme weather witnessed in the United States showed that “global warming is upon us."

Hurricane Ida killed at least 22 people in New York and New Jersey area earlier this month.

"Woe is us if we don't recognize these changes are due to climate change. Woe is us if we don't do something about it quickly,” Schumer said last month at a press conference with New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D).

Schumer promised to secure as much federal disaster aid as was needed to be able to respond effectively to the dire situation caused by the extreme weather conditions.

“We will fight and make New York declared a disaster area … and that will mean money” for homeowners, business owners and city and local governments, he added, promising to ensure “no stone is left unturned.”

 


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