Last Saturday, NRDC joined EarthWe and other groups for a pre-inaugural green event in downtown Los Angeles. The event, called “A Green Term Mr. President," focused on climate change. Thousands gathered throughout the festive day and night to encourage President Obama to make his second term a “green” one.
The vibe was truly inspirational: from stunning artwork to an entrancing earth harp, and from the visceral beat of African drummers and dancers to the thumping performance of Ozomatli, there was much to see, do and hear.
I had the honor of speaking at the event. (See below for my prepared remarks.) And NRDC videos were projected on the big screen, including the Keystone XL pipeline and Pebble Mine videos spearheaded by actor, environmental activist and NRDC Trustee Robert Redford.
There is much for President Obama to do in his second term, and now is the time for action. Click here to sign a petition to the White House urging the president to elevate the issue of climate change, limit carbon pollution and reject the Keystone XL pipeline.
A Green Term, Mr. President
Taryn Kiekow speech
January 19, 2013
Extreme weather pounded the nation last year. From Superstorm Sandy to the drought that gripped more than half the country, people died, homes and businesses were destroyed, and city, state, and federal budgets were stretched beyond limits.
Experts confirm that climate change is contributing to the frequency and power of these extreme weather events.
And yet some politicians continue to deny the existence of global warming and block efforts to address it.
Climate change is happening. And it’s happening in our backyards.
We no longer have the luxury of time. We must act now to prevent more Americans from feeling the pain of lost jobs, destroyed homes, and shuttered businesses. We must act now to secure a future for the planet and our children.
That’s why NRDC and other groups are calling on President Obama to use his second term to take bold and decisive action on climate change.
We sent the President a letter outlining the top three things he can do to step up and be a strong climate leader. Right now. Without passing new laws. And without waiting for a divided Congress.
First, we urge President Obama to elevate the issue of climate change. Leadership does matter. The president has to rally public support and build political will. He has to generate support for the bold steps that must be taken to address climate change -- and to make sure those steps are not undone by Congress.
Second, we urge President Obama to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants. Power plants are our nation’s largest source of global warming pollution. The Obama administration has the authority and responsibility under the Clean Air Act to reduce carbon emissions.
Third, we urge President Obama to reject plans to build the Keystone XL pipeline which would carry tar sands oil from Canada. Producing tar sands oil generates three times as much greenhouse gas emissions as producing conventional crude oil—and that’s before we burn it in our cars and trucks. By saying no to Keystone, the President would send a strong message that we are not going to rely on dirty fuels that threaten our health and communities.
With these three steps, President Obama can put America on a path toward climate stability. He can leave a historic legacy.
President Obama won the 2008 election with a promise of change. He was reelected in 2012 with the campaign slogan “forward.”
His second inauguration will fall on the day we honor the late, great Martin Luther King, Jr., who said:
“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there "is" such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.”
Let us remember these timeless words.
And let us act positively and vigorously today. You can do your part by signing the petition and sending a message to the president. And like the president, you can elevate the issue of climate change. Talk to your friends and family about global warming. Educate yourself and read more at www.nrdc.org.
Now is the time to act, because climate change isn’t waiting.