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Earthworks COP26

Climate activists unfurl a banner imploring President Joe Biden to keep his promise and stop new federal oil and gas leases. (Photo: Ethan Buckner/Earthworks/Twitter)

Biden to Unleash 'Irrevocable Climate Chaos' if US Fracked Gas Export Projects Proceed: Groups

"To limit global warming to 1.5°C, the U.S. must ultimately stop building new export terminals and pipelines that prop up this dangerous fossil fuel worldwide."

Brett Wilkins

"Would climate leaders build 399 new coal plants in the U.S.?"

"The fact that dozens of LNG and pipeline projects are being seriously considered for approval by the Biden administration is deeply alarming."

So asks an advertisement placed in Scotland's largest daily newspaper this week by U.S. environmental and climate justice groups during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, part of an effort to persuade the Biden administration to reject all new gas exports and fossil fuel infrastructure.

"The answer is no," the ad says. "Yet right now, 23 liquefied natural gas export terminals and pipelines are sitting on your desks. These projects will unleash greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to doubling all existing U.S. coal-fired power plants."

Last month, Oil Change International—a member of the Build Back Fossil Free coalition behind the ad—published a briefing paper noting President Joe Biden has the executive authority to block two dozen fossil fuel infrastructure projects that, if completed, would produce as much greenhouse gas emissions annually as more than 400 coal-fired power plants.

Since the report's publication, one of its featured liquified natural gas (LNG) export terminals has been canceled, leaving 23 projects that would generate the equivalent yearly emissions of 399 coal plants.

According to the briefing, the combined greenhouse gas emissions of the 24 fossil fuel projects—among them the Line 3, Dakota Access, and Mountain Valley pipelines and 20 liquified gas terminals—"would be larger than all current U.S. coal power plants combined, moving the United States away from Paris agreement commitments."

"At a critical time when we need to rapidly phase out fossil fuel production and wind down our emissions, allowing even one of these fossil fuel infrastructure projects to move forward would undermine our global climate goals," Oil Change International U.S. program manager Collin Rees said in a statement Friday.

"The fact that dozens of LNG and pipeline projects are being seriously considered for approval by the Biden administration is deeply alarming, and this should put the United States on the hot seat in Glasgow during the rest of COP26," Rees added.

The ad was published after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday announced new rules targeting leaks and emissions of methane—a greenhouse gas found to be up to 87 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period—that the advocacy group Earthworks said "do not go far enough to address pollution."

Julia Walsh, director of Frack Action, said Friday that "the new methane regulations put a Band-Aid on the problem."

"Even if we're leaking less methane in the U.S., we're still pulling it out of the ground, transporting it around the country, and then leaking or burning it overseas," Walsh noted. "To limit global warming to 1.5°C, the U.S. must ultimately stop building new export terminals and pipelines that prop up this dangerous fossil fuel worldwide."

Build Back Fossil Free's latest appeal to Biden comes amid numerous climate demonstrations in Glasgow and after the coalition's historic People vs. Fossil Fuels week of action in Washington, D.C.

"No world leader could credibly claim to be a climate champion without tackling fossil fuel development head-on," Wenonah Hauter, executive director at coalition member Food & Water Watch, said Friday. "This includes cutting dangerous greenhouse gas emissions off at the source by halting new drilling and fracking, and canceling new oil and gas infrastructure projects."

Hauter added that "President Biden has a stark choice: to lead by acting decisively against fossil fuels, or to continue down the current path to irrevocable climate chaos."

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