Declaration of Independence from Fossil Fuels

July 4, 2023
Putting Out the Planetary Fire

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary to act on global warming and dissolve our dependence on fossil fuels, a decent respect to the opinions of others requires that we should declare the causes which impel us to the dissolution.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that the burning of fossil fuels is a leading contributor to climate change. As a result of our addiction to fossil fuels, extreme weather, melting ice caps and glaciers, global sea level rise, diminishing food and water supplies, forced migration, and damage to public health threaten the world’s populations.

A new climate organizing handbook by the Green Education and Legal Fund – Putting Out the Planetary Fire (view here, order a printed copy here) lays out the existential threat to human life and civilization posed by climate change while providing the tools to win the needed changes. Please join the March to End Fossil Fuels in NYC on Sunday, Sept. 17 at the UN Climate Ambitions Summit.

As our world burns, our political leaders continue to sacrifice the common good to protect the wealth of the fossil fuel industry and the greed of the 1%. The head of the UN has repeatedly declared a Code Red for the Planet, yet our politicians fail to take the radical but life affirming actions needed to stem the climate emergency even as scientists report that within a few years – no more than five – we will pass the 1.5 degree C target cap for global warming.

The Green Party first drafted in 2010 a call in the U.S. for an ecosocialist Green New Deal (European Greens issued such a call in 2008). An immediate halt to the development of more fossil fuels and a rapid phaseout of existing ones. A ten-year transition to 100% clean, renewable energy, with zero emission. An Economic Bill of Rights with universal single pay health care; a guaranteed living wage and job for all; affordable housing; and free public education including college (abolition of student debt). A Just Transition that helps impacted workers and vulnerable communities. Environmental justice funding at home and abroad. A public jobs initiative to provide full employment through a sustainable, publicly controlled economy.

Prudence dictates that institutions long established should not be changed for light and transient causes. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations evinces a design to reduce the People to poverty, sickness, insecurity, and death, it is their right, their duty, to throw off such a system and provide new guards for their common security. The history of the present power structure is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of a tyranny of the Few over the Many. Let these facts be submitted:

  • Big Oil, Gas and Coal corporations have known for decades that their extractive industry would doom our common future with extreme weather, melting ice caps and glaciers, global sea level rise, ocean acidification, diminishing food and water supplies, forced migration, damaged physical and mental health, and a progressive unraveling of the very bonds of Civilization.
  • They have continued to seek untrammeled Profit over the over the health and welfare of the People, endeavoring in every manner to manufacture doubt and mislead the People about the consequences of their activities, using their vast Wealth to skew the Body Politic into confusion, apathy, distraction, and even self-destructive support of their very Oppressors.
  • And they have known that those who will suffer first and most from these ravages will be those who are most innocent of the damage: the poor, the flora and fauna of our earth, and our future generations.

In every stage of these Oppressions we have petitioned for Redress, stating the facts well studied by our best minds and lately observed all over our Earth. Our repeated Petitions have, unfortunately, been answered by repeated injury and a turning away from these Truths so inconvenient to our Oppressors.

It is against such Corporate and Governmental abuses that we, the People, join forces in common purpose to end the dirty-energy era and bring about a just transition to a future based on clean energy and economic opportunity for all rather than the few. There is not a moment more to lose.

We urge Governments of all States to say no to fossil fuel infrastructure, to deny permits, certifications, and other regulatory approvals for further extraction, transport, processing, and combustion of these dirty fuels. Special care must be given to protect the most vulnerable who have already suffered the most from fossil fuel pollution, starting with low-income and communities of color.

Our governments must lead on energy by 1) accelerating investment in renewable energy like offshore wind, community solar, geothermal, regenerative agriculture, mass transit, electric vehicles, and energy efficiency measures; 2) holding corporate polluters responsible for their actions, in the courts and through financial penalties (e.g., a carbon tax); and 3) ending investments in fossil fuel companies.

Winning our energy independence requires winning democracy, breaking free from the political and economic domination of fossil fuels companies including their corporate campaign funding.

We do hereby declare our independence from fossil fuels.