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Students say education today key to arresting climate change tomorrow

A group of more than 100 universities, professional associations, and student groups joined the Breakthrough Institute yesterday in submitting a letter urging the U.S. Senate to fully support the Obama administration’s national energy education initiative. The initiative, named “RE-ENERGYSE” (REgaining our ENERGY Science and Engineering Edge), would produce thousands of highly-skilled U.S. energy workers and develop new energy education programs at American universities and K-12 schools.

The Senate is poised to reject the proposal in its FY2010 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill by cutting the RE-ENERGYSE program’s funding to $0 from the $115 million requested in President Obama’s FY2010 budget. Obama announced the initiative in a speech to the National Academy of Sciences in April, stating, “The nation that leads the world in 21st century clean energy will be the nation that leads in the 21st century global economy… [RE-ENERGYSE] will prepare a generation of Americans to meet this generational challenge.”

“Young people across America need Congress to act today and help prepare our generation to confront the nation’s energy challenges,” said Jessy Tolkan, Executive Director of the Energy Action Coalition, a coalition of 50 youth organizations.  The Coalition was founded in 2004 when young leaders across the country concluded that only by working together could they solve a problem as large as climate change while creating a more equitable future for all.

Energy Action’s flagship campaign, the Campus Climate Challenge, was launched in 2006 to spur a new wave of investment in renewable energy on college campuses from coast to coast.

During the last election, Energy Action Coalition Energy Action Coalition ran the Power Vote campaign to harness the power of the youth vote for clean and just energy and good green jobs.  Over 350,000 young people got involved in the movement as climate voters and new leaders.  The coalition raised climate change as one of the key issues in the election and generated 100 of media stories.

“Our generation knows that dirty energy isn’t the answer.  Building a clean energy economy will create millions of new jobs, reduce pollution, and protect our future,” said Josh Tulkin, Field Director of the Energy Action Coalition.   “We call on our leaders to listen to sound science and real facts when it comes to climate policy.”

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