Dear President Obama,
I want to begin by thanking you on behalf of my generation and future generations for making it clear in your State of the Union speech that you are truly committed to tackling climate change.
I am too; that's why I risked my personal freedom today in front of the White House, alongside inspirational leaders from across the country.
We are calling on you to say 'no' to the Keystone XL pipeline. We need your leadership to end mountaintop removal coal mining and shut down coal-fired electricity. And President Obama, it is time to recognize what scientists are telling us about oil and gas: natural gas is not clean and fracking is not safe.
You point with pride to the increase in production of natural gas and oil in the US, fueled by technology known as fracking, or hydraulic fracturing. Fracking is why oil and gas companies are on a drilling boom; with fracking, they are accessing deep shale oil formations and fueling dreams of energy independence.
Can this help us tackle climate change? New research says not; emissions from production of oil and gas are enormous, much larger than previously-thought. How enormous is still uncertain; oil and gas production is exempt from the Clean Air Act, among other environmental laws.
What we do know is that oil and gas companies are the second-biggest source of U.S. greenhouse gases, and that continuing on a path of drilling at any cost will have devastating impacts on our planet.
Worse yet, fracking has facilitated such a glut of natural gas in the electricity market that there is a real risk that natural gas, exempt from major environmental laws, will out-compete renewables like wind and solar power.
Mr. President, the fact is that we can't frack our way out of a climate crisis. In order to avert more catastrophic climate impacts and ensure that we leave our kids and grandkids an earth that is as good to them as it has been to us, we need your leadership to match your rhetoric on climate change. We do not need an 'all of the above' energy strategy; instead, we need to close the loopholes in our environmental laws that foster fracking and embrace a fossil-fuel free clean energy future.