The group is kicking off its North American advocacy effort for firm and substantial governmental commitments to climate action at the 21st United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP-21) to be held in Paris, France on Dec. 11., said Mario Molina, director of the 7,500-member international group of climate activists. Additional trainings are being held this year in Florida and Toronto, Canada to jump-start the effort with 1,000 newly trained climate leaders in advance of COP-21.
They are also here because of Iowa’s first in the nation political caucuses to make sure the need for climate action is heard by the field of presidential hopefuls traversing the state.
On Monday, May 4, State Senator Rob Hogg, a speaker at the training, pointed out in an email that three presidential candidates will be visiting Cedar Rapids this week. He encouraged readers to question the candidates about climate change.
“This gives us an opportunity to tell the candidates that Iowans are concerned about climate change and perhaps even ask the candidates questions about climate change,” Hogg said.
He provided a schedule and possible questions for the candidates.
Tuesday, May 5, 4:30 p.m. – Candidate Ben Carson of Florida (formerly of Maryland and Michigan) will be speaking at the Cedar Rapids Marriott, 1200 Collins Road NE, on Tuesday, May 5, at 4:30 p.m. He will be joined by Congressman Rod Blum. This is a chance to speak with Congressman Blum as well as Carson.
Thursday, May 7, 7:30 a.m. – Candidate Carly Fiorina of California is scheduled to speak Thursday, May 7, from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at the Blue Strawberry, 118 2nd St. SE, in downtown Cedar Rapids.
Thursday, May 7, noon – Candidate Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, is scheduled to speak at the Pizza Ranch, 2450 Westdale Dr., in southwest Cedar Rapids, on Thursday, May 7, at noon.
Hogg suggested these questions for the three Republicans:
Did you agree with President Reagan’s decision to sign the Montreal Protocol on stratospheric ozone depletion, and if so, would you support similar international agreements to fight climate change?
Are you concerned about climate-related disasters like record flooding in Iowa, record drought in California, and sea level rise, and if so, what would you do about it?
Climate Reality Project founder and former Vice President Al Gore is expected to be present for the three days of training. Part of the training is related to his slideshow about the science and human impact of climate change, an updated version of the one used in the movie An Inconvenient Truth. He is also expected to meet with key political figures regarding the need for climate action while in Iowa.
About 75 of the training attendees are Iowans, so there is hope the need for climate action can be kept in front of politicians during the 2016 election cycle.
To learn more, visit ClimateRealityProject.org.