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Sierra Club Pens Climate Change Letter To President Obama Days Before State Of The Union

02/11/2013 05:46 pm ET

In anticipation of Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, the Sierra Club penned the following letter to President Obama, signed by 30 celebrity activists and environmental leaders:

Dear President Barack Obama,

Your legacy as 44th president of the United States rests firmly on your leadership on climate disruption. Only the president has the power to lead an effort on the scale and with the urgency we need to phase out fossil fuels and lead America, and the world, in a clean energy revolution.

WE SUPPORT YOUR DEMONSTRATING THE STRONGEST RESOLVE IN FIGHTING THE CLIMATE CRISIS ON EVERY FRONT.

The letter, signed by Edward Norton, Morgan Freeman, Yoko Ono and others, is one of many efforts to draw attention to climate change in the days leading up to the February 17 Forward on Climate Rally. The rally, which will take place in Washington, D.C. just days after Obama's speech, is "expected to be the largest climate rally in U.S. history," says Robert Redford.

According to Sierra Club Executive Director and HuffPost Blogger Michael Brune, the timing is not coincidental. “We're also on the cusp of a clean energy revolution that will transform our nation, slash carbon pollution, and turn this climate disaster around,” Brune wrote. “We need President Obama to commit to that fight with all the ambition and determination he can bring.”

Yet addressing climate change may not be an easy task for Obama. In a New York Times op-ed, David Leonhardt discusses how the climate issue is reaching a pivotal moment, and the president needs to bring fresh policy to the table in order to satiate those on either end of the spectrum. Climate change has becoming a polarizing issue between environmentalists and economists, Leonhardt says. Yet he goes on to note that “the strongest economic argument for an aggressive response to climate change is not the much trumpeted windfall of green jobs. It’s the fact that the economy won’t function very well in a world full of droughts, hurricanes and heat waves.”

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