"It's clear that the crisis is spiraling out of control and the policies of your administration with regard to fossil fuels fail to align with what the science tells us must happen to avert calamity."
In an open letter published Wednesday, around 400 scientists implored U.S. President Joe Biden to endorse the demands of this weekend's March to End Fossil Fuels in New York—which include halting new fossil fuel projects, ending oil and gas drilling on public lands, and declaring a climate emergency.
Noting that "on your first day in office, you issued an executive order pledging that it is 'the policy of my administration to listen to the science' in tackling the climate crisis," the letter's signers lamented that "more than two years later, it's clear that the crisis is spiraling out of control and the policies of your administration with regard to fossil fuels fail to align with what the science tells us must happen to avert calamity."
"With the climate crisis raging all around us—in the form of fires, floods, hurricanes, drought, heatwaves, crop failures, and more—we call on you directly, clearly, and unequivocally to stop enacting policies contrary to science and do what is needed to address the crisis," the signatories added.
The scientists called on Biden to:
- Stop federal approval for new fossil fuel projects and repeal permits for climate bombs like the Willow project and the Mountain Valley Pipeline;
- Phase out fossil drilling on our public lands and waters;
- Declare a climate emergency to halt fossil fuel exports and investments abroad, and turbocharge the buildout of more just, resilient distributed energy (like rooftop and community solar); and
- Provide a just transition to a renewable energy future that generates millions of jobs while supporting workers' and community rights, job security, and employment equity.
"Given how bad global heating has now gotten, it's simply insane that President Biden still refuses to declare a climate emergency."
Peter Kalmus of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory—another initial signer—said that "given how bad global heating has now gotten, it's simply insane that President Biden still refuses to declare a climate emergency, and indeed, continues to make everything worse by expanding fossil fuels."
"Nothing takes away my hope for humanity's collective future more than Biden's choice to stand with the fossil fuel industry," Kalmus added. "He must pivot and become the climate leader the planet needs, or else he'll continue locking in higher temperatures and ever more irreversible damage to Earth's habitability."
Nearly 800 international, national, and local organizations have endorsed Sunday's March to End Fossil Fuels, which comes ahead of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres' Climate Ambition Summit and this fall's U.N. Climate Change Conference—also known as COP28—in Dubai. More than 400 marches, rallies, and other climate mobilizations are slated for this weekend.