President Donald Trump used some of his final campaigning moments to double down on vows for continued climate-wrecking fossil fuel extraction and contrasted his dirty energy plans with those of Democratic candidate Joe Biden, whom he said would "ban fracking."
For advocacy group Food & Water Action— eyeing on Friday a likely win by the former vice president—prohibiting the extractive process is a step Biden must follow through on to lead an administration that will boldly address the planetary climate emergency.
If elected, Biden has "an opportunity to right the ship and take the decisive action necessary to tackle our climate crisis with the urgency it requires."
—Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Action In a statement released before official results were called, but with Biden maintaining his electoral vote lead over Trump and inching toward victory, the group pointed to the Democrat's campaign promise to ban fracking on federal lands.
Calling Trump "an unprecedented threat to public health, climate stability, and a livable future on Earth—not to mention a grave threat to our democracy," Food & Water Action executive director Wenonah Hauter said that Biden, if elected, would have "an opportunity to right the ship and take the decisive action necessary to tackle our climate crisis with the urgency it requires."
Because fracking "poses an unacceptable risk to public health" and "enables our perilous addiction to fossil fuels," banning such extraction on federal lands is merely a first step, said Hauter.
"A real transition to a clean energy future can and must begin with a halt to new fracking—first on federal lands, and everywhere else soon after," she said.
The scope of changes needed to right the wrongs entrenched during Trump's administration stretch far beyond a shift from dirty energy policies, said Hauter, including "a much-needed overhaul of our food and water systems."
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"If the Covid crisis has taught us anything," said Hauter, "it's that every American needs and deserves access to clean water and safe food, no matter what." Effecting that change will require Biden working "with Congress to upgrade our public water infrastructure and drastically reform our filthy, polluting factory farm system."
"By aggressively tackling these critical issues of climate stability and public health from day one," said Hauter, "Joe Biden can prove himself to be the leader these precarious times require."
Food & Water Action's call follows the United States' official departure Wednesday from the Paris climate accord.
According to Jean Su, director of the Center for Biological Diversity's Energy Justice program, the withdrawal amounts to "a tragedy that highlights the fossil fuel industry's obscene power over our political institutions."
Greenpeace USA executive director Annie Leonard, in a statement Wednesday amid ongoing presidential vote counting, expressed confidence Trump's "presidency is coming to an end as his most egregious climate decision goes into effect," referring to his decision to pull out of the global climate pact.
While Biden has said he will rejoin the Paris agreement on "day one" if elected, climate campaigners said that must be seen as only a small first step.
"Joe Biden ran on climate in a year where addressing climate change is a top tier concern for voters and has made a commitment to bring us back into the climate accord once he is elected," said Leonard. "Then he needs to go well beyond what's promised in the Paris accord to protect people and planet, and build back an economy that's clean and resilient."