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Demanding 2020 Democrats Pick a Side on Climate Emergency, Greenpeace Climbers Shut Down Busiest Fossil Fuel Transportation Hub in US

"Will you champion a Green New Deal and ensure a just transition away from fossil fuels?" asked the activists of the Democratic contenders. "Or will you side with the corrupt billionaires trying to wreck the planet for their profit? Millions of Americans are waiting on your answer."

Twenty-two Greenpeace USA climbers form a blockade on the Fred Hartman Bridge in Baytown, Texas shutting down the largest fossil fuel thoroughfare in the United States ahead of the third Democratic primary debate in nearby Houston. The climbers are preventing the transport of all oil and gas through the Houston Ship Channel, home to the largest petrochemical complex in the United States. According to the group, the nearly two dozen climbers "intend to remain secured in place for 24 hours, preventing the tra

Twenty-two Greenpeace USA climbers form a blockade on the Fred Hartman Bridge in Baytown, Texas shutting down the largest fossil fuel thoroughfare in the United States ahead of the third Democratic primary debate in nearby Houston. The climbers are preventing the transport of all oil and gas through the Houston Ship Channel, home to the largest petrochemical complex in the United States. According to the group, the nearly two dozen climbers "intend to remain secured in place for 24 hours, preventing the transport of all oil and gas through the channel. Their action is a bold call to leaders to imagine a world beyond fossil fuels and embrace a just transition to renewable energy." (Photo: Twitter/Greenpeace USA)

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Just hours ahead of the Democratic Party primary debate taking place in Houston this evening, 22 activist climbers from Greenpeace blockaded the Fred Hartmann Bridge in Baytown, Texas just after dawn on Thursday morning in order to shutdown, they said, "the largest fossil fuel thoroughfare" in the country and demand presidential candidates takes a bold stance in favor of the Green New Deal and a rapid renewable energy transition.

"We're in a climate emergency created by fossil fuel CEOs and made worse by Trump. We can either take bold action to combat the climate crisis today or suffer the consequences—more floods, more mega-storms, and more fires—for years to come," said Greenpeace USA executive director Annie Leonard in a statement.

With an average of 700,000 barrels of oil passing through the location the climbers have blocked every single day, the groups says that industry expansion plans—and a major U.S. push to export more fossil fuels in the coming years—could increase that amount to 2 million barrels in a matter of years.

The demonstrators were streaming live from the bridge in Texas in order to speak to people around the world about why the are blockading passage beneath the bridge. Watch:

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According to the group, the nearly two dozen climbers "intend to remain secured in place for 24 hours, preventing the transport of all oil and gas through the channel. Their action is a bold call to leaders to imagine a world beyond fossil fuels and embrace a just transition to renewable energy."

"To the presidential candidates gathered in Houston today, we need you to know there is no middle ground to stand on," said Mike Herbert, one of the climbers on the bridege. "Will you champion a Green New Deal and ensure a just transition away from fossil fuels? Or will you side with the corrupt billionaires trying to wreck the planet for their profit? Millions of Americans are waiting on your answer."

Touting the promise of the Green New Deal over the status quo, Leonard said Democratic candidates should recognize it as a no-brainer.

"Here's what can happen when we finally choose renewable energy over fossil fuels," she said: "We can create millions of high-paying, union jobs. We can keep our air and water clean and safe. And we can safeguard our climate against catastrophe. We can't afford to screw this up, and we won't let oil executives do that for us."

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