Quantcast

Nearly 70 Groups Write Letter Imploring Obama to Rise Up and Be Strong Climate Leader

Climate

Natural Resources Defense Council

By Susan Casey-Lefkowitz

Today, nearly 70 environmental and health organizations sent a letter to President Obama asking him to step up and be a strong climate leader. The deepening climate crisis is without question. What we do to solve it is the challenge. The letter rightly notes that “our response will leave an historic legacy.”

Climate leadership in this time of crisis means not only moving ahead with clean energy, but also tackling the dirty. As the letter points out, we need to use existing Clean Air Act authority to reduce dangerous carbon emissions, particularly from power plants and we need to reject dirty fuels, beginning with rejection of a permit for the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Tackling climate change is not a luxury—it is a necessity to preserve our economic and physical well-being. Our children’s future is our present responsibility and not something we can keep putting off for the next set of leaders to wrestle with.

America is not alone in falling behind on responding to the science of climate change. At the recent international climate negotiations, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres told the press: "There is a huge lag between the international policy response and what science is telling us."

America has an opportunity to lead internationally, but this is going to take White House leadership at home as well. From the oil industry’s perspective there is a new development boom happening with sources of oil that used to be considered too technically difficult to extract such as Canadian tar sands. These “dirty fuels” also happen to be incredibly destructive of our health, land, air and water. And only a high price for oil allows these fuels to be economically viable. Unfortunately, Canadian tar sands is just the start of the oil industry going after dirtier and more expensive unconventional fuels that can be found around the world. And a continued dependence on such fuels can only make climate change worse at a time we need to be moving off of fossil fuels altogether to cleaner forms of energy.

A growing number of people in the U.S. see and feel the need to fight climate change. For a long time, climate change seemed like something that would happen in the far future and far from American shores. We now know that climate change is happening here and now. Sadly this realization has come only after the last few years brought extreme weather including violent storms, fires, floods, and droughts to our doorsteps and pocketbooks. A growing number of people now realize that climate change is more than seemingly small changes in global temperature, but large changes in rainfall, snow, heat and wind that radically change the weather we are used to dealing with. People are suffering real damage to their health, homes and communities. We only have to look at Hurricane Sandy on the U.S. east coast as the most recent example of the real costs of climate change.

Yet even as public concern rises, political leaders are slow to follow. Climate change is a global problem. There is no way to solve this problem without American participation and leadership. When people look back at this time, our leaders will be held responsible for how quickly we were able to mobilize to fight the clear dangers of climate change. As the melting Arctic shows, climate change is happening on a global scale and faster than predicted. Even since the last U.S. inaugural, we have experienced major consequences due to climate change. America has the opportunity to lead the charge to fight climate change. But that means bold and decisive action now through climate leadership, curbing carbon emissions at home and rejecting dirty fuels worldwide.

Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE page for more related news on this topic.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signs the so-called Affordable Clean Energy rule on June 19, replacing the Obama-era Clean Power Plan that would have reduced coal-fired plant carbon emissions. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency / Twitter

By Elliott Negin

On July 8, President Trump hosted a White House event to unabashedly tout his truly abysmal environmental record. The following day, coincidentally, marked the one-year anniversary of Andrew Wheeler at the helm of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), first as acting administrator and then as administrator after the Senate confirmed him in late February.

Read More Show Less
A timber sale in the Kaibab National Forest. Dyan Bone / Forest Service / Southwestern Region / Kaibab National Forest

By Tara Lohan

If you're a lover of wilderness, wildlife, the American West and the public lands on which they all depend, then journalist Christopher Ketcham's new book is required — if depressing — reading.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
Somalians fight against hunger and lack of water due to drought as Turkish Ambassador to Somalia, Olgan Bekar (not seen) visits the a camp near the Mogadishu's rural side in Somalia on March 25, 2017. Sadak Mohamed / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

World hunger is on the rise for the third consecutive year after decades of decline, a new United Nations (UN) report says. The climate crisis ranks alongside conflict as the top cause of food shortages that force more than 821 million people worldwide to experience chronic hunger. That number includes more than 150 million children whose growth is stunted due to a lack of food.

Read More Show Less
Eduardo Velev cools off in the spray of a fire hydrant during a heatwave on July 1, 2018 in Philadelphia. Jessica Kourkounis / Getty Images

By Adrienne L. Hollis

Because extreme heat is one of the deadliest weather hazards we currently face, Union of Concerned Scientist's Killer Heat Report for the U.S. is the most important document I have read. It is a veritable wake up call for all of us. It is timely, eye-opening, transparent and factual and it deals with the stark reality of our future if we do not make changes quickly (think yesterday). It is important to ensure that we all understand it. Here are 10 terms that really help drive home the messages in the heat report and help us understand the ramifications of inaction.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Senator Graham returns after playing a round of golf with Trump on Oct. 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. Ron Sachs – Pool / Getty Images

Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Senate Republican who has been a close ally of Donald Trump, did not mince words last week on the climate crisis and what he thinks the president needs to do about it.

Read More Show Less
A small Bermuda cedar tree sits atop a rock overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. todaycouldbe / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Marlene Cimons

Kyle Rosenblad was hiking a steep mountain on the island of Maui in the summer of 2015 when he noticed a ruggedly beautiful tree species scattered around the landscape. Curious, and wondering what they were, he took some photographs and showed them to a friend. They were Bermuda cedars, a species native to the island of Bermuda, first planted on Maui in the early 1900s.

Read More Show Less
krisanapong detraphiphat / Moment / Getty Images

By Grace Francese

You may know that many conventional oat cereals contain troubling amounts of the carcinogenic pesticide glyphosate. But another toxic pesticide may be contaminating your kids' breakfast. A new study by the Organic Center shows that almost 60 percent of the non-organic milk sampled contains residues of chlorpyrifos, a pesticide scientists say is unsafe at any concentration.

Read More Show Less