Sally Jewell: 'Keep it in the ground' protests 'naive'

May 6, 2016

President Barack Obama's Interior secretary had some sharp words for the "keep it in the ground" movement Thursday.

Environmental groups have increasingly urged the federal government to stop issuing new leases for coal, oil and gas extraction on public lands. They've argued that if the world doesn't keep the vast majority of its fossil fuels in the ground, global warming will almost certainly exceed 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times, the target adopted in Paris last year by 195 nations, including the United States.

Speaking with a Desert Sun reporter after an event at the Whitewater Preserve on Thursday, Jewell said the United States is "waking up as a nation to the impact of climate change, and the impact of carbon on our environment." Eventually, "we will transition ourselves from a fossil fuel-dependent economy to an economy where we are not as dependent," she said.

But for now, the nation depends on coal, oil and gas, Jewell said. In California, she noted, "There are many, many miles driven every day. We don’t yet have solar-powered cars."

"It's going to take a very long time before we can wean ourselves from fossil fuels, so I think that to keep it in the ground is naïve, to say we could shift to 100 percent renewables is naïve," Jewell said. "We really have to have a blend over time, and a transition over time, that recognizes the real complexity of what we're dealing with."

Read entire article at The Desert Sun.


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