Washington, D.C. – Today, several organizations joined to deliver a letter to President Barack Obama signed by over 1,200 groups from 64 countries, including over 700 organizations based in the United States, urging the President and other world climate leaders to say “au revoir” to fracking. The letter specifically asks world leaders, including President Obama, to reject fracking as a solution to climate change ahead of his trip to Paris for the COP21 Global Climate Summit. The Global Frackdown, initiated by advocacy group Food & Water Watch, is an international day of action to call for a ban on fracking. Last year, more than 200 actions took place around the world as part of the third annual Global Frackdown, and this year those participating in the Global Frackdown are targeting global leaders who are attending the COP21 climate talks in Paris.
“President Obama should go to Paris as a real Climate Leader in Chief," said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. "The only way he can show true and necessary leadership during the negotiations next month is to stop facilitating the greenwashing of fracking and to do everything in his power to move our nation quickly towards a renewable and energy efficient future.”
The letter urges leaders to keep fracking off the table, keep fossil fuels in the ground, and move to a 100 percent renewable energy future at the United Nations' Paris Climate Conference, or COP21, this December.
Scientific evidence continues to mount that fracking is inherently unsafe, harming our water, air, public health and communities immediately affected by fracking operations. Moreover, fracked gas may actually be a greater driver of global warming than originally thought. In fact, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that methane is 87 times as powerful at trapping heat as carbon dioxide over a 20-year time frame.
"The only answer is to literally keep the fossil fuels in the ground. Forever. Today's statement by a broad swath of civil society confirms that we don't want any more fracking in our communities and wild natural places," said Professor William Snape with the Center for Biological Diversity.
"Fracking will only bridge us to climate chaos,” said Erich Pica, President of Friends of the Earth. “President Obama has a responsibility to lead by example and that means ending dangerous and dirty practices like fracking that destroy our lands, pollute our water, and cook our planet.”
Efforts to curb climate change have traditionally focused on carbon dioxide, but these efforts will remain inconsequential if the climate impacts of methane are not also addressed. In fact, an analysis by Food & Water Watch has shown that just looking at carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from natural gas, almost all natural gas has to stay underground, unburned, to avoid dangerous climate changes.
"As nurses, we know that fracking is an extreme and unsafe method of extracting fossil fuels that pollutes our drinking water, and negatively impacts our environment and climate. We experience it in our communities, and most importantly, witness the impacts on the health of our patients," said Betty Richardson-Robin, a registered nurse in Washington DC and a leader of National Nurses United. "Nurses urge President Obama to take a strong stand against climate change at the upcoming Paris conference while keeping fracking off the table."
“Today I’m taking part in the Global Frackdown to Paris because we must transition from fossil fuels to clean energy,” said Rev Lennox Yearwood Jr. of the Hip Hop Caucus. “Fracking is shackling our communities to fossil fuels, and condemning us to irreversible climate change. We have a responsibility to the communities whose land, water, and air are being poisoned by fracking, and we’re determined to make sure that fracking does not move forward. Climate Change is a civil rights issue, and we have a right to clean air and clean water.”
Recent state-level wins in New York and Maryland have captured headlines as the movement to ban fracking continues to gain momentum. Communities across the country have banded together to resist the fracking industry, and the Global Frackdown aims to connect these local actions to a global movement. Fracking impacts everyone, even those not living near a fracked well, by pipelines, by earthquakes caused by fracking wastewater disposal, from the impacts of mining the sand used in fracking, to the effects of climate change caused by the release of greenhouse gases from fracked oil and gas and much more.
“I grew up in Western Pennsylvania in the heart of fracking country, and I’ve seen firsthand the devastation that fracking causes in communities,” said Julia West, student at American University and member of Fossil Free American University. “Fracking hurts the local economy, pollutes air and water, and makes people sick. To protect Pennsylvania residents and people harmed by fracking everywhere, President Obama needs to ban fracking and take strong action on climate in Paris."
“Sisters of Mercy have been speaking out about the dangers of fracking throughout the United States and in Argentina, Ireland, Newfoundland (Canada), New Zealand and Australia,” says Marianne Comfort, justice educator for the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. “Signing onto this letter urging leaders to keep fossil fuels in the ground is another way of expressing our solidarity with Pope Francis and his challenge to respond to the cry of Earth and the cry of people who are poor.”
Contact: Ryanne Waters, Food & Water Watch, (202) 683-4925, [email protected]