Photo of methane flare in San Juan County courtesy of San Juan Citizens Alliance

Leaders Lay Out Plan To Drastically Cut Greenhouse Gases and Grow Clean Energy, Protect the Arctic, and Address Methane Pollution

Thursday, March 10, 2016
Contact: Camilla Feibelman, (505) 715-8388, camilla.feibelman@sierraclub.org
Jonathon Berman, (202) 297-7533, jonathon.berman@sierraclub.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an agreement to address the climate crisis, expand our clean-energy economy, commit both nations to Arctic conservation, and address the need for safeguards to cut dangerous methane from both new and existing sources.
The agreement commits both countries to laying out a strategy to significantly reduce greenhouse gases by 2050, encourages the international expansion of domestic efforts to curb pollution from heavy duty vehicles, airlines, and super polluting refrigerants, establishes a shared and enhanced commitment to Arctic conservation, and recognizes the need to address existing sources of methane pollution from the oil and gas industry.

In response, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter Director Camilla Feibelman released the following statement:

“By 2018, 90% of methane pollution will come from oil and gas wells that existed in 2011, so today’s White House announcement of efforts to curb these sources of harm to our climate and health is truly momentous. New Mexico has lost millions of dollars in revenue, royalties and resources from oil and gas operations where methane is both accidentally and intentionally released. But it’s a problem that can be solved today with existing, local, job creating

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune added:
“By jointly committing to act on the climate crisis, grow our clean energy economy, and protect our shared pristine wild places, President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau are showing what can be achieved when neighbors work together.
“Thanks to this collaboration, both nations will lay out long-term plans this year to dramatically reduce the use of fossil fuels and increase our clean energy commitments, ensuring we’ll stay on the path to meet the goals set in Paris and continue leading the way on international climate action. Furthermore, President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau’s shared commitment to work with indigenous communities while enhancing Arctic conservation efforts and protecting marine life is precisely the bold action needed to ensure the oil and gas industry does not continue to wreak havoc on this delicate ecosystem.
“We are also encouraged that the administration is moving to finalize methane limits on new and modified sources, and has committed to move as quickly as possible to complete safeguards covering existing sources of this pollutant. Prompt action to curb this pollution from all sources is urgent, and taking action to control methane from existing sources is essential so that EPA can fulfill its duty to protect the health of the public and meet our international climate targets.
“Together, these are key steps along the path to keep dirty fuels in the ground and transition to a 100% clean and renewable energy economy, which is what must be achieved if we are to tackle the climate crisis, keep our air clean and free from pollutants like methane, and guarantee the protection of our wild places.”


About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.4 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org or www.riograndesierraclub.org.

President Obama, Prime Minister Trudeau announce climate-strategy agreement
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