Barack Obama

Just as the polar bear has been the poster child for climate change, President Obama has been the icon for the fight against Keystone XL. For years now, people opposed to tar sands development have been calling on the President to act with good conscience and reject this pipeline proposal. From blockades to birddogging, activists around the continent have been sending a message to the President: we will not compromise on Keystone XL.

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Share this photo on Facebook to celebrate how far we’ve come!

This is the speech we have been fighting for. Today, President Obama stood up and laid out in bold detail his plan to address the greatest challenge of our generation. He announced that for the first time ever we will cap the carbon pollution spewing from power plants, took a defiant stance on Keystone XL, and even gave a shout out to divestment!

Today’s speech was a BIG deal for the climate, a major victory for our movement — and most of all, a HUGE testament to the work that YOU and other youth climate activists have been doing for years to push the President to lead the way on climate change.

This was a huge victory, but it is not an end to this fight, it’s a new beginning. We got this far because people like you have been pushing the President. And we will not get over the finish line unless we hold the President accountable to his commitments and continue pushing further.

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Update 2: In case you missed it, here is the recording of President Obama's speech, and the transcript is below the fold. Use the comments to let us know what you thought!

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Yesterday’s State of the Union address could go down as a watershed moment in America’s transition to a clean energy economy. Two years ago, the president wouldn’t mention climate change. Last night, he spoke honestly about the issue to 40 million people and vowed that if “Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.” The question is: Just what can President Obama do, and what will it mean for our economy and energy system?

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photo of US President Barack Obama with young people at a conference tablePhoto Credit: The White House - Energy Action representatives meeting with President Obama.

It’s been almost two years since I sat down across a table from the President of the United States, but I will never forget his words: “Your job is to push me.”

It was those six words that echoed in my mind last week as I stood on the National Mall and watched President Obama use his inaugural address to forcefully place climate action at the top of his agenda.

The inaugural address felt like both a validation of all the work we’ve been doing, and a renewed call to action. We’ve come a long way since that meeting on the eve of Power Shift 2011, but we’re not done pushing.

That’s why on Feb. 17, I’m heading back to the National Mall — and I need you there with me.

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Election season is over, and organizers are finally seeing some blank spaces on their calendars. Even beyond the presidential race, the climate movement has made some real progress. Going forward, how can we convert our momentum into meaningful change? This is a great forum to generate new ideas, and I've got some thoughts to get us started.

First, let's look at where we stand now. As a group, young voters reasserted our power in this election. Despite some predictions, youth turnout was even higher than in 2008, swinging at least eighty electoral votes . Meanwhile, several states chose climate-friendly congresspeople over their anti-environmental opponents.

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