Twelve members of Organizing for Action-Lehigh Valley met with U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent Thursday afternoon in his South Whitehall office to ask for congressional action on climate change.
"We're here to attempt to get Charlie Dent to be a champion against climate change, which we feel is the greatest threat currently facing humanity," said Gene Hunter, of Bethlehem, a member of the non-profit group.
"The earth is changing so rapidly, it is in dire danger of drought, flood, tsunami, famine and pestilence," Hunter said.
The group presented Dent with 330 signature cards from constituents urging congressional action on climate change.
Group spokeswoman Gloria McVeigh of Lower Saucon said they want to know: Does Dent accept climate change as a fact? Does Dent believe human activity has a larger role in climate change? What action will Dent take?
The hour-long discussion apparently did not bear much fruit for the group.
"In a word, no," Hunter said, when asked if he heard what he wanted from Dent.
Following the meeting, Dent told Patch that the group is pushing for a carbon tax, something that he said he isn't prepared to support.
"We had a frank and candid discussion," Dent said. "I am not going to deal with environmental and energy policy by isolating the broader economy. You can't decouple the two."
Dent said a carbon tax of any kind will hurt the economy and job creation.
"I believe the earth is warming," Dent said. "There are certain renewables in the marketplace other than wind and solar. We're using natural gas to a much greater extent now and are lowering our carbon emissions to better levels than 1996."
"I'm concerned about his stand," said Ed DelViscio, of Salisbury Township, who attended the meeting. "I think he's making false comparisons to the environment and the economy," he said.
Organizing for Action supports President Obama's agenda on issues such as gun violence, the environment and immigration reform, according to its website.