Over 200 groups call on Biden to use the Defense Production Act to help Ukraine by accelerating the clean energy transition

Wednesday March 09, 2022

The Honorable Joseph R. Biden
President of the United States 
The White House 
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. 
Washington, DC 20500 

Dear President Biden,

We stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and we want to thank you for halting oil imports from Russia. We urge you to continue to resist short-sighted policies such as scaling up domestic fossil fuel production or expanding oil and gas infrastructure or financing, which would only deepen our dependence on fuels that lead to global instability and drive further devastating climate impacts. 

Instead, we are calling on you to invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) to ramp up the deployment of renewable energy1 to transition the world off fossil fuels.

Already the impacts of the humanitarian tragedy in Ukraine are being felt not just in Europe where electricity, heating, and food costs are set to soar, but here in the U.S. and around the world as the price of oil and gas skyrockets. 

Putin’s ability to wreak such destruction on Ukraine is predicated on global dependence on fossil fuels. Oil and gas constitute forty percent of Russia’s national revenue, meaning Russian exports of oil and gas are literally funding this invasion. What’s more, global reliance on Russian oil and gas slowed our collective will to respond over fear of higher energy costs the world over.

At the same time, days after the invasion of Ukraine, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its most dire report in 30 years, calling for an end to the fossil fuel era, and documenting what United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres called the “atlas of human suffering” due to climate change.

You can deploy your executive powers to weaken the geopolitical power of fossil fuels, address the climate emergency, and prevent further mass suffering. 

We urge you to utilize the Defense Production Act to ramp up the deployment of renewable energy to transition the world off fossil fuels and generate millions of good quality, union jobs. The DPA – which you have already used to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and respond to wildfires – provides you with the historic opportunity to produce alternatives to fossil fuels, fight the climate emergency, combat Putin’s stranglehold on the world’s energy economy, and support the transition to a renewable and just economy. While we call for the use of the DPA, we implore that you use this mechanism for peaceful means, not increased militarization of the conflict.

We urge you to invoke your DPA powersto: 

  • Rapidly scale up production, manufacturing, and deployment of renewable energy technologies, heat pumps, storage, and weatherization technologies here and abroad. These green technologies can be exported to Ukraine, the rest of Europe, and the Global South to help wean them off of their dependence on Russian fossil fuels. And they should be simultaneously deployed across the United States to jumpstart the renewable energy revolution and prioritize construction in climate-vulnerable communities. With one fell swoop, you would reduce energy costs and move the world away from fossil fuel markets that are all too easily manipulated by bad actors.  
  • Create millions of long-term, high-paying domestic jobs and position the U.S. to be a global leader in showcasing the economic benefits of the just and renewable energy transition. Investments by the Federal government can create high-quality, family-supporting jobs; and build worker power by including high-road labor standards. 
  • Accelerate the transition to zero-emission public transportation, alternatives to car based transportation and related infrastructure domestically, and deploy it nationwide, prioritizing communities who are most vulnerable to the climate emergency.  These steps will reduce the burden of higher gas prices at the pump for U.S. residents.

Critically, all of the above must center and prioritize low-wealth communities and communities of color that have disproportionately suffered the negative externalities associated with our fossil fuel economy. 

A renewable energy future is a peaceful and ultimately more prosperous one. Using the DPA and your other executive powers in this manner won’t just help Ukraine, the rest of Europe, and the U.S. in the short term. It will preempt future crises sparked by oligarchs, strongmen, and the climate emergency, and position the U.S. to be a global leader in the just and renewable energy transition that will leave no worker behind.

Sincerely, 

Center for Biological Diversity

Climate + Community Project

Common Defense

Global Witness

Indigenous Environmental Network

Oil Change International

Stand.earth

Sunrise Movement

Women's Earth & Climate Action Network (WECAN)

198 Methods

350 Eugene

350 Hawaii

350 Humboldt

350 Lake Norman

350 Montgomery County

350 New Hampshire Action

350 NJ-Rockland

350 Seattle

350 Triangle 

350 Ventura County Climate Hub

350.org

Accelerate Neighborhood Climate Action

Alaska Community Action on Toxics

Alexandria 350.org

Am Kolel 

American Friends Service Committee

Animals Are Sentient Beings Inc

Atmos Financial PBC

Avaaz

Aytzim: Ecological Judaism

Bronx Climate Justice North

Brooklyn Story Lab

Businesses for a Livable Climate

Cahaba Riverkeeper

Call to Action Colorado

CAN South Asia

Capitol Heights Presbyterian

CatholicNetwork US

Cedar Lane Environmental Justice Ministry 

Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights

Center for International Environmental Law

Center for the Blue Economy

Citizens for a Healthy Community

Clean Energy Action

Climate Action for Lifelong Learners

Climate Action Rhode Island – 350

Climate Hawks Vote

Climate Psychiatry Alliance

Climate Strike Davis

CO Businesses for a Livable Climate

CO Dem. Party - Energy & Environment Inititiatve

Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life

Colorado Businesses for a Livable Climate

Colorado Democratic Party - Energy and Environmental Initiative

Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism

Common Defense

Community for Sustainable Energy

Conejo Climate Coalition

Connecticut Citizen Action Group (CCAG)

Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action

Del-Md Synod ELCA Creation Care Ministry Team

Divest RVA

Dogwood Alliance

Earth Action, Inc.

Earth Day Initiative

Earth Guardians Bay Area Crew

EarthRights International 

Earthworks

Eco Action Families

EcoEquity

EcoFlight

Education, Economics, Education, Climate and Health Organization (EEECHO)

EKOenergy ecolabel

Elders Climate Action

Elected Officials to Protect America

Electrify Now

ELEPHANATICS

Empower our Future

Empower our Future -Colorado

Environment & Enterprise Strategies

Environmental Investigation Agency

Environmental Justice Ministry Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church 

Estes Valley Clean Energy Coalition

Ethical Markets Media Certified B. corporation

Extinction Rebellion San Francisco Bay Area

Extinction Rebellion Youth US

Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition 

First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque

Florida For Good

Fossil Free California

Frack Free Sussex

FreshWater Accountability Project 

Fridays for Future U.S.

Friends of the Narrows Of Hans Creek

Future Coalition

Green 13

Green Buildings Now

Green House Collaboration Center

Green Workers Alliance

Greenbelt Climate Action Network

GreenFaith

Greenpeace USA

Greenvest

Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart

Harrington Investments, Inc.

Heartwood

Hip Hop Caucus

Honor the Earth

Howling For Wolves

Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship's Climate Action Campaign

I-70 Citizens Advisory Group

Idle No More SF Bay

In the Shadow of the Wolf 

Indivisible

Indivisible Ambassadors

Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)

Jewish Climate Action Network, MA

Kentucky Interfaith Power and Light

Legacy Vacation Resorts

Littleton Business Alliance

Locust Point Community Garden

Louisiana Bucket Brigade

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns 

Mayfair Park Neighborhood Association Board

Mental Health & Inclusion Ministries

Methane Action

Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action

Mighty Earth

Montbello Neighborhood Improvement Association

Mothers Out Front Colorado

Mountain Media Productions

Music Declares Emergency

New Energy Economy

New Mexico Climate Justice

New Mexico Environmental Law Center

NJ State Industrial Union Council

North American Climate, Conservation and Environment (NACCE)

North Bronx Racial Justice

North Range Concerned Citizens

Novasutras

Occupy Bergen County

Oceanic Preservation Society

Oil and Gas Action Network

Organized Uplifting Resources & Strategies

Our Climate

Our Revolution

PA- Jewish Earth Alliance

Palms To Pines Democratic Network

Pasifika Uprising

Pax Christi USA

Peace, Justice, Sustainability NOW!

Peoples Alliance for Earth Action Now

Peoples Climate Movement - NY

Physicians for Social Responsibility Arizona

Physicians for Social Responsibility Pennsylvania

Physicians for Social Responsibility/Sacramento

Plastic Pollution Coalition

Preserve Giles County

Private Equity Stakeholder Project

Rainforest Action Network

RapidShift Network

Retake our Democracy

Revolving Door Project

Salt Palm Development

San Francisco Bay Physicians for Social Responsibility

San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council

SanDiego350

Santa Fe Forest Coalition

Saphron Initiative

Save EPA

Sierra Club

Small Business Alliance

Social Eco Education 

Solar Wind Works

Southern Oregon Climate Action Now

Southwest Organization for Sustainability

Spirit of the Sun

St. Stephen's United Methodist Church of Marble Hill

Sunflower Alliance

System Change Not Climate Change

Terra Advocati

Texas Campaign for the Environment

The Climate Mobilization

The Green House Connection Center

The Neshama Project

The Shalom Center

The United Methodist Church - General Board of Church and Society 

The Vessel Project of Louisiana

Third Act

Turtle Haven Sanctuary

U.S. High Speed Rail Association

Unite North Metro Denver

United Church of Christ Environmental Justice Ministry

United For Clean Energy

US High Speed Rail Association

UUFHCT

Virginia Interfaith Power & Light 

Waldviertler EnergieStammtisch

Wall of Women

Wall of Women Colorado

Wasatch Clean Air Coalition

Waterway Advocates

West Michigan Environmental Action Council

Western Environmental Law Center

Western Slope Businesses for a Livable Climate

Wholly Present

Wild Heritage

WildEarth Guardians

Wilwerding Consulting

Win Without War

Womxn from the Mountain

Worcester County NAACP chapter #7029

Working for Racial Equity

Zero Hour

 

 


[1] Renewable technologies include clean and renewable technologies including solar, wind, geothermal, and storage. It does not include false solutions of biomass, nuclear, and gas with or without carbon capture and sequestration, which are significant sources of pollution and carry a host of health and safety risks.

[2] https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/energy-justice/pdfs/Climate-Emergency-Powers-Report.pdf