CHICAGO (CBS) — Environmentalists and Democratic political leaders gathered in Chicago to build a coalition they think will be needed to put the president’s climate change proposal into action.

WBBM’s John Cody reports the signs, t-shirts and rhetoric suggested a cross between a political rally and a civil rights march as environmental leaders called for grass roots action behind the President Barack Obama’s plan to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent.

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Congressman Bobby Rush says it’ll be hard because his Republican colleagues on energy and power won’t even discuss the issue.

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“I suggest to my Republican colleagues that they change the symbol of the Republican Party because from an elephant to an ostrich. They are ignoring the facts.”

Republicans argue that cutting carbon emissions will cut jobs and increase manufacturing costs, but Congressman Mike Quigley said it will actually increase jobs, start new industries and bring on line less expensive energy sources like wind and solar.

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Representative Robin Kelley told activists and environmentalists assembled, already supporting the carbon reduction plan: “You may be the choir, but the choir always needs practice, so we need you to contact people from all over the country to support the president’s carbon reduction plan.”