Iowans to Hold "Climate Emergency Caucus," Pushing Presidential Contenders toward WWII-scale Climate Mobilization

Former Iowa Senator Tom Harkin and “Keystone Killer” Jane Kleeb to Speak

DES MOINES — Hundreds of Iowans will stage a model caucus Friday, Jan. 29 to support the presidential candidate they believe is best-suited to stop the Bakken Pipeline and lead a full-employment, WWII-scale mobilization to rapidly retire all fossil fuel infrastructure, drive the U.S. economy to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, and restore a safe climate for humanity. 

The caucus will take place from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. in the auditorium of Central Campus at 1800 Grand Avenue in Des Moines. Speakers will include Tom Harkin, a U.S. Senator from Iowa from 1985 to 2015, and Jane Kleeb, the Nebraska activist who fired up the national effort to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline and was subsequently dubbed the “Keystone Killer” by Rolling Stone, will speak. The caucus will be hosted by Ed Fallon, the Iowa progressive talk-show host and former state lawmaker who hosted the 2011 Occupy Des Moines People’s Caucus that aired on C-SPAN and received national media attention.

With representatives from all of the Democratic campaigns scheduled to appear, the Climate Emergency Caucus is set to be the strongest intervention into presidential politics yet made by America’s nascent “Climate Emergency Movement,” which calls for WWII-scale emergency action to save civilization from catastrophic climate change and ecological decline. The model caucus has been organized by the national grassroots group The Climate Mobilization, in conjunction with a growing list of sponsors, including Citizens’ Climate Lobby Des Moines, Iowa 350.org, Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the Sierra Club’s Iowa chapter.

Following speeches from Fallon, Kleeb, and the leaders of The Climate Mobilization, model caucus-goers will suggest climate and pipeline planks for their respective political party’s platforms and discuss the presidential candidates’ positions on the Bakken pipeline and climate change. Finally, they will break into preference groups to support the presidential candidate they believe can best lead America through the growing climate emergency.

“The climate crisis is a national and international emergency the next president will have to confront,” said Margaret Klein Salamon, founder and director of The Climate Mobilization. “Which candidate has the character, wisdom and experience to lead the mobilization we need? Which candidate has been the most candid on the climate crisis thus far? We offer caucus-goers a chance to deliberate on these questions, while making it clear we will not settle for half measures that ignore the dire realities of climate science.”

Fallon has asked all of the Democratic and most of the Republican candidates to sign the Climate Mobilization’s Pledge to Mobilize, which calls for a full-employment, WWII-scale mobilization to drive the U.S. economy to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and restore a safe climate for humanity. So far, none of the candidates have signed the Pledge, committed to a net zero emissions economy across all sectors — a scientific imperative — or called for an emergency, WWII-scale mobilization to overhaul America’s energy, transport, and agricultural systems in years, not decades.

On Nov. 5, State Sen. Rob Hogg, State Rep. Dan Kelley, and Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie signed the Pledge to Mobilize at the Des Moines Federal Building and called for a WWII-scale climate mobilization. Other Iowa elected leaders who have recently signed the Pledge include State Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad, State Rep. Marti Anderson, State Rep. Ruth Anne Gaines, State Rep. Mary Mascher, Johnson County Supervisor Mike Carberry, Iowa City Mayor Pro Temp Susan Mims, and Des Moines City Councilman Skip Moore.

Fallon and the growing climate emergency movement expect the caucus will make clear to the presidential candidates and the American public that the time for “carbon gradualism” has expired and the need for emergency action to save civilization has arrived.

“Iowa climate and pipeline fighters are all over the board when it comes to the presidential candidate they prefer,” Fallon said. “The Climate Emergency Caucus lets voters choose the strongest climate champion among those running for President. And each candidate, Republican and Democratic, will have a chance to make their case to voters in attendance that they intend to respond to the climate crisis with heroic action, not business-as-usual reform proposals that cannot effectively tackle this time-sensitive, existential emergency.”

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RSVP on Facebook: Climate Emergency Caucus

To learn more about The Climate Mobilization, see TheClimateMobilization.org

For the scientific basis behind the demands in the Pledge to Mobilize, see, David Spratt’s groundbreaking report Recount: It’s Time to ‘Do the Math Again’ 

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