Power Shift 2011: President Obama Meets with Youth Climate Leaders

Our guest blogger is Jeff Mann, online director of the Energy Action Coalition.

Today at the White House, President Obama met with twelve young leaders from across the country that are in town for Power Shift 2011, the youth clean energy and climate summit being attended by over 10,000 people.

The young leaders described the meeting as positive and expressed excitement about working with the Administration to transition America to 100 percent clean energy and protect the Clean Air Act. Courtney Hight, co-director of the Energy Action Coalition thanked the president for fighting to “save the Clean Air Act”:

It was a real testament to President Obama’s commitment to young people that he met with youth clean energy leaders today. We are thankful he fought to save the Clean Air Act. That’s the man we elected and we need him to stand strong and stand up to big polluters and safeguard America’s public health.

The young people expressed concerns with aspects of Obama’s energy policy, particularly ongoing reliance on dirty energy sources like coal, nuclear, and natural gas. The young leaders also voiced concerns about continued subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.

The President reminded the young leaders that they have the power to change this country. Grassroots organizing in communities and states will help move our nation on energy and climate.

“We’re conducting the largest grassroots organizing training in history, to prepare young leaders to go back to their communities and lead, and we’re calling on President Obama and Congress to join us in standing up to Big Polluters and creating a clean energy economy,” said Maura Cowley, Energy Action Coalition’s other co-director. “Young people know we need a clean energy policy not based on things that kill people, whether it’s dirty coal or dangerous nuclear,” Cowley added.

Follow @PowerShift11 and @EnergyAction for updates.


Maura Cowley tells CNN‘s Cody Combs:

“We saw the community organizer side of President Obama come out in this meeting,” said Maura Cowley, co-director of Power Shift. “I think we’re hoping it’s the beginning of a dialogue.”

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