Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon has given a powerful interview to the Washington Post on what's needed to address the climate crisis, why it's needed immediately, and what the Biden administration could be doing but isn't.

Ask President Biden to Respond to Senator Merkley's Urgent Message on Climate Crisis.

Here's some of what Sen. Merkley said:

“The Biden administration has reverted to an all-of-the-above strategy. They are green-lighting one fossil project after another, more drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, a new LNG export facility in Alaska, a massive North Sea drilling operation called the Willow Project, the Mountain Valley Gas Pipeline. And they've failed to absolutely educate Americans about the immediacy of the challenge and how dramatically we need to operate in order to take it on."

Click here to email President Biden.

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Here are some more excerpts from the interview. Please read them and forward them to anyone who might be interested.

"So when you look at that collective impact, this is a global emergency. It's the biggest threat that humanity has ever faced. . . . And a climate emergency would, under our laws, declaring it would give the president a lot more powers, which he could exercise as he saw appropriate as issues develop, things like banning oil exports or activating the Defense Production Act. To meet the goal that Biden laid out for 2035, in terms of all electricity being generated by renewable energy, if half of that comes from solar, then we have to deploy nearly 3 billion solar panels between now and 12 years from now. We're nowhere close to having the production capacity to do that. I mean, we're not even--we're not even a tiny bit of the way there.

"So there's more that the president could do. They could--he could shift funds with climate emergency to accelerate R&D on batteries. He could accelerate transmission lines needed to interconnect different grids across the country. . . . I understand that producing bills that will be helpful require essentially every Democrat to be on board. I understand this, but I do think that people rally around a leader who lays out a clear and powerful vision and says how urgent it is. And that is more important, more needed than a little bit of cooperation that some senator will come in and sit down and talk to you.

"So I really think that, quite frankly, President Biden and his team do not understand the level of challenge we're facing, and that really, President Biden, as one NASA climate scientist said a week ago, he is the last president who can keep the Earth from exceeding 1.5 degrees Centigrade, which we're hurtling towards just so rapidly. . . . A recent study said if a fossil gas, natural gas--but 'natural gas' is a marketing term. Let's call it 'fossil methane gas.' If it has a 0.2 percent leakage rate, then it is as bad for the climate as coal. So they're essentially equivalent or possibly fossil gas is worse because methane, the primary component of fossil gas, is such--so effective at trapping heat. So do not pretend that somehow fossil gas is better. Do not pretend that plastics, expansion of plastics is okay, or fossil hydrogen. Those are all things that will be climate killers, and the president has to help educate the United States. . . .

"You know, I love John Kerry and the expertise he brings, and he's just the right person to have in this job. But most of what's been happening is countries have been setting goals for 2035 and 2050. When earlier this year I was in Vietnam and I was in Indonesia, they bragged about their 2035 goals and 2050 goals. Those goals are just mirages on their horizon. Having countries sign up to that is meaningless. What matters now is a fast pivot off of fossils. Stop producing more fossil infrastructure. Rapidly deploy renewable infrastructure. The real test of how the world is doing is how much each year does the carbon go up that's in the atmosphere, and it went up more last year than any year in human history. In other words, we haven't even begun. We haven't even started. We haven't even gotten the slightest start on ending the acceleration of carbon into our atmosphere, and that is so powerfully destructive to the world that our children will see, our grandchildren will see. It will get worse and worse.

"I mean, think about how bad it is now compared to 25 years ago. This is going to accelerate to another place. So the kind of agreements that Kerry needs to get are real on-the-ground commitments of changes that immediately stop new fossil projects and accelerate renewables. But how can the U.S. ask for that when we're approving a whole lot more fossil projects here at home? That is the fatal flaw and the direction that the president is headed. On this most important issue facing humanity, Team Biden is failing."

Click here to email President Biden.

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>> Washington Post interview of Senator Merkley


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