Make Arctic and Atlantic Drilling History

No other president has sounded the clarion call to action on climate change more loudly than President Obama. No one has made clearer that we must use every possible tool to make the transition to a clean energy economy—the only way to avoid the worst impacts of climate disruption and deliver a more secure, healthier, and livable planet for our children.

In his own words:

If we’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.

Obama, 2015

The President has a unique opportunity to put these words into practice by permanently withdrawing the U.S. Arctic and Atlantic coasts from future oil and gas leasing—forever. These citizen-owned waters are largely unspoiled by the oil industry and should be preserved, not opened to drilling for frontier oil we can’t afford—and won’t need to burn—in any climate-safe future.

That’s why NRDC as launched an ad campaign calling on the President to do just that.

Here are the top five reasons why he should:

Climate Science

Proven fossil fuel supplies already far exceed what the science says we can afford to burn. To benefit the climate, Arctic and Atlantic’s unproven reserves must be left unburned—forever. It is not enough to leave these fossil fuels undeveloped for only five years.

Clean, Not Dirty Energy Must Fuel the Future

Oil production in the Arctic and Atlantic—if feasible at all—would take decades to reach the pump, arriving after the transition to cleaner fuels must have already taken place.

Where There’s Drilling, There’s Spilling

A major spill in either the Arctic or Atlantic would be devastating, putting the wildlife, communities, and established industries that depend on healthy oceans at grave risk. 

Global Leadership

Taking the Arctic and Atlantic off the table for good would demonstrate the importance of no longer dedicating national resources to future fossil fuel development.  In contrast, if world governments continue to flood markets with fossil fuels it will encourage investment in polluting energy instead of clean energy solutions.

Power of the Pen

The President has authority under longstanding law to withdraw these publicly owned seas from drilling. He can help protect the climate and ensure the fate of our spectacular, undeveloped Arctic and Atlantic oceans is not left to an uncertain future.

For more information, see this factsheet, joined by our partner organizations. To add your name to millions calling for an end to new offshore drilling, click here.

About the Authors

Franz Matzner

Director of Federal Affairs, Center for Policy Advocacy

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