On Sunday, February 17, more than 35,000 people gathered at the Washington Mall and marched to the President’s doorstep to support immediate action to contain climate change. The diverse crowd included people from more than 30 states across the country where lands, homes and health are threatened by the climate crisis. Joining them were students, scientists, indigenous community leaders and activists, making it the largest climate rally in U.S. history.
“For 25 years our government has basically ignored the climate crisis: now people in large numbers are finally demanding they get to work. We shouldn’t have to be here–science should have decided our course long ago. But it takes a movement to stand up to all that money,” - Bill McKibben, 350.org
Rally participants called on President Obama to take immediate and substantive action to move the United States forward on climate change. This includes rejecting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and placing limits on dangerous carbon pollution from the nation’s dirtiest power plants. In particular, attendees want to see President Obama make good on his declaration from the State of the Union address where he said “For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. It is widely agreed that much of President Obama’s legacy will rest squarely on his response, resolve, and leadership in fighting the climate crisis.
“Twenty years from now on President’s Day, people will want to know what the president did in the face of rising sea levels, record droughts and furious storms brought on by climate disruption. President Obama holds in his hand a pen and the power to deliver on his promise of hope for our children. Today, we are asking him to use that pen to to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, and ensure that this dirty, dangerous, export pipeline will never be built.” – Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club
“The harm being done to people in the tar sands region can no longer be Canada’s dirty secret”
The number one priority for the 35,000 attendees at the rally (and the thousands at solidarity rallies across the country) is for President Obama to use his executive power and deny the construction permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. His actions previously delayed the pipeline and forced Transcanada to reroute their proposed path to avoid the Ogallalla aquifer. One more executive action could kill the pipeline for good.
In addition, the president has the authority and responsibility under the Clean Air Act to cut the amount of dangerous carbon pollution emitted from dirty power plants. These power plants are the biggest contributors to climate disruption, but are currently allowed to pollute without limits.
“This President has the power to achieve the single biggest carbon reduction ever, by holding our biggest carbon polluters – dirty power plants – accountable for what they dump into the air. Cleaning up this pollution and using more clean energy will provide jobs to thousands of Americans, save families real money when it comes to electricity bills and, most important, will make a real difference in our health and the health of our children.” – Van Jones, President of Rebuild the Dream
Sunday’s historic rally to call for climate leadership reflects Americans’ recognition of the threats of climate change and their support for meaningful action now. Study after study has shown strong public support for climate solutions, including polling conducted by Public Policy Polling immediately after the President’s State of the Union address. That PPP poll found that 65 percent of Americans think that climate change is a serious problem and a substantial majority of Americans support President Obama using his authority to reduce its main cause, dangerous carbon pollution.
Congratulations to all our partners whose hard word and resolve made this rally a reality. More information at forwardonclimate.org.
Push President Obama Forward on Climate
Several of our partners are running petitions encouraging President Obama to take various actions to move the United States climate policy. Here are a few you can help support:
- 350.org & the Sierra Club USA: ‘President Obama: Reject the Keystone XL’
- Greenpeace International: ‘Tell Obama to reject Shell’s Arctic Drilling Permit’
- NRDC: ‘Tell Obama to strengthen EPA air pollution regulations’
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