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Gore, enviros celebrate changing of the guard

Green is suddenly glamorous again.

Advocates supporting renewable energy and conservation gathered Monday night at a glitzy ball to celebrate the greening of the White House. President-elect Barack Obama supports stiff, mandatory reductions in the gases blamed for global warming and he wants to create millions of new "green" jobs.

Environmental groups that have spent years playing defense against the Bush administration see an opportunity to push through their policies underObama.

"The new president totally gets it on these issues," said Gene Karpinksy, executive director of the League of Conservation Voters.

"This is by far the best reason to celebrate that the environmental movement has had." The event, hosted by former Vice President andNobel-laureate Al Gore, drew celebrities such as, Blair Underwood and Melissa Etheridge, many of whom made their entrance on a mossgreen carpet made partly of recycled fiber.

Also in attendance were Obama's choices to head the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

"I think America voted for a big green step by voting for Obama," said John Legend, who was one of the scheduled performers.

The Green Inaugural Ball was one of four environmentally-themed events scheduled for inauguration weekend. But it strived to be the greenest.

The food was local or organic and cooked in a kitchen nearby to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. The scraps will be composted.

And the ball's contribution to global warming -- known as a carbon footprint -- will be canceled out by investment in renewable energy projects. About 2,000 people attended the ball at Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture in downtown Washington.

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