Global Warming Rally Goes On Despite Snow
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hundreds of demonstrators on Monday urged Congress to pass legislation to reduce greenhouse gases, and they targeted the government's own Capitol power plant as a symbol of the problem.
An enthusiastic crowd of mostly young people marched from a park near the Capitol to the power plant several blocks away, where they planned to block entrances to the plant and were prepared to get arrested. The group chanted along the way, "We don't want the world to boil, no coal, no oil!"
Despite attempts by lawmakers to clean up the power plant in southeast Washington, it still burns coal and accounts for a third of the legislative branch's greenhouse gas emissions.
"We need to move rapidly for a clean energy future," said Charlie Garlow, of Silver spring, Md., who was dressed as a smokestack on Monday. Asked about what he hopes the rally will accomplish, he replied, "We want to make sure a good bill gets passed, not a watered down one."
The group met about a dozen counter-demonstrators who held signs reading: "Our economy runs on coal." The counter-demonstrators argued that coal is affordable and that renewable alternatives to coal-fired power plants won't meet a growing demand for electricity.
The Capitol power plant hasn't generated electricity since 1952, but it does provide steam for heating and chilled water for cooling buildings within the Capitol complex.
The protest on energy and climate comes as Washington digs out from its largest snowfall of the season. Organizers note that climate change causes more extreme weather, and they say the issue is important enough that people are willing to brave the cold.
"God has a sense of humor," said protester Rhody Streeter, of Louisville, K.Y., referring to the weather.
Organizers had expected 2,500 demonstrators to take part in the rally.