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February 08, 2013

Obama's Legacy, the Climate Rally, and What It Means for Coal

Mary Anne and Hazel presserMy daughter Hazel is no stranger to rallies and public hearings. I've taken her to all sorts of events, because it's her future that’s at stake...and sometimes because no babysitters are available. But one event I am very excited to bring her to is the upcoming Forward on Climate rally in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, February 17.

The chance to rally with tens of thousands of other Americans of all ages -- all who want serious action on climate disruption from President Obama -- well, that's something that no one should miss, no matter how young or old you are. It’s shaping up to be the largest climate rally in US history, and Hazel and I hope to see you there.

Mary-Anne-Hitt-Hazel1I frequently mention Hazel in my columns because she's the main inspiration for the work I do to protect this planet for her, and for future generations. I know that someday she will ask me what I did to help stop climate change, and I want to be able to answer her, with honesty and pride, about the amazing work the Sierra Club and so many others have done.

One example of that amazing and important work is our Obama Climate and Clean Energy Legacy campaign, which features 100 days of action from coast to coast, including the Feb. 17 climate rally. Last month I helped unveil the campaign, which lays out a clear roadmap for President Obama to take action on climate disruption and clean energy.

The Obama Climate and Clean Energy Legacy brings together the Sierra Club's 2.1 million members and supporters to push the Obama administration to tackle the most serious environmental crisis of our age. It outlines a host of actions the Obama administration can take -- without waiting for Congress -- that all add up to a strong climate and clean energy legacy for the President.

Many of the actions Obama can take are specifically related to coal and clean energy. They include:
  • Hold fossil fuel corporations accountable for their pollution: Adopt and enforce coal pollution protections for carbon, soot, smog, sulfur, water toxics and coal ash, and set water pollution standards that will end mountaintop removal mining.
  • Double down on clean energy: Open innovative financing and investment avenues for energy efficiency and renewable energy. Facilitate environmentally responsible leasing and deployment of clean energy generation and technologies on public lands and waters and within federal agencies.
  • Reject proposals to import dirty fuels and stop the rush of fossil fuel exports: Halt expansion of fossil fuel exports, such as new coal export terminals. Increase U.S.-backed international finance of renewable energy and energy efficiency, and phase out fossil fuel lending.
  • Protect America's lands, air, water and wildlife from fossil fuel development: Stop the rush to expand coal mining on our public lands.

The next four years will be pivotal in the fight to address climate disruption and move America toward clean energy. We urge President Obama to take these actions on coal and clean energy to help stop climate disruption, and to leave a legacy of clean air and water, and a healthy planet, for Hazel and all children. Over the next 100 days and the next four years, the Sierra Club will be working hard to push and support the President in taking these actions to ensure a safe and prosperous future for our families.

I hope you will join me, Hazel, and thousands of others in Washington on February 17 to call for bold climate action -- and leadership -- from President Obama.

-- Mary Anne Hitt, Beyond Coal Campaign Director.

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