Actors Alec Baldwin and Morgan Freeman are among the stars warning President Obama that his legacy will rest on what he does to stop climate change.
In an advertisement that ran Monday in Beltway publications, the stars call on Obama to exercise “the strongest resolve in fighting the climate crisis on every front.”
“Your legacy as 44th President of the United States rests firmly on your leadership on climate disruption. Only the president has the power to lead an effort on the scale and with the urgency we need to phase out fossil fuels and lead America, and the world, in a clean energy revolution,” the advertisement said.
The advertisement is part of the public awareness campaign for a Sunday rally on climate change in Washington, D.C., that will, among other items, press Obama to kill the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline. Green groups Sierra Club and 350.org are spearheading the demonstration.
Tom Steyer, an Obama campaign bundler who has been mentioned as a possible replacement for outgoing Energy Secretary Steven Chu, also signed the advertisement. Steyer founded the Farallon Capital Management investment firm, and is a founding board member of The Center for the Next Generation, a nonpartisan group that focuses on sustainable energy, children and families.
While environmentalists want Obama to outline a specific climate policy plan, his inaugural speech left activists hopeful that the president is ready to seriously confront the issue.
The advertisement highlights Obama's nod to climate issues and leads with an excerpt from his inaugural address in which Obama said failing to mitigate climate change “would betray our children and future generations.”
Environmental groups have centered much of their attention on the executive branch, noting that climate legislation is probably a non-starter in Congress.
Many expect Obama to forge ahead on the regulatory front, such as by imposing new standards for carbon emissions from existing power plants.
Climate activists have praised Obama’s pledges to tackle climate issues, and are pushing to president to honor those words with deeds — starting with axing Keystone, the Canada-to-Texas pipeline.
The White House has the final say on Keystone’s fate, as it crosses national boundaries.
A majority of lawmakers in both the House and the Senate are trying to sway Obama to approve the project, saying it would bring thousands of jobs and would lessen dependence on foreign oil.
Some unions also covet the project, saying it could bring employment to their members. Business and oil industry groups also want a green light for Keystone, citing the pipeline's economic and jobs potential.
And Canadian officials are pressing the State Department for approval, as Keystone would ramp up production for its lucrative oil sands industry.
Secretary of State John Kerry, appearing with Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, said Friday that he wants a decision on Keystone in the "near term." State Department officials had previously said its review of Keystone won't be ready until March 31, at the earliest.