Sierra Club Boss: It’s Now or Never on Climate, Mr. President

In an op-ed, Michael Brune argues that time is running out for Barack Obama to take meaningful action on climate change.

Which way will Obama go on climate change? (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Feb 1, 2013· 1 MIN READ
Executive Director of the Sierra Club, America's oldest, biggest, and most influential grassroots environmental organization.

In his first term, President Obama did more than any other president to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and scale up clean energy. But his administration is far from realizing its potential for strong action. In fact, the president has considerable authority that he has not yet fully used to help our country build a clean energy economy.

That's why the Sierra Club has launched its Obama Climate and Clean Energy Legacy Campaign, which will feature 100 days of action leading up to Earth Day. The biggest of these actions, the Forward on Climate Rally, will happen this Presidents Day Weekend on February 17, in Washington, D.C. It will be the largest climate rally in American history, and the goal is to demand that the president reject the Keystone XL pipeline and tackle climate disruption with all the authority, determination, and ambition he can muster.

You can help: Join us at the rally or pitch in online or in your own community.

Why is it so important to get this message to the president? Because right now he can do more to address climate disruption than anyone else.

Here are five ways the president can lay the foundation today for a lasting legacy of climate action and clean energy:

1) Hold fossil fuel polluters accountable for the costs of their pollution—to our health, to our economy, and to our climate.

2) Reject proposals to import dirty fuels like tar sands, and also stop the rush of fossil fuel exports, including liquefied natural gas export facilities and new coal export terminals.

3) Double down on clean energy, with innovative financing and investment avenues for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

4) Protect communities from future climate disasters and plan a robust and just response for those that do happen.

5) Protect our lands, water, and wildlife from the impacts of fossil fuel development and climate disruption.

In the first months of his second term, President Obama will make many decisions that affect the climate future of this nation and the rest of the planet. We cannot afford to let him make the wrong ones.