Environmental groups prepare for ‘biggest climate rally in U.S. history’ in battle against Keystone XL

Forward on Climate DC RallyA large global warming protest with a very Canadian connection is scheduled for Sunday February 17th at the White House.

The protest, organized by the Sierra Club and 350.org, is being dubbed as the biggest climate rally in U.S. history and is meant to encourage President Obama to veto the construction of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would carry oil from northern Alberta down to the Gulf of Mexico.

In a telephone interview with Yahoo! Canada News, 350.org's Daniel Kessler said that he is expecting tens of thousands of people including "several groups" from Canada.

Obama is expected to make a decision about the fate of the pipeline within the next two to three months but at this point no one seems quite sure which way he's leaning. During his State of Union address on Tuesday, the President emphasized his commitment to battling climate change but also touched on the need build energy infrastructure.

[ Related: John Baird wants to talk pipelines in his meeting with John Kerry ]

In an interview with the Globe and Mail, U.S. ambassador to Canada David Jacobson seemed to suggest that Canada could potentially help its cause if the government showed more progress on its climate change policies.

David Jacobson, said that when Canadians can show progress on climate change, it has an impact on Americans’ judgment of whether the energy-security benefits of oil-sands imports outweigh the environmental impact.

“It does,” Mr. Jacobson said in an interview on Wednesday. “I think that there are an awful lot of folks who are trying to make up their minds, and trying to draw the right balance between these two things, who I think will be moved by progress.

“There has been progress. As I’ve said many times before, there needs to be more progress.”

While the Globe notes that Jacobson went out of his way to say climate action won't necessarily lead to Obama saying yes to the pipeline, it seems that's the message the Harper government is hearing.

[ Related: Rumours abound that Caroline Kennedy could be named U.S. ambassador to Canada ]

"The Harper government is clearly already making that connection: it has stepped up arguments that Canada is making progress on emissions, and will step up action in lockstep with the United States, as it lobbies for for Mr. Obama to approve the pipeline this spring," notes the article.

But will that be enough in the midst of the seemingly growing opposition to the pipeline in the U.S.?

We'll soon find out.

(Image courtesy of the Sierra Club)

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