Overview: President Obama’s second term will be a pivotal four years in the fight to stop climate disruption and move America to a clean energy
future. The coal industry is on the ropes, clean energy is on the
rise, and extreme weather has put climate disruption back on the front
page. In his victory speech, the President invited a climate conversation, and we intend to take him up on that offer. At the same time, the coal, oil, and gas industries are all rallying and regrouping for the fight of their lives. The Sierra Club must match this moment by setting a clear, bold, and credible climate and clean energy legacy (sometimes referred to as “Obama’s Climate Agenda” below) for President Obama’s second term.
Goals: Our campaign has been designed to reach two goals:
1) Push the President to provide strong, consistent American leadership on climate and clean energy in his second term, and provide a specific policy agenda that represents the best course of administrative action he can take.
2) Unify our Sierra Club campaigns and the larger climate movement behind a well-framed, concrete agenda with specific demands that will help us reach our climate goals, while also allowing people to focus on their specific campaign objectives.
Strategy: We will push President Obama to define his climate and clean energy legacy by doing the following:
● Secure key wins early in his second term and leverage public support on clear policy pieces to embolden further, bolder administrative action.
● Build the climate movement by uniting coal, gas, oil, clean energy, and lands activists, and by engaging key allies and working together on shared solutions.
● Focus our campaign on issues that matter to constituencies with a vested interest in the success of a clean energy economy that are most likely to motivate President Obama to act.
Taking delivery on this climate legacy will require a consistent,
focused, well-resourced effort for the next four years. Several of
these protections now have a life of their own and began unfolding in
December, and we will have to fight hard and steadily on every single
one over the next two years. Our success or failure will significantly
affect the national momentum and appetite for bold action on climate
and clean energy.
Right out of the gate in December and the first quarter of 2013, we
will be faced with activity on several major fronts that will become a
major focus of attention for the environmental community, White House,
and Congress. In December 2012 through the first quarter of 2013, EPA
will finalize a soot standard, issue a draft environmental impact
statement for Keystone XL, propose new Tier 3 standards for auto fuel,
propose new safeguards for fracking, and possibly finalize new source
carbon standards. All will come under fierce and immediate attack.
Creating some opportunities for wins early on is essential to our
ability to maintain our momentum on climate and energy for the next
four years. If the White House cannot move these forward, their
appetite for further bold climate and energy action will likely drop
dramatically. Conversely, if we can hit these protections and hearings
out of the park and demonstrate strong public support for them, that
will create greater momentum for heavier lifts to come on climate and
energy, like the existing source carbon standard, mountaintop removal,
fracking, and future decisions on Keystone XL.
Laying out a broad agenda will benefit the larger momentum around
climate because it will make it clear to the Obama administration that
we are playing on several fronts. To weaken the power of the coal and
oil industries, we’ll need to build powerful alliances with those
communities that have a vested interest in the success of a clean
energy economy. We’ll need youth, clean tech businesses, people of
color groups, organized labor and low-income organizations to show
that there are viable clean energy alternatives to coal and oil that
will make life better for everyday Americans.
President Obama’s Climate and Clean Energy Legacy: A Call for Leadership
President Obama, now is your time to lead in the fight against climate
disruption. The science is real, the damage to our planet and our
economy is real, and -- particularly after a year of extreme weather
including droughts, wildfires and Hurricane Sandy -- the effects on
American families and their pocketbooks are very real. We can turn the
corner on climate disruption, and put the nation on a path to meet the
emissions reductions that science demands, but only if America acts
now. We call on you to use the Office of the Presidency to:
● Make climate disruption a key pillar of your second administration, take bold administrative action and stand up for climate science.
● Connect the dots so Americans understand how carbon emissions have led to a climate disruption, which can trigger more climate-related disasters.
● Speak often about the issue to the American people and the world and encourage all lawmakers -- from Heads of State, to Congress, to local cities and towns -- to support meaningful administrative action on climate disruption.
The following agenda presents a specific, achievable and meaningful
strategy that the Office of the President and your administration can
take to substantially address climate disruption, reenergize the
American economy, and create millions of jobs. The time is now, and
the American people are looking to you to lead on this issue. The
American people are ready and willing to join you in this fight that
is not only winnable, but in which we are already beginning to
Obama’s Climate and Clean Energy Agenda -- Five Policy Planks
1. Hold fossil fuel polluters accountable for their pollution.
● Adopt and enforce coal pollution protections for carbon, soot, smog, sulfur, water toxics, and coal ash, and set water pollution standards that will end mountaintop removal mining.
● Enact standards and close loopholes to protect water, air, and climate from fracking and other forms of oil and gas production.
● Finalize Tier 3 clean fuel standards, finalize emissions standards for refineries, and establish strong mileage standards for medium and heavy-duty vehicles
2. Reject proposals to import dirty fuels and stop the rush of fossil
● Stop Keystone XL and other tar sands infrastructure.
● Halt expansion of fossil fuel exports, including liquefied natural gas export facilities, new coal export terminals, and increased oil exports.
● Increase US-backed international finance of renewable energy and energy efficiency, and phase out fossil fuel lending.
3. Double down on clean energy.
● Open innovative financing and investment avenues for energy efficiency and renewable energy.
● Facilitate environmentally responsible leasing and deployment of clean energy generation and technologies on public lands and waters and within federal agencies.
4. Protect communities from future climate disasters and ready a
robust and just response.
● Release equal and just national climate resilience plans that help create strong and sustainable communities, infrastructure and ecosystems.
● Hold EPA and FEMA accountable for ensuring equal, appropriate and just federal emergency and disaster response, including better equipping state and local officials to develop and support climate resilient communities.
5. Protect our lands water and wildlife from the impacts of fossil
fuel development and climate disruption.
● Stop the rush to expand oil and gas drilling, coal mining, and dirty fuels development on our public lands and the Outer Continental Shelf; reform the Department of Interior coal leasing program; and protect the Arctic Refuge and national parks from fossil fuel leasing and development.
● Ensure that lands and wildlife can adapt to climate change by protecting large scale landscapes that connect wildlife habitat, and ensure that every national forest addresses the impacts of climate disruption and protects carbon-storing old growth forests as part of their management plan.