As young America’s getting ready to live in a world rapidly and irreversibly changing, much is at stake in the upcoming election — especially our environment and energy. We need a president who’s looking out for the planet we’ll inhabit for years to come. That president is Barack Obama.

President Obama understands the importance of environmental protection — and knows it can contribute to much-needed job growth. In an April interview with Rolling Stone Obama said, “We’re going to have to take further steps to deal with climate change in a serious way. There’s a way to do it that is entirely compatible with strong economic growth and job creation.”

Obama will take these steps if re-elected. Even in the midst of a dysfunctional Congress, the President’s administration took unprecedented action to reduce climate change, dependence on foreign oil and pollution. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 allocated more than $80 billion to clean energy projects, and under Obama, the amount of electricity generated by renewable sources has almost doubled. Fuel efficiency standards for cars rose not once, but twice. We’re now on track to see cars averaging 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. He has also pushed Congress to end the enormous $4-billion-per-year tax breaks to oil companies.

Energy independence is a critical issue for our generation, a generation that will be vulnerable to energy crises and defense issues if we don’t decrease our current rates of dependence on foreign oil. Obama understands this. Our dependence on foreign oil has decreased every year that Obama has been in office. The Obama administration has also taken aggressive steps to reform offshore oil drilling, ensuring that our offshore energy sources are developed responsibly.

In this election, we must choose a candidate who will protect the environment. While Obama has shown his dedication to protecting our planet, his opponent is unwilling to do the same. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has championed coal and oil fuels as the future of American energy; these sources cause great harm to our environment and are quickly depleting without the possibility of renewal. He has even denied the human impact on climate change. To be fair, Romney has said that he is “not in this race to slow the rise of the oceans or to heal the planet,” so our expectations for his environmental policies shouldn’t be too high.

This November, our decision is clear. When we look at both sides, Obama’s commitment to clean energy and the protection of the environment far surpass his opponent’s positions. A vote for Obama and the Democratic Party represents a commitment to the future of our world and its natural resources. Like the energy he champions, Obama’s term in office must be renewed to sustain our environment for the future.

This was written on behalf of the University’s chapter of College Democrats by Annika Doner.

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