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Global Warming on a Cool Day

Arlington hosts one of many global warming rallies this weekend.

The rally to stop global warming could have used a little warming of its own.

Arlingtonians gathered on a blustery day this weekend at Gateway Park in Rosslyn to hear about the dangers posed to the planet by climate change and to extoll the virtues of living "green."

While the wind was brisk and the skies were overcast, many acknowledged the weather could have been worse.

"Let's give a big round of applause to Mother Nature for holding off on the rain!" said Wendy Rieger, environmental reporter for local television station NBC4.

The event was sponsored by the Sierra Club as well as several other local environmental advocacy groups. It was held to coincide with more than 800 similar events across the country where people gathered together to demand governmental action on the issue of global warming.

The Sierra Club was specifically demanding that local and state government officials cut their emission of carbon dioxide by 2 percent a year for the next 40 years, amounting to an 80 percent reduction by 2050.

Speaking at the event was Arlington County Board Chairman Paul Ferguson (D). Ferguson, who was introduced by Rieger as an environmental "rock star," has made combating global warming his main priority during his chairmanship of the board.

He was instrumental in establishing Arlington's AIRE initiative, which seeks to reduce the county's greenhouse gas emissions ten percent by 2012.

Ferguson, who attended the event with County Board Vice Chair Walter Tejada (D), acknowledged the skepticism of the community towards political rhetoric on the issue of global warming, but asked the audience instead to look at the Board's actions on the issue.

"Sometimes, as politicians, people don’t believe what we say," he said. "But they see what we do."

Ferguson also gave a DVD copy of Al Gore's global warming documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" to a teenager in the audience who said he hadn't seen it yet.

U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8), an Arlington resident, also attended the rally. He was highly critical of the Bush administration's attempts to solve the climate change problem.

"The EPA has a bankrupt policy," Moran said.

But Moran also said that all was not lost in the struggle for the environment.

"[The Arlington County Board is] the reason for any optimism in the community," he said. "They are leading the way nationally [on the issue of climate change]."