Letter sent to John Kerry this week on which ACFAN was a signatory. The Biden Administration needs to step up to the climate crisis, not continue to pursue the fast path to doom!
April 15, 2021
Re: Your Position on Fossil Gas
Dear Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry,We have been encouraged by the seriousness with which you have re-committed the United States to addressing climate change, seeking “ambition and humility.” In January 2021, your comments at the Davos World Economic Forum recognized the real climate and financial risks of investing in gas; as you put it: “If we build out a huge infrastructure for gas now and continue to use it as the bridge fuel, when we haven’t really exhausted the other possibilities, we’re gonna be stuck with stranded assets in 10 or 20 or 30 years. […] Gas is primarily methane, and we have a huge methane problem, folks.” In addition, you called for “ending international financing of fossil fuel projects with public money.”
We agree. Fossil gas, especially in certain forms, could actually be worse for the climate than coal and oil. Gas expansion has no place in a carbon-constrained world given that methane — the major component of gas is 87 times more potent at global warming than carbon dioxide. Research has shown that no new gas or other fossil fuel power plants should have been built after 2017 in order to have half a chance at preventing dangerous climate change, and global gas production and consumption must drop by 40% worldwide over the next decade. Moreover, fossil gas will do very little to improve access to electricity – a major need in many developing countries. In fact, countries are now at risk of stranded assets from gas development in places like Mozambique, and expensive reliance on LNG imports in places like Ghana. Furthermore, gas is displacing the uptake of renewables. For these reasons, we are gravely disappointed to hear you back-track as you did last week in your conversation with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva when you said that “gas will be a bridge fuel.” At a time when countries like the UK have ended support for overseas fossil fuel projects and institutions like the European Investment Bank are phasing out all fossil fuel support by the end of the year, your new position on gas is out of step with the world’s climate leaders, and dangerous.
We also find your promotion of “net zero by 2050” pledges to be problematic. As has been well-documented, these corporate pledges only serve to distract from the real need to end fossil fuel emissions, shift responsibility away from corporate actors and Governments’ need to regulate them, and trigger land and resource grabbing from Indigenous Peoples and local communities primarily in the Global South. You cannot present yourself as a climate leader at next week’s climate summit if you are pro-gas. Therefore, we urge you to unequivocally declare that gas is not part of the solution. Addressing climate change will require comprehensive, transformational changes to our economy and financial system. Relying on delusions of gas serving as a bridge fuel will not get us to where we need to be and risks creating additional injustices. We hope you will be a true
climate leader and immediately end support for all fossil fuels internationally and end U.S. exports of all fossil fuels, as science and justice require.