DiCaprio: ‘We must put a price on carbon’

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Actor Leonardo DiCaprio is narrating a new series about climate change that is being released ahead of a United Nations climate summit next month.

DiCaprio, a staunch environmentalist, and Tree Media launched the Green World Rising series of short films, all centering on climate change.

The first film in the series, titled "Carbon," calls for more federal action to control carbon dioxide pollution.

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“We cannot sit idly by and watch the fossil fuel industry make billions at our collective expense. We must put a price on carbon — now,” DiCaprio said in a statement.

The eight-minute long film argues that a tax should be placed on carbon in order to keep global temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius. It points to examples of other countries such as Ireland, Costa Rica and Norway that have implemented carbon taxes on fossil fuels.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is featured in the film, and mentions legislation he co-sponsored with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) that would create a carbon tax. The likelihood of that bill passing Congress, however, is slim as Republicans are adamantly opposed to a tax, dubbing such legislation a "war on coal."

If leaders won't take action, DiCaprio says in the film, then towns and states can. The show references a carbon tax passed in Boulder, Colo., and other measures taken by California.

"If national governments won't take action, your community can. We no longer need the dead economy of the fossil fuel industry," DiCaprio says in the film. "We can move our economy town by town,  state by state to renewable energy and a sustainable future."

The film focuses on building momentum for negotiations between world leaders at the U.N. summit in New York on Sept. 23, over the 2015 Paris talks, because it hopes to spur action before next year's meeting.

During the Paris talks, leaders form some 120 countries are expected to forge a global climate treaty, setting reductions on greenhouse gas emissions and more.

"This film is meant to be an asset for the climate movement and to generate momentum for the global reduction of carbon emissions," said Leila Conners, director of the film. "We must move toward renewable energy and create a real solution, hopefully well before the [meeting] in Paris in 2015.”

The next three films in the series will be released leading up to the New York climate summit, which President Obama is scheduled to attend.