06/25/2013 02:05 pm ET Updated Aug 25, 2013

Hope for Youth: President Obama Tackles Climate Head-On

Today, President Barack Obama announced his administration's next steps for building a legacy of action to fight the climate crisis. The plan includes new energy efficiency standards, scales up clean energy production on public lands with an ambitious new commitment to power 6 million homes by 2020, and cuts dangerous carbon pollution from power plants.

Student and youth climate leaders have been waiting for the president to take decisive action like this. It's no surprise that youth have both the most to lose and the most to gain in addressing climate disruption, and as President Obama confirms, his administration has a moral obligation to act on climate on behalf of future generations.

Today's youth will suffer the greatest effects of carbon pollution that is destabilizing our climate while threatening our economy and endangering our communities and families with extreme weather and dramatic sea level increases.

But the flip side is also true: bold action on climate will create millions of new jobs and promote technological innovation that will keep America competitive. It will also fundamentally transform the type of planet young people inherit, and protect entire communities, food sources, and clean air and clean water.

In particular, transitioning away from coal and the dirty fossil fuels of the past and doubling down on renewable energy and energy efficiency is the quickest, most effective way to roll back the worst effects of climate disruption and promote a healthier, more prosperous world.

As students return to campuses across the country this fall, we'll be working hard with the Sierra Student Coalition's Campuses Beyond Coal campaign to make sure that university administrations take President Obama's lead and commit to retiring outdated, polluting coal plants that threaten students' health on campus. We'll also be working to ensure that universities stop investing in dirty fossil fuels of the past and instead spend their money on clean, 21st-century energy sources.

On behalf of today's youth and students, we thank President Obama for making the future brighter.

-- BoRa Kim, Sierra Student Coalition Executive Committee Member and Bates Energy Action Movement leader, and Quentin James, National Director of the Sierra Student Coalition