Almost a year into President Obama's administration, the young people who turned out and voted for him in record numbers, hopeful that he'll deliver bold action on climate at home and abroad in 2009, have something to be excited about.
Given the number of pressing issues on the president's agenda, it's encouraging that he has made a strong gesture to his supporters in the climate movement by announcing a speech on clean energy that will take place at MIT on Friday. This is a critical time for him to weigh in on the issue, as the coming months will have a lasting impact on our policy, security and quality of life going forward: the senate's Environment and Public Works committee will consider a climate bill from Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) in November, and the UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen takes place from Dec. 7 - 18.
If the president gets in the game, he'll be a major player in whether these opportunities for change come to fruition.
We in the youth climate movement are eager to hear him address:
- The need for congress to act THIS YEAR to pass an aggressive climate and energy bill that will set the stage for millions of clean energy jobs.
- Making a commitment to attend the UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen to demonstrate that he is personally serious and ready to lead with the support of congress towards a global climate deal.
- The need for science to dictate our carbon reductions.
- How we must take action in order to build a clean energy economy and ensure our national security.
- The urgent need to guarantee a healthy environment built on clean energy sources for his own children and all the young people who comprised the base of his support in the 2008 campaign.
President Obama has faced many difficult battles in his commitment to dramatically changing the course of our nation's future, and this fight will be no different. His speech could be an inspiring show of support and a call to action to those who are deeply engaged in the climate movement, as well as a reality check for those who think it can wait.
We have never had a President as visionary as Barack Obama, and we look towards tomorrow's speech as a critical step in turning up the heat on this debate, and making his intentions known. We danced in the streets the night he was elected, and we're ready to see our President take center court in the fight for strong action this fall.
Follow Jessy Tolkan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jessytolkan