Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, January 12, 2016

Contact: Patrick Sullivan, (415) 517-9364,

State of the Union: President Obama Must Pledge Deep Cuts to Climate Pollution

WASHINGTON— Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, released the following statement ahead of President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight.

“President Obama’s last year in office gives him a final opportunity to curb one of the gravest dangers to the world’s climate: fossil fuel companies’ grotesque exploitation of America’s beautiful public lands. Every new fossil fuel lease pushes our planet closer to a dangerous climate tipping point because it locks us into more decades of dangerous carbon pollution.

“At the Paris climate summit, the president rightly noted that the stakes have never been higher in the battle against global warming. Yet the Obama administration continues to lease more public land and offshore areas to the fossil fuel industry every year, and these leases now generate nearly a quarter of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Fracking, mining and drilling are destroying America’s natural heritage to create planet-warming pollution.

“To fight this climate threat, the president should halt all new federal fossil fuel leasing on America’s public lands and in our oceans. Ending new leasing could safeguard the planet against up to 450 billion tons of carbon pollution. That’s more than a quarter of Earth’s remaining carbon budget — the amount that can be released before we trigger a dangerous level of warming that will wreak havoc on the planet’s poorest people and our web of life.

“President Obama has clear legal authority to halt new fossil fuel leasing on public lands. These lands are owned by the American people, and the administration has a responsibility to manage them for the public trust. In the president’s last year in office, he must find the courage to take this powerful action to protect the planet and his own climate legacy.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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