By Chris Mooney
WASHINGTON – On what could be a record-hot day, tens of thousands of demonstrators are expected to assemble in Washington on Saturday. Their large-scale climate change protest will mark President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office, which have been punctuated by multiple rollbacks of environmental protections.
The People’s Climate March, which originated with a massive demonstration in New York in September 2014, picked a symbolically striking day for its 2017 installment. Temperatures could exceed 90 degrees and possibly set a record for April 29 in the District of Columbia – which would greatly amplify the movement’s message.
The climate event differs from last week’s March for Science in its focus and also its participants – only 1 out of 8 planned contingents of Saturday’s protest will feature scientific researchers. The rest will include labor activists, indigenous peoples already facing severe effects from climate change, and children and young people who will live on Earth the longest as it continues to warm.
The motivation is clear: The young Trump administration already has moved to roll back President Barack Obama’s signature climate initiative, the Clean Power Plan, and it has taken many other actions to weaken environmental protections of air and water, and to enable fossil fuel exploitation on public lands and waters.
The administration is grappling with a major climate policy decision: whether to remain in the Paris climate agreement. Several of Trump’s Cabinet picks are advising against following through on his campaign pledge to “cancel” the accord.
Marchers on Saturday are expected to gather at the Capitol and then move up Pennsylvania Avenue and “surround” the White House. Celebrity attendees will include Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Gore and Richard Branson.
Organizers told the National Park Service that they expect between 50,000 and 100,000 attendees.
The forecast is for temperatures that reach as high as 89 to 93 degrees. The current record for the date is 91 degrees, while this month already is the warmest April on record for the District of Columbia.
The Washington Post’s Joe Heim and Lori Aratani contributed to this report.
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