Senate Leaders & Students Get Busy on Climate Change

As Secretary of State John Kerry spoke fiercely about the need for the world to address climate change in Indonesia over the weekend, US Senators made their own plans to turn the tide toward aggressive action.

The first major action by the Climate Action Task Force (formerly the Climate Caucus), formed by Senators Whitehouse (D-RI) and Boxer (D-CA) last month, will be an all-night talkathon on climate change, with the goal being to "break the pattern of the Senate" of avoiding the subject. It is set for March 10, but that could change, he said on a call with President Obama’s Organizing for Action activist group. They are also planning a rally at the Capitol in May.

26 Senators recently met with Majority Leader Harry Reid to talk about taking serious action, Whitehouse says, and Congress could pass climate legislation in 2015 or 2016. "I think you’re going to see the Senate as a very, very boisterous place on climate," he says. Whitehouse has been giving a weekly speech on climate change since April 2012.

Most of the "climate deniers" in Congress don’t really deny the science, it’s that they are really scared of polluter money," says Whitehouse, as he urged people on the phone to force them to take a stand, one way or the other. 

Students Step Up 

Meanwhile, students are preparing for the "largest single-day act of civil disobedience at the White House in American history" in a rally that sends President Obama "a clear signal" that he must reject the Keystone XL pipeline.

Tar Sands protest

Students from more than 50 colleges are organizing "XL Dissent" on Sunday, March 2, where they will march from Georgetown University to the White House. "When we get there we will have a huge rally featuring speakers from communities that are at the frontlines of the fight against tar sands oil."

The rally takes place after a student conference on divesting from fossil fuel investments. All participants will be required to get training on nonviolent direct action.

"Obama was the first President I voted for, and I want real climate action and a rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline," says Nick Stracco, a senior at Tulane University. "The people that voted him into office have made it absolutely clear what we want, and that’s to reject Keystone XL."

"The fight to stop KXL will be one of the defining battles of our generation. A victory here will mark the close of the old carbon era, and the start of the new energy revolution – our revolution. America’s youth now have the chance to take up the torch, and light a new fire," says Conor Kennedy, the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy.

Go Students and Valiant Senators!!

Here is the XL Dissent website:

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