Speaking to President Obama on Energy: What’s Your Elevator Pitch?

Andrew Revkin, who runs New York Times Dot Earth and formerly served as the lead NYT environment/energy reporter, has a new post, “America’s Energy Challenge, and Opportunity,” asking what people would say to President Obama about energy if he were to launch a national energy listening tour with his State of the Union tomorrow:

“As I asked on Sunday, if he does this, and the Obama Energy Road Show came to your town, what would you say? Below, you can read “Obama moment” statements on energy from industry representatives to climate campaigners, scientists to investors… When President John F. Kennedy announced plans to send men to the Moon, it was not because people were marching with signs demanding a space race. There were a host of reasons – strategic, economic, military, visionary and more. Kennedy wove them into a comprehensive, challenging and extraordinarily productive technological journey.”

He invited several scientists, advocates, and pundits to kick off the discussion with a few sentences, including Bill McKibben, Nathan Lewis, Andrew Karsner, Roger Pielke, Marty Hoffert, Paul Hawken, and others, and it’s worth reading their thoughts. He posted my contribution here alongside theirs, where I spoke to the “new Sputnik moment” the president is declaring:

“Teryn Norris, president of Americans for Energy Leadership (http://www.leadenergy.org), e-mailed this note:

President Obama is telling my generation loud and clear: America faces a new Sputnik moment, and the investments we make today — especially in energy — will profoundly influence our prosperity and security in the 21st century. As he declared in 2009, this is “the single most important challenge of their generation — the need to develop cheap, abundant, clean energy and accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy.”

We hear you, Mr. President, and our generation is ready to lead the global energy revolution. But just as the Sputnik generation needed robust federal support to succeed, today our generation needs a bold federal commitment to energy innovation and education. We need you to fight for your unfulfilled campaign promise to invest at least $150 billion in clean energy technology to unleash the nation’s innovative capacity and empower a new generation of scientists and engineers. This vision can reinvigorate the American people and reinspire the youth base to fight for your reelection next year — and ultimately make you a great American president.”

What would you say with an “elevator pitch” moment with President Obama on energy?  We’d love to hear from you in the comment section of the post, and feel free to re-post it at LeadEnergy if you’d like.

2 Responses to “Speaking to President Obama on Energy: What’s Your Elevator Pitch?”


  1. 1 amber ladeira Jan 25th, 2011 at 1:42 am

    I would ask him to read my latest blogpost!
    Seriously, neither coal nor nuclear are clean
    energy sources, although for different
    reasons. I hope he does NOT commit to either
    of these well-funded dangerously dirty energy
    industries Tuesday night during his 2011 State
    of the Union Address.

    Mr. President, the ball is in your court.
    Don’t drop it.

  2. 2 rmarg Jan 25th, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    President Obama has a big challenge ahead on energy. Many in congress do not perceive any issue with carbon and those who do cannot seem to agree on how to even partially decarbonize the energy system. I will take issue on nuclear. It has issues with capital cost and human resource requirements, but it is the safer of the low carbon baseload generation technologies. As technologies are new (be it AP-1000 or solar stirling engines) so our thinking of energy solutions must consider anew.

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About Teryn


Teryn Norris is a leading young policy strategist and currently serves as President and Founder of Americans for Energy Leadership.

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