Climate Change Activism Heats Up

Editor's note: Video removed because footage is not licensed for web viewing.

The climate change "movement" is growing, and as anchor Val Zavala recently discovered, the battle is getting intense.


Val Zavala: To the tens of thousands of protestors who gathered Sunday in Washington, climate change is not something abstract, but a clear and present danger. And it's moving some people to civil disobedience. On Wednesday actress Daryl Hannah was arrested outside the White House. So was Robert Kennedy, Jr. while protest organizers had their cameras rolling. Kennedy [from web video]: When you have no recourse in our democracy, legally or democratically, we not only have the right, but we have the duty to break the law, to show our discontent, and put political pressure on the president, who I know is going to do the right thing in the long run. Zavala: Activists are especially angry about Keystone XL: a proposal to build an oil sands pipeline from Canada to the Texas gulf coast. And they're pushing president Obama to reject it. But celebrity and non-celebrity protestors alike seem to be encouraged by what they're hearing. President Obama [from State of the Union 2013 address]: For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. Zavala: In his State of the Union message, President Obama made it clear that climate change will be front and center in his second term, with or without Congress. Obama: If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.

Zavala: And it's no empty threat. A Supreme Court ruling says the federal Environmental Protection Agency has the power to regulate carbon emissions because of the Clean Air Act. The President appears ready to direct the EPA to test the limits of that power, ratcheting up regulations until Congress or the courts try to stop it. And the President has an ally.

Michael Bloomberg/Mayor of New York [from news footage]: What is clear is that the storms that we’ve experienced in the last year or so around this country and around the world are much more severe than before.

Zavala: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a former Republican, had an epiphany after super storm Sandy last fall. Bloomberg: Whether that’s global warming or what, I don’t know. But we’ll have to address those issues. Zavala: No one, Bloomberg included, can prove that climate change made the storm worse, but the billionaire mayor is a believer. He endorsed Mr. Obama for re-election because of this one issue. Bloomberg sounds the environmental alarm every chance he gets. Bloomberg: Climate change is an urgent challenge, and the world’s cities have a powerful responsibility to address that. Zavala: Plus, if he chooses, he has the financial muscle to launch a nationwide campaign to change hearts and minds. But the public may already be there. In a recent Rasmussen poll, 63 percent of those questioned believed climate change is a serious problem. Eighty-one percent of those surveyed in a Gallup poll said global warming has already begun, or will start to affect us very soon. You can say the same about those protests. Expect more of them.

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