The White House is coming under increasing pressure from climate change activists who want to see President Obama hold true to his pledge to confront the issue during a second term.
On Thursday, a broad coalition of lawmakers, leaders from the world of business and religion, high-ranking retired military officers and others called on the president to convene a “climate summit” this year to discuss specific measures to fight global warming.
“Our president can be the leader of a powerful movement to reduce the threats from climate change. We stand ready in Sacramento to participate in a national climate change summit,” said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, joining other mayors such as Salt Lake City’s Ralph Becker, Kitty Piercy of Eugene, Oregon, Mark Kleinschmidt of Chapel, N.C. in support of the summit idea.
The group has launched climatesummit2013.org, and lists on the site specific topics to be discussed at the gathering. They include the current and future impacts of climate change; legislative solutions to climate change; and methods to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
By floating the idea, the environmental movement is putting even more pressure on Mr. Obama to follow through on his State of the Union promise to take on climate change over the next four years. The administration argues that it made strides during its first term by instituting such measures as an effective ban on coal-fired power plants and increased fuel efficiency standards for automobiles.
But the green movement expects much more.
“Beating climate change means uniting individuals and institutions from the top and bottom, left and right, military and civil societies. We’ve done it before, and the president’s Climate Summit, linked to regional meetings held by cities, businesses, religious and other organizations, will allow us to work together again to protect ourselves from the current and future impacts of climate change,” said retired Army Brigadier Gen. Steven M. Anderson, another backer of the summit proposal.
Thursday’s plea is the latest in a series of high-profile attempts to pressure the White House to action. On Sunday, thousands rallied on the National Mall in opposition to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, seen by the environmental community as an unacceptable project that would accelerate global warming.
The administration has said it will take executive action on climate change if Congress won’t cooperate, but it’s unclear what measures are under consideration.
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Ben Wolfgang is a national reporter for The Washington Times. Before coming to the Times, he spent four years as a political reporter in Pennsylvania. His focus is on education and science policy. Ben lives in southeast D.C. and has played guitar in several bands while still in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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