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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 11, 2013
4:54 PM

CONTACT: 350.org

Prominent Canadians Support Forward on Climate Rally

Support from Naomi Klein, Maude Barlow, David Suzuki, and others

OAKLAND, Calif. - February 11 - Prominent Canadians from a variety of backgrounds have signed on to a letter in support of the “Forward on Climate” rally on February 17, when tens of thousands of committed activists will converge on Washington DC to tell President Obama to act on the climate crisis. (1)

The letter reads, “The recent extreme weather events and record breaking temperatures in North America and all over the world leave no doubt, if any doubt persisted: we must act, and act fast, on climate. The world's scientists have made it clear that unless bold action is taken it will no longer be possible to avoid climate chaos.”

“Forward on Climate” will be the largest climate rally in American history. One of the rally partner organizations, 350.org, says the first step to putting our country on the path to addressing the climate crisis is for President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. His legacy as president will rest squarely on his response, resolve, and leadership in solving the climate crisis.

This letter shows, though, that Americans are not the only citizens concerned about the drastic impacts the unnecessary exploitation of Canadian tar sands will have on the climate: “A large majority of Canadians are concerned about climate change and want our government to consider the long-term implications and the need for immediate action to reduce our emissions. We also need the leadership of the United States and President Obama,” the signers say.

“We know that this struggle won’t end overnight; we have much work ahead of us. But history is made at events like these. I join with our American friends in saying to President Obama: We need your leadership on climate, starting right now. Reject this pipeline, and we will support your decision in every way we can,” they conclude.

CONTACT: Daniel Kessler, 350.org, daniel@350.org, 510-501-1779

1. The full text of the letter is below:

I am supporting the tens of thousands of people converging in Washington, DC on Feb. 17 as part of the "Forward on Climate" rally. The recent extreme weather events and record breaking temperatures in North America and all over the world leave no doubt, if any doubt persisted: we must act, and act fast, on climate. The world's scientists have made it clear that unless bold action is taken it will no longer be possible to avoid climate chaos.

President Obama was encouraging in his inaugural address, when he said, "We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations...Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms." One of the first steps he can take is to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, a project that would drive reckless expansion of Canada's tar sands. The tar sands hold an enormous pool of carbon, which must be left in the ground if we are to have a fighting chance to meet the climate challenge. Denying the permit would be just the sort of bold action scientists say we need.

This is in our interest because Canada is extremely vulnerable to the consequences of escalating climate change. As a northern nation, we already see warming in the Arctic; with the longest marine coastline, we will be hammered by rising sea level; and climate sensitive areas such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism are already being impacted.

That's why, as a Canadian I am working with other individuals and organizations to inform Canadians about the social, economic and ecological costs of the expansion of tar sands production and pipelines, such as Enbridge Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan Transmountain. A large majority of Canadians are concerned about climate change and want our government to consider the long-term implications and the need for immediate action to reduce our emissions. We also need the leadership of the United States and President Obama.

We know that this struggle won’t end overnight; we have much work ahead of us. But history is made at events like these. I join with our American friends in saying to President Obama: We need your leadership on climate, starting right now. Reject this pipeline, and we will support your decision in every way we can.

Sincerely,

David Suzuki, Professor emeritus, UBC, Vancouver

Tzeporah Berman, Author, BA, MES

Naomi Klein, author

Mark Jaccard, Professor of Sustainable Energy, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver

Clayton Ruby, C.M. B.A., LL.B., LL.M., LL.D. (honoris causa)

Elizabeth May, O.C., Member of Parliament, Saanich-Gulf Islands and Leader of the Green Party

Maude Barlow, National Chairperson, Council of Canadians, Ottawa of Canada

Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

Sarah Harmer, a Canadian singer-songwriter and activist

###

350 is the red line for human beings, the most important number on the planet. The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth. But solutions exist. All around the world, a movement is building to take on the climate crisis, to get humanity out of the danger zone and below 350. This movement is massive, it is diverse, and it is visionary. We are activists, scholars, and scientists. We are leaders in our businesses, our churches, our governments, and our schools. We are clean energy advocates, forward-thinking politicians, and fearless revolutionaries. And we are united around the world, driven to make our planet livable for all who come after us.



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