For Immediate Release, August 13, 2020

Brett Hartl, Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund, (202) 774-7296,
Thanu Yakupitiyage, 350 Action, (413) 687-5160,
Collin Rees, Oil Change U.S., (308) 293-3159,
Lauren Maunus, Sunrise Movement, (772) 631-5260,
Mitch Jones, Food & Water Action,

Tens of Thousands Urge Democrats to Strengthen 2020 Platform on Fossil Fuels

WASHINGTON— More than 30,000 people with ten climate and environmental groups today called on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to strengthen the 2020 party platform’s section on fossil fuel pollution and extraction.

Today’s petition urges the DNC to develop a plan to slash fossil fuel extraction over the next 10 years while ensuring a just transition for workers and impacted communities. DNC members have been voting on the final platform and are expected to ratify it by the weekend.

“Protecting our climate requires limiting fossil fuel extraction, but the DNC platform lets the world’s largest polluters drill, frack and mine unlimited oil, gas and coal,” said Brett Hartl, chief political strategist at the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund. “If we want to have a livable planet and truly address the environmental injustices caused by fossil fuels, the Democratic 2020 platform must do better.”

After pushback from climate and environmental justice activists, the DNC platform committee revised the early platform draft to include a commitment to ban new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters — similar to the commitment Vice President Biden made to end all new permitting.

But the platform still does not include a plan to stop new oil, gas and coal projects and phase out existing fossil fuel production nationwide. That leaves it at odds with what scientists say is necessary to keep warming to 1.5ºC in line with the Paris climate agreement.

The petition also emphasized the links between fossil fuel production and environmental racism: “From fracking wells to the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, fossil fuel projects routinely violate Indigenous rights and disproportionately spew toxic emissions into Black communities and other communities of color,” the petition notes.

The DNC’s draft platform also includes a nod to unproven technology like carbon capture and storage that is favored by the fossil fuel industry as cover for continued fossil fuel production.

“We’re in a period of compound crises that climate change will exacerbate in unfathomable ways, yet Democratic leadership continues to shy away from dealing with the root causes of the crisis,” said Jenny Marienau Zimmer, 350 Action campaign manager. “It’s time for the Democratic Party to display political will and courage and commit to phasing out fossil fuel extraction. The only clear path is bold climate action and transitioning to a renewable energy economy.”

“The Democratic Party has made some important strides, but any plan to confront the climate crisis must include a bold plan to tackle the fossil fuel industry and end deadly oil and gas expansion,” said Collin Rees, senior campaigner with Oil Change U.S. “Fossil fuel infrastructure impacts frontline communities first and worst — it’s time for a real just transition that puts workers and communities in charge.”

“While the GOP props up fossil fuel billionaires, poisoning our communities and threatening a stable climate, the Democratic Party must lead unequivocally with a plan to protect working people and communities in a rapid transition to a renewable energy economy,” said Lauren Maunus, Sunrise Movement legislative manager. “There is no room for negotiation; we simply cannot reduce emissions at the pace science and justice demand while continuing to extract and burn toxic fossil fuels.”

“We strongly urge the Democratic Party to adopt a bold climate plan with a focus on phasing out fossil fuels,” said Mitch Jones, policy director at Food & Water Action. “We cannot seriously begin to fight off our worsening climate chaos without recognizing the central role extracting, processing and burning fossil fuels has played, and continues to play, in forcing climate change.”

The Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund is a national nonprofit organization that advocates for legislation and legislators that will advance a progressive environmental agenda. The Action Fund is the 501(c)(4) affiliate of the Center for Biological Diversity, but these organizations’ names are not interchangeable. This news release is from the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund, not the Center for Biological Diversity.

350 Action mobilizes progressive voters, gets climate champions elected, holds fossil-fueled politicians accountable, supports frontline partners, trains young movement leaders—and much more.

Oil Change U.S. is dedicated to supporting real climate leadership, exposing the true costs of fossil fuels, and building a just, equitable, and renewable energy future in the United States.

Sunrise Movement is building an army of young people to create millions of good jobs and stop climate change in the process through a Green New Deal.

Food & Water Action mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold & uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people’s health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.