Wenonah Hauter

After Paris, Our Work Continues

After a week in Paris last December pushing for real solutions to climate change, I'm energized with new hope for our movement.

Climate change is arguably the most important issue of our time — it's also one of the most complicated, with deeply entrenched fossil fuel corporations at work against us. But while in Paris, I saw the inspiring resilience of our global community, and the incredible power of this movement.

Unfortunately, the agreement coming out of the Paris COP falls far short of what is needed to actually address our climate crisis. There was no mention of the words ‘oil’, ‘gas’ or ‘fossil fuels’ at all — all of which we must swiftly transition away from to avert climate crisis. As long as fracking exists, we still have work to do.

After Paris: Not All Climate Plans Are Created Equal

There’s no debating the fact that we need to limit carbon pollution. What is up for debate is the roadmap for how we will do that. Let me be clear: fracked gas will not put us on a path to a renewable future. Fracking contributes to climate change, threatens drinking water and the health of our families, and keeps us addicted to fossil fuels.

If we are serious about limiting carbon pollution, fracking CANNOT be a part of the solution. Switching from coal to gas won't stop climate change, and in fact, methane that leaks from fracking wells is a more potent greenhouse gas over the short term than carbon. We need to bypass fracking altogether, not use it as a crutch to continue relying on dirty, polluting sources of energy. Any serious climate plan must keep all fossil fuels in the ground, and that’s what we are fighting for.

It's easy to get discouraged with so much going wrong in our world right now. Every day that the shift to renewable energy is delayed, our climate becomes less stable and more families are hurt by fracking. But instead of getting discouraged, we need to act smarter and work harder. It's time to continue working together, harder than ever, to call for the solutions we need to address the dire state of our climate and our world. No compromises, no half-steps. We will win a ban on fracking, we will build a renewable future. Not 50 years from today — but starting right now.

Together, we've proven that when people come together to demand what's right, we can turn the tables and win against even the huge powers of Big Oil & Gas. We won a fracking ban in New York, and are continuing to keep fracking at bay in key fights across the country.

Fossil fuels are the energy of the past.

Wenonah Hauter is the executive director of Food & Water Watch (foodandwaterwatch.org) and author of Foodopoly: The Future of Food and Farming in America (Foodopoly.org).

From The Progressive Populist, February 1, 2016


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