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Local Leaders, Advocates Urge Biden To Push For Climate Investments

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) -- As the Ukraine crisis unfolds, local leaders are calling on President Joe Biden to address what they call a climate change crisis in the U.S. and deliver on his promises of historic climate investments.

Elected officials and community advocates in Metro Atlanta say climate change is just as deadly to world peace as COVID-19 and Russia's attack on Ukraine, or worse. Several of them came together for a virtual press conference on Tuesday to address the topic.

"Authoritarians like Putin also use fossil fuels as a weapon," said Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett.

"It is sad to think of these conditions that refugees and displaced people endure, but what is also disappointing is to know, in America, one of the richest countries in the world, we face great inequities among our residents dealing with climate conditions," said Clarkston Mayor Beverly Burks.

As Biden prepared his State of the Union Address, advocates urged him to follow through on his promises of climate investments, including jobs and clean energy.

"Just be consistent to your claims of 16 months and remind the American people of your commitment to environmental justice," said Rev. Dr. William Flippin, Jr.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass $550 billion in climate investments, and community leaders are now hoping the Senate will follow suit.

"The same dirty fuel that makes us sick is also creating the greenhouse gases that make climate change," said Dr. Anne Mellinger-Birdsong, a member of the Georgia Clinicians for Climate Change.

Extreme heat, pollution, and stormwater issues are raising health concerns, and Environmental Protection Agency reports show low income and minority communities are hit the worst.

"There is a cost associated with more extreme weather. There's a human cost, a property cost loss," said Atlanta City Councilwoman Keisha Sean Waites (Post 3 At Large).

"We have to have bold action and funding sources at the federal level to tackle climate change," Garrett said.

Local cities like Decatur and Clarkston are developing their own clean energy plans. Officials plan to have more climate change discussions to raise awareness.

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