On Earth Day, Climate Justice Alliance Calls on US to Embrace 'Real Solutions' to Planetary Emergency

As the world marks Earth Day and U.S. President Joe Biden hosts global leaders at his virtual climate summit, a leading advocacy group on Thursday urged his administration to eschew “market-based approaches and techno-fixes” and instead pursue “real solutions” to the planetary emergency. 

“CJA encourages all hands on deck to battle this climate emergency worldwide, but we can’t continue to follow, empower, and rely on those who created the crisis to solve it.”
—Climate Justice Alliance

Climate Justice Alliance (CJA), a collective of over 70 community-based climate justice groups, commended Biden for reengaging with the international effort to combat the climate crisis following four years of denial and inaction by the Trump administration.

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However, CJA said in a statement that Biden’s climate objectives—which include the newly announced goal of halving greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by the end of the decade—”is not the U.S. leadership our communities need nor does it ensure just solutions to the climate emergency.”

“The focus on promoting market-based approaches and unproven techno-fixes will only further harm Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities here and in the Global South,” said CJA.

“Passing the burden of emissions reductions through unproven technologies including carbon capture and storage (CCS), REDD and REDD+, carbon markets, gas, nuclear, and biomass to the Global South is nothing more than cruel, disingenuous, and doomed to fail,” the group added.

“These false schemes should not be on the menu or funded through U.S. investments,” CJA continued. “This will only serve to save the dying fossil fuel and gas industries [by] fattening their wallets while continuing to lay the burden to solve the crisis on frontline communities.”

“We will continue to push back against Article 6 of the Paris agreement, which supports carbon pricing systems and offsets,” the group said. “We will continue to expose the perils of geoengineering, which are nothing more than risky, unproven technologies that mess with our ecosystems, will not reduce emissions at source, and will put frontline communities around the world in danger.”

CJA called on the United States to immediately: 

  • Commit to reducing emissions at source to limit global warming to at least 1.5°C;
  • Stop all new fossil fuel projects and stop extracting from Mother Earth;
  • Pay reparations to the Global South through investments including renewable energy and sustainable mitigation measures and infrastructure, among others; and
  • Address environmental racism by ending support for false solutions that harm BIPOC communities and the Global South, which only continue the practice of using our communities as sacrifice zones.

“CJA encourages all hands on deck to battle this climate emergency worldwide, but we can’t continue to follow, empower, and rely on those who created the crisis to solve it,” the coalition’s statement said. 

Other climate campaigners also used Earth Day to admonish world leaders they say are failing to do what’s necessary to confront the climate emergency. Activists hammered home the point that the only true solution involving fossil fuels is keeping them in the ground.

Speaking at Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate, Xiye Bastida, a 19-year-old Indigenous Mexican Chilean organizer with the youth-led Fridays for Future movement, said that “we need to accept that the era of fossil fuels is over.” 

“We need a just transition to renewables worldwide so that we can stop emitting carbon and focus on drawing down carbon,” said Bastida. “But most importantly, all of these solutions must be emitted with the voices of Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities as leaders and decision-makers.”

Fridays for Future founder Greta Thunberg released a video in which she warned that “the gap between the urgency needed and the current level of awareness and attention is becoming more and more absurd.”

“Let’s call out their bullshit,” the Swedish teen said of world leaders, whose incongruous words and actions she called “the biggest elephant there’s even been in any room.”