WH 'absolutely' behind climate talkathon

WH 'absolutely' behind climate talkathon

The White House said Monday it "absolutely" supported plans by Senate Democrats to hold an all-night "talkathon" intended to highlight the impacts of climate change.

"We commend those who are participating because it's a very important subject that the president, as you know, is concerned about and has a climate action plan dedicated to addressing," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters.

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The White House spokesman said it was important to "focus attention on the challenges posed by climate change and the impacts that climate change is having on our environment and on our ability to respond to emergencies."

Monday night’s event, to be held by the Senate Climate Action Task Force, is expected to draw 28 Senate Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidBill O'Reilly: Politics helped kill Kate Steinle, Zarate just pulled the trigger Tax reform is nightmare Déjà vu for Puerto Rico Ex-Obama and Reid staffers: McConnell would pretend to be busy to avoid meeting with Obama MORE (Nev.) and Sens. Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats turn on Al Franken Minnesota's largest newspaper calls on Franken to resign Democratic senator predicts Franken will resign Thursday MORE (Ill.), Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerBarbara Boxer recounts harassment on Capitol Hill: ‘The entire audience started laughing’ 100 years of the Blue Slip courtesy Four more lawmakers say they’ve been sexually harassed by colleagues in Congress MORE (Calif.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseOvernight Regulation: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court battle | Watchdog to investigate EPA chief's meeting with industry group | Ex-Volkswagen exec gets 7 years for emissions cheating Overnight Energy: Watchdog probes Pruitt speech to mining group | EPA chief promises to let climate scientists present their work | Volkswagen manager gets 7 years for emissions cheating EPA head pledges to protect climate scientists MORE (R.I.).

The senators aren't highlighting a piece of legislation and the event will not function as a filibuster to prevent a bill from moving forward, but lawmakers nevertheless say the talkathon could "wake up" colleagues still skeptical about climate change science.

"The purpose is to use the bully pulpit of our Senate offices to achieve that wake-up call," Boxer said in a statement. "We believe that climate change is a catastrophe that is unfolding before our eyes, and we want Congress to take off the blindfolds."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE (R-Ky.) suggested the all-nighter might not accomplish that in an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer on Friday.

"For everybody who thinks it's warming, I can find somebody who thinks it isn't," he said.

Carney on Monday also highlighted instances from the president's Climate Action Plan where Obama had used regulatory authority to act to address climate change where Congress had not.

"He has taken steps in his first term and again in his second term and will continue to take steps to both reduce our carbon emissions and to make sure that we're more prepared for the effects and impacts of severe weather, for example, which is a byproduct of the climate change that we've seen," Carney said.

On Tuesday, Obama is expected to designate a 1,665-acre nature preserve in California known as Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands as a national monument. The move, which will impose new land-use restrictions on the area in a bid to protect several fish species and birds, is among a series of second-term executive actions to address environmental concerns.