Preventing Climate Catastrophe and Building a Better Future with Earthworks

Communities First

At a time when so many people around the world are facing so many threats, should we really be putting ourselves at risk in the name of dirty and unnecessary fossil fuel production?

Fossil fuels pose risks at almost all stages. From the moment oil and gas is pulled from the ground to final consumption, these fuels threaten our health, environment, and climate. Technologies like fracking (hydraulic fracturing) poison our water, cause air pollution, and scar our landscapes.

Earthworks has been working at the intersection of dirty energy and climate change for years. In 2014, we started using Optical Gas Imaging cameras to expose the invisible methane venting from oil and gas wells. And for years we’ve been exposing the harm, advocating for better regulation of existing infrastructure, and stopping new fossil fuel development.

And now, we’re working to transition to a clean, just, and equitable energy future by ensuring that the minerals we need for new renewable technologies are responsibly sourced and don’t harm communities or the environment.

Oil and gas producers burn off excess gas when they are unable to transport it to customers. This “flaring” releases significant amounts of methane into the atmosphere.

Case Study: The Permian Basin

To head off climate catastrophe, fossil fuel production and consumption must decline steeply and rapidly. The opposite is happening in the Permian Basin, a vast expanse of land across west Texas and southeastern New Mexico.

The region is experiencing a fracking boom. Oil and gas production has more than quadrupled in the past decade and is projected to grow even more aggressively in the coming decade. Weaning America and the world off oil and gas will be much harder if production keeps growing. Yet the Permian Basin could produce more oil, gas, and gas liquids in the next 30 years than it has in the past century.

Our newest report, Permian Climate Bomb exposes the climate, public health, economic, and social impacts of the Permian fracking boom. By following the flow of Permian hydrocarbons from extraction to export, illustrating the community consequences of the associated infrastructure buildout, and working directly with individuals confronting the industry, we’re exposing just how dangerous the Permian Basin is for our climate.

A Clean, Just, and Equitable Future

Shutting down the fossil fuel industry isn’t the only thing we have to do. Earthworks is working towards transition to a 100% renewable energy economy — one that no longer depends on fossil fuels. Solar, wind, and battery technologies are competitive and growing rapidly, while their costs continue to fall. Yet, as with any transition, we must prepare for, and ensure against, unintended consequences. We must create a renewable energy future that doesn’t cause harm to communities through dirty mining.

Renewable energy and battery production rely on minerals such as cobalt, nickel, lithium, and copper. Demand for these minerals is skyrocketing. Mineral extraction already brings devastating harm to people and the environment. But we know that renewable energy production does NOT have to mean the degradation of communities and special places. By partnering with frontline communities, creating stricter standards for extraction, and promoting responsible sourcing with renewable energy companies, we can minimize the harm from renewable technologies.

Earthworks Senior Field Advocate Sharon Wilson showing Texas Representative Vikki Goodwin invisible emissions from oil and gas infrastructure with an Optical Gas Imaging camera.

Will You Join Us?

We don’t have much time to prevent climate catastrophe. Defeating the political and economic power of the fossil fuel and mining industries will not be easy — but we know it must be done.

Though it may sometimes seem that progress is impossible, remember that the momentum for change keeps building. And it’s so important to keep speaking up for what’s right.

Will you join us in standing in solidarity with those on the frontlines? If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll vote for Earthworks on CREDO’s donation page. I also invite you to watch the new multi-media report at Thank you for your support!

Earthworks West Texas Field Associate Miguel Escoto at a climate protest in El Paso, Texas.