John Edwards won the backing of Friends of the Earth Action, the San Francisco-based political arm of Friends of the Earth.
In endorsing Edwards, the president of Friends of the Earth Action, Brent Blackwelder, said he was particularly impressed by how early in the campaign Edwards laid out proposals to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050, push for a global climate change treaty and create 1 million new jobs by investing in clean, renewable energy.
Edwards has pushed other candidates to either match or improve upon his ideas, said Blackwelder, who announced the endorsement with Edwards at a house party in Dover.
"That leadership right away suggested to us that he had a distinguishing feature," Blackwelder said.
At a house party in Dover, Edwards said he would make fighting climate change a central part of his environmental agenda.
"It is a crisis by any possible measure," he said. The 2004 vice-presidential nominee also praised former Vice President Al Gore, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last week for his work on global warming.
"It's not as hard today to be an advocate on this issue because of his leadership," Edwards said of Gore.
Friends of the Earth Action also noted that unlike rivals Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, Edwards opposes building new nuclear power plants. The final factor was Edwards' courage to stand up to corporate lobbyists and special interests that have driven environmental policy in the Bush administration, he said.