WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Hundreds of advocacy groups and community leaders are expected to gather in front of the White House on Tuesday and call on the Obama administration to stop fossil fuel leases on public lands and oceans.
"As the world focuses on climate change in advance of negotiations in Paris this winter, we urge you to demonstrate strong climate leadership by stopping new leasing of our publicly owned fossil fuels," a letter to President Barack Obama signed environmental groups such as Greenpeace, Public Citizen and the Sierra Club read on Monday.
Leasing publically owned fossil fuels, the advocacy groups argue, is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Such policy, they note, has also caused about a quarter of all US energy-related emissions and nearly 4 percent of global emissions.
"Despite this pollution and the looming climate threat, your administration continues to lease publicly owned fossil fuels, endangering the health and welfare of communities and the planet," the letter sent to Obama said.
The advocacy groups also stated that having placing those deposits off limits, stopping new leasing would help align the Obama administration's energy policy with a safer climate future and global carbon budgets.
"With so many of our federal public lands and waters already leased, it is time to stop selling even more of these public fossil fuels to be extracted and burned," the letter stated.
The groups said that so far, the Obama administration has leased 15 million acres of public land and 21 million acres of ocean for fossil fuel industrialization, equivalent to over 67 million acres- which makes up an area "55 times larger than Grand Canyon National Park."
In November, the United States is set to participate in the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris where it is hoping to reach an agreement on climate change alongside other countries.