Thursday, May 8, 2014

City of the Angels

California has become a key player in the climate change dialogue here in the USA, and Los Angeles provides a main stage for the Obama administration's current west coast fund-raising tour for the DNC.

President Obama was in LA on May 7 for a fundraiser at the home of the chair of Walt Disney Studios, and hundreds of people from the environmental group mobilized to greet him and say Keystone is Goofy! Outside the fundraiser, this group rallied in opposition to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. San Diego 350 contends the pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada to Texas for refining, will increase greenhouse gas emissions and worsen the impacts of climate change.

Obama has delayed a decision on whether to approve the project for several months. Meanwhile, in the Senate, a bid by supporters of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline to force a vote on the controversial project fell apart Wednesday amid partisan bickering over how the vote should be conducted.

Obama began his trip in Los Angeles on Wednesday evening headlining a joint fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee at the Bel Air home of Disney Studios head Alan Horn, according to an online invitation. He then headed over to the 20th anniversary gala for the University of Southern California's Shoah Foundation, an institute for visual history and education, hosted by Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg where he was given an ambassador for humanity award by the organization’s founder Spielberg.There, he made some interesting comments about the limits of his influence in the presidency.

On Thursday Obama heads to the San Jose area for several additional events to raise money for the DNC. One of them will be hosted by Y Combinator President Sam Altman and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, according to an invitation posted at the Sunlight Foundation’s website. 

Continuing the White House’s focus on climate change this week, the president will cap his California trip with a speech on energy efficiency Friday morning in San Jose, where he will stress the importance of partnerships between the public and private sector to reduce carbon emissions. The entire administration campaign has been focused on an incremental approach to reduction of carbon emissions, with the strong partnership of California and its key cities. Having just released the key National Climate Assessment yesterday, the administration is building strong financial and political support for this platform, which is that climate change is already happening and that drastic action is called for.

 May 10 Update:

A video and transcript of the State of the Climate presentation from The White House is available. Participants include the US Global Change Research Program which houses the National Climate Assessment. This program is now affiliated with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House. They are working in concert with NOAA to prepare US citizens for the destructive effects of climate change. They can be reached at #ActOnClimate