April 21, 2016

All our lives depend on it

Corporate Accountability organizer holds a sign to Kick Big Polluters Out.

Today, as we celebrate our precious planet, and as governments gather to sign the climate agreement from December’s climate talks in Paris, I’ve never been more convinced of both the urgency and necessity of our work to kick big polluters out of climate policy.

You may have seen The New York Times’ coverage that massive ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are expected to melt more rapidly than climate scientists predicted. If these predictions are accurate, it will lead to devastating sea level rise on a much quicker timeline than most have thought. According to the article, “[t]he total rise of the sea could reach five or six feet by 2100, the researchers found. That is roughly twice the increase reported as a plausible worst-case scenario by a United Nations panel just three years ago, and so high it would likely provoke a profound crisis within the lifetimes of children being born today.”

This terrifying finding is an urgent call to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and must be met with decisive policy action.

But we know we will never see decisive, strong policy as long as the world’s biggest polluters are involved. These past months have also brought examples of egregious abuses by big polluters. Exxon deliberately lied and has been waging a campaign of climate misinformation for decades. Shell is under investigation for a bribery scheme regarding the acquisition of a large oil field in the Niger Delta.

These revelations make it clear beyond any doubt: We must secure a firewall between these corrupt industries and climate policymaking.

Yet today, governments are signing an agreement that, thanks to the fossil fuel industry, does not go nearly far enough to address the impending climate disaster and bring justice to people most affected by climate change. Indeed, the very spot of the signing — U.N. headquarters in New York City — will be swallowed by the rising seas if we do not secure more binding, more powerful, and more effective climate policy.

But here’s the thing. Millions of people around the world like you are demanding that the fossil fuel industry be held accountable for its actions. And public officials are listening. Four state attorneys general — California’s Kamala D. Harris, New York’s Eric T. Schneiderman, Massachusetts’ Maura Healey, and Virgin Islands’ Claude Walker — launched investigations into Exxon’s deception, and dozens more are supporting this move.

It’s a giant step forward in holding the fossil fuel industry accountable and protecting climate policymaking from big polluters.

We have no time to lose. The world needs this movement to hold fossil fuel corporations accountable in the U.S. and across the globe, and to protect against their interference in international climate policymaking.

With our members and our allies, we’ve rolled up our sleeves. We are carrying out more powerful tactics to kick big polluters out of climate policymaking. All of our lives depend on it.

On this Earth Day, please consider joining in this work. Click here to give a gift today.

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