Normally we don’t print news releases from environmental groups or anybody else verbatim. But this one from Friends of the Earth — not your average DC Beltway green group — is the best take we’ve seen so far on how the newly re-elected president of the world’s biggest polluter can stop obstructing and start leading action on the world’s biggest challenge. — Ed.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Obama has been re-elected to his second term as president. Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica had the following statement in response:
“Congratulations to President Obama on his re-election and thanks for his acknowledgement in his acceptance speech of the ‘destructive power of a warming planet.’ It is ironic that the outcome of a campaign so marked by the climate silence of both candidates would be definitively influenced by Superstorm Sandy, but history will show that the winds of Hurricane Sandy blew President Obama back into office.
“The devastation caused by this superstorm paints a stark picture of the type of destruction we can now expect unless the president enacts an ambitious and visionary policy to reduce climate pollution. The public was largely impressed by the president’s response to the storm and in re-electing him to office, they have given him the great responsibility to implement a climate policy that will seek to stop future Sandy’s.
“President Obama has won his new term while the recovery of Sandy is still in process. For the families who have seen their homes washed away and the businesses that must rebuild from scratch, President Obama must make climate change the top priority for his new administration.
“Swift and strong climate action is necessary to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change and adapt to the new reality of rising seas and melting ice, superstorms and crippling drought. President Obama should use his mandate to:
- Repudiate the “all of the above” energy strategy and host a high-level climate change summit of national leaders including business leaders, cabinet officials, and local politicians. The goal of the summit is to agree on a national plan for short-term and long-term courses of action to deal with greenhouse gas emissions from every sector of the economy and to deal with the impacts of climate change.
- Reduce emissions from the electricity sector by implementing robust regulations on existing power plants using current Environmental Projection Agency authority under the Clean Air Act, by making sure that new regulations preclude the construction of any new coal plants in this country, and by putting a price on carbon.
- Reject the Keystone XL pipeline and other infrastructure projects that would bring tar sands oil and other dirty fuels such as liquid fuel to market through the United States and to move us away from our dependence on dirty oil.
“If President Obama seizes this moment and leads the way, Friends of the Earth’s members and activists will be there to support and amplify his actions.”
Friends of the Earth fights to create a more healthy and just world. Our current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, keeping toxic and risky technologies out of the food we eat and products we use, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.