Tens of thousands of protesters gathered on the National Mall in Washington to call on the US President to honour his inaugural pledge to tackle climate change.
More specifically, they want Barack Obama to rethink plans for the controversial 5.3 billion dollar Keystone oil pipeline which would transport 830 thousand barrels of crude a day from northern Alberta to Texas.
Opinion among those present ranged from resignation to hope. “I don’t see enough being done right now, like things are still getting worse.” said one man. But a soldier in uniform said:“I’m proud to be a soldier in his army to tell the truth, because he has talked about it, made it a campaign issue many times.” A third person added:“I would tell Obama: just say no to the permit request for the tar sand pipeline.”
Backers of Keystone claim it would provide thousands of jobs and increase US energy security.
But some are not so sure. Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said:“I hope that Americans are fed up with being ignored and with having Congress controlled by the big polluting industries and that they have decided that they are simply not going to stop until their voices are heard.”
Euronews correspondent Stefan Grobe said “This is not only the biggest climate change rally in US history, it also comes as a big boost for President Obama’s second term agenda. The message of the protesters is clear: Obama has promised action, now he must deliver.”