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Excerpt: "By ending new federal fossil fuel leases, the Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground Act of 2015 would remove up to 450 billion tons from the global pool of potential greenhouse gas pollution-an amount vastly greater than any reasonable U.S. share of the global carbon budget to avoid 2 degrees Celsius degrees of warming."

Drilling on federal land. (photo: AP)
Drilling on federal land. (photo: AP)


Landmark Climate Bill Would End New Fossil Fuel Leases on federal Lands

By Center for Biological Diversity

05 November 15

 

enators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) announced landmark climate legislation today to end new federal fossil fuel leasing on public lands and oceans, and cancel existing offshore federal oil and gas leases in the Arctic.

By ending new federal fossil fuel leases, the Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground Act of 2015 would remove up to 450 billion tons from the global pool of potential greenhouse gas pollution—an amount vastly greater than any reasonable U.S. share of the global carbon budget to avoid 2 degrees Celsius degrees of warming.

“If we’re going to solve the global climate crisis, we have to keep fossil fuels in the ground, and this brave legislation puts us on the right path,” said Randi Spivak, public lands director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Developing our last publicly owned fossil fuels would cripple our ability to avert worst-case climate impacts.”

Federal fossil fuels of the U.S. (photo: Curt Bradley/Center for Biological Diversity)
Federal fossil fuels of the U.S. (photo: Curt Bradley/Center for Biological Diversity)

If enacted, the legislation would sever the Obama administration’s “all of the above” energy policy, which, despite a worsening climate crisis, has continued to expand leasing of federal oil, gas and coal on public lands and oceans. In September, more than 400 groups and leaders called on the Obama administration to end its federal leasing program.

“U.S. climate policy must curb supply and demand,” said Spivak. “Regulating smokestacks and tailpipes isn’t enough; fossil fuels that are extracted will be burned. The natural place to start phasing out supply is on our public lands and oceans.”

Over the past decade, the combustion of federal fossil fuels has resulted in nearly a quarter of all U.S. energy-related emissions. In August, a report by EcoShift consulting, commissioned by the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth, found that the remaining federal oil, gas, coal, oil shale and tar sands that have not yet been leased to industry contain up to 450 billion tons of potential greenhouse gas pollution.

As of earlier this year, 67 million acres federal fossil fuel were already leased to industry, an area more than 55 times larger than Grand Canyon National Park containing up to 43 billion tons of potential greenhouse gas pollution.

“The U.S. government has already leased decades’ worth of federal fossil fuels—more than ever can safely be burned,” said Spivak. “Each new lease walks us closer to climate catastrophe. This legislation would end that dangerous policy while protecting our natural heritage of public lands, oceans and biodiversity.”

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+7 # Radscal 2015-11-05 20:29
Of course, with the endemic bribery, it's impossible for this legislation to pass both houses and get a President's signature, but having a public debate about this issue can be an important opportunity.
 
 
+1 # newell 2015-11-06 07:42
especially if the mainstream media picks it up. the size of bernie's pulpit at least helps to let the public know that a few are trying. but the size of obama's pulpit is huge but silent.
 
 
+8 # Vardoz 2015-11-05 21:23
Our Earth is dying and heating up fast so do we want to survive or let a handful of fossil fuel owners hold the fate of mankind in their hands?
 
 
+1 # Lgfoot 2015-11-06 13:28
There are no owners of fossil fuel until our government, or the corrupt individuals who are supposed to act on our behalf, sell it for pennies on the dollar to the extractive companies, and the profits, derived by squeezing money out of the working class, are funneled into the accounts of the 1%.
The hookers and cocaine provided to Minerals Management personnel in exchange for cheap leases was just the tip of the iceberg. This cronyism has gone on for many decades.
Bernie is right- we need to take back our government with a YUGE turnout and get rid of these thieves once and for all.
 
 
+3 # banichi 2015-11-05 22:06
As Radscal said, it is probably not possible to get this legislation past both houses and signed with Republican majorities in both of them. And it is important to raise the stakes of the public debate on the issue.

What the article does not say, is if the bill would also address the transmission of tar sands oil from Canada via the KXL pipeline. Since this would affect some seriously wealthy (i.e. the Koch brothers) people who own a large portion, if not the majority, of the oil sands land the pipeline would be transmitting oil from, it is not a small consideration.

Keep it in the ground, indeed. Denying the Kochs what they want is no small thing in itself. And in my opinion, worth the effort to attempt in itself.
 
 
+3 # Barbara K 2015-11-06 08:23
We can fix that. Vote many more Dems into the government, they will put a stop to this crap. The Rs think everything should belong to them, and that we are nothing but peons. Prove them wrong -- Get out and VOTE.
Switch to wind and solar energy.
 
 
0 # lfeuille 2015-11-06 11:13
Quoting Barbara K:
We can fix that. Vote many more Dems into the government, they will put a stop to this crap. The Rs think everything should belong to them, and that we are nothing but peons. Prove them wrong -- Get out and VOTE.
Switch to wind and solar energy.


Not automatically. Not all Dems are on the right side. You have to find out where they stand and vote accordingly in the PRIMARY.
 
 
+4 # Thinking 2015-11-05 23:54
Because the price of fossil fuels is so low on the market place now that producer are loosing their ability to make a profit, this might be an opportune time to pass such a bill.
 
 
+3 # Dongi 2015-11-06 00:30
Question. Which is more important? The fate of the earth and all its life forms including humans or the fabulous wealth of the Koch brothers? Remember, the Koch boys possess a magical substance called money, which can do miraculous things like buy the allegiance and loyalty of hard working people. It's kind of like a ring which confers enormous power. I wonder how the battle for earth and for the Koch fortune will work out?

Champions to the front!
 
 
+3 # Nominae 2015-11-06 01:30
What continues to astound me is the fact that the Kochs, Exxon Exectives, et al. apparently fail to grasp the fact that not even *they* OR *their* children, can Breathe, Eat, or Drink MONEY either !

Unless they have a secret city in Middle Earth to which they can escape, or a ticket to an inhabitable planet in their pockets, we ALL die together over a filthy pile of green funny-money.
 
 
+4 # diamondmarge7 2015-11-06 06:56
None of the comments above point to which candidate for President has spoken out about the importance of the bill: BERNIE SANDERS' is speaking out to save future generations from an uninhabitable planet. FEEL THE BERN Go to www.citizensagainstplutocracy.com to pledge to write in BERNIE SANDERS if the DNC tries to ram Shillary down our Progressive throats. GO BERNIE! Sanders isa compassionate, intelligent, UNCORRUPTIBLE man of principle. For all our sakes, FEEL THE BERN!
 
 
+4 # geohorse 2015-11-06 07:08
We have to flood our congresspersons with support for this or they will follow the money of their corrupt doners and kill it--to hell with what's left of our public lands and wildlife.
 
 
+1 # newell 2015-11-06 07:59
asking humans to be clean and green is and has never worked. we evolved from monkeys, not cats. i'm waiting for all the energy and time good people are putting into trying to make humans green, to place that energy into reducing our population by one-child incentives. since humans began farming we have been controlled by the 1%--so that will very likely not change. getting money out of campaigns in order to get some 99% people elected to enact one-child incentives --might. and then incentivize other countries to do the same. added benefits would be all the flora and fauna we are exterminating, clean air, water etc. if you have a better solution, i would love to hear it.
 
 
-7 # MidwestTom 2015-11-06 11:19
Hopefully this will never pass. I like my plastic toothbrush, and my plastic drinking cups, and my plastic eyeglass lens; and the Helium that fills kids balloons, and the acid that treats brick buildings, the chlorine that cleans swimming pools and drinking water. and the lubricating oil that keeps gears working.

There was a chart out earlier this week comparing the pollution in our ten largest cities to the same in China's ten largest cities; they have roughly 10 to 15 times more pollution, yet we risk most of our remaining industrial power with stupid bills like this one.
 
 
+1 # Lgfoot 2015-11-06 13:31
Just so you don't mind your children having to live on Venus, which is what the policies of people like you will mean for our planet.
 
 
+1 # Nominae 2015-11-06 20:09
Quoting Lgfoot:
Just so you don't mind your children having to live on Venus ......


Yup ! Venus it IS ! One episode of the recent series "Cosmos" with Neal DeGrasse Tyson showed proof that Venus once had a surface *very* much like that of the Earth. Venus still has mountains once carved by rivers, she still has sea beds, etc.

However, the oceans and rivers on Venus have LONG since evaporated, and turned into thick, poisonous clouds. The surface temperature of Venus is now 960 degrees F., but don't let Tom lose his freakin' plastic toothbrush.

Screw *your* children, grandchildren and great-grandchil dren (the actual OWNERS, along *WITH* US) of these "Public Lands" - especially if it means that Tom might have to use a toothbrush made out of something renewable like hardened bamboo and soft bushes.

And, no, Virgina, Venus is *not* that hot just because she is closer to the Sun. In fact, her clouds are so thick that very little Sunlight gets in. But what DOES get in, *NEVER* GETS OUT.

Venus is our first neighborhood experiment with what happens when the "Greenhouse Effect" is allowed to go on wildly UNCHECKED !

If there ever *was* life on Venus, I hope to high Hell (speaking of an atmosphere now composed of sulfur gas and those 960 degree surface temps) that they enjoyed their plastic toothbrushes to the freakin' *bitter* END !

I'm also happy that Tom enjoys his plastic lenses. Too bad they don't appear to do much for Tom's "long-term" vision.
 

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