Global commitments at Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate fall short of tackling the main culprits of the climate crisis.
At the Leaders Summit on Climate, we heard big promises from world leaders about plans to tackle the climate emergency, yet taking on the major drivers of the climate crisis – big polluters and climate-wrecking industries and the financial institutions that back them – has been nearly absent from the conversation.
The world can’t solve the climate crisis if leaders are unwilling to name the main culprits, let alone have the courage to take on these powerful industry interests.
We must end the era of fossil fuels. This cannot be accomplished by vague commitments to net-zero emission strategies, but only by a managed decline of fossil fuel production. But right now, the US is on track to be responsible for more than half of all new gas production in the world over the next decade and become the second largest exporter in the world. There is no pathway to halting the climate crisis without curbing the use of gas — no matter how the industry tries to spin it, as we’ve recently shown in our ground-breaking complaint against Chevron for greenwashing.
For the US to truly be a climate leader, President Biden must tackle how the production, export, and use of polluting fossil fuels harms our communities and wrecks our planet.
We welcome the leadership displayed by US Senator Markey today by reintroducing the BAN Oil Exports Act – a key step in protecting our communities from the harm and destruction posed by fossil fuel exports.
Just as we can’t fight climate change without addressing the toxic influence of the fossil fuels industry, we also can’t keep ignoring the crucial role played by the international financial sector in bankrolling the destruction of climate-critical forests. These forests act as key carbon sinks, cool the planet, help prevent further pandemics and provide homes and livelihoods to indigenous and forest communities, who have safeguarded them for generations.
While the last two days have seen a multitude of new pledges and initiatives, none of them practically tackle the money pipeline that is funding destructive businesses and fuelling global deforestation.
If global governments are serious about protecting the world’s forests and climate, they need to commit to passing strong laws that center the rights of local communities and ensure all businesses, including banks and investors, cannot continue profiting from calamitous deforestation and associated human rights abuses.
US Climate Envoy John Kerry ended the Summit stating this needs to be the decade of decision. Yet, all signs show that this needs to be the decade of concrete action holding climate-wrecking industries and their backers to account in order to prevent the worst of the climate emergency.
As we look ahead to COP in Glasgow, we call on global leaders to take action to tackle the main drivers of the climate crisis – end deforestation, end fossil fuel extraction and exports, and ensure climate justice is central to any solution to protect people and the planet.