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 U.S. climate scientist Peter Kalmus is seen outside a JPMorgan Chase building in Los Angeles on April 6, 2022. Along with several others, he locked himself to the front door of the building and was ultimately arrested as they engaged in civil disobedience as part Scientist Rebellion's week of action. (Photo: Scientist Rebellion)

U.S. climate scientist Peter Kalmus is seen outside a JPMorgan Chase building in Los Angeles on April 6, 2022. Along with several others, he locked himself to the front door of the building and was ultimately arrested as they engaged in civil disobedience as part Scientist Rebellion's week of action. (Photo: Scientist Rebellion)

Top Climate Scientists to Biden: 'Follow the Science, Stop Fossil Fuels'

The letter to President Joe Biden came amid a week of "scientist-led civil disobedience" demanding urgent climate action.

Andrea Germanos

In a powerful direct appeal to President Joe Biden urging him to follow through on his vow to listen to science, a group of over 275 scientists on Thursday called on the U.S. leader to urgently ditch fossil fuels and lead the country to a renewable energy transition.

Written "in this moment of climate emergency... with utmost urgency," the letter to Biden was coordinated by the advocacy group Food & Water Watch along with noted U.S. climate experts including Peter Kalmus, Sandra Steingraber, Robert Howarth, Mark Jacobson, and Michael Mann.

As Common Dreams previously reported, the scientists leading the effort unveiled the letter last month, seeking a critical mass of signatures to push back against the administration's move to further oil and gas production as nations look to reduce their dependence on Russian fuels in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

The letter—bluntly declaring "Follow the Science, Stop Fossil Fuels"—was officially sent to the White House Thursday, landing amid a week of "scientist-led civil disobedience" featuring strikes and occupations in dozens of countries to highlight the urgency of the ecological and climate crisis.

In their letter to Biden, the expert group cites the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released in February cataloging the "unfolding climate catastrophe" as evidence of the need for swift action. Millions worldwide, including within the U.S., are already facing climate impacts, the IPCC report notes, including water scarcity and extreme weather events.

"These problems will only accelerate as we continue our reliance on fossil fuels," the scientists wrote. "And, this is on top of the significant health and environmental justice impacts that power plants, export facilities, and other fossil fuel infrastructure have on neighboring communities."

"As the IPCC report indicated, the scientific evidence is overwhelming that we must act now," they wrote, "we simply do not have time to waste."

Firmly rejecting Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm's framing of the U.S. being "on war footing" in pushing for more domestic fossil fuel production, the scientists told Biden that such urgency must instead be directed at "building a renewable energy economy" and that he must exercise his "executive authority to redirect these massive investments, mobilize the country, and rally the global community around a program of energy security through a rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy."

"We urge you to lead boldly, take on the fossil fuel titans, and rally the country towards a renewable energy future," the scientists wrote.

Lead signatory and climate scientist Kalmus was among those taking part in Scientist Rebellion direct actions on Wednesday; he was ultimately arrested after locking himself to the front door of a JPMorgan Chase building in Los Angeles.

He was driven by what he sees as "humanity heading directly toward climate disaster" and "currently on track to lose everything we love."

In an op-ed published at The Guardian Wednesday explaining why he was willing to risk arrest, Kalmus wrote, "If everyone could see what I see coming, society would switch into climate emergency mode and end fossil fuels in just a few years."


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