On Monday, President Obama spoke at a solar energy summit in Las Vegas, where he singled out industrialists Charles and David Koch for impeding progress, reports USA Today.
"When you start seeing massive lobbying efforts backed by fossil fuel interests, or conservative think tanks, or the Koch brothers pushing for new laws to roll back renewable energy standards, or to prevent new clean energy businesses from succeeding, that's a problem," Obama said.
"That's not the American way," he added. That's not progress. That's not innovation. That's rent seeking. That's standing in the way of progress."
The 1,000 person audience listened while the president spoke at the National Clean Energy Summit 8.0, the first part of a climate change tour that will end in Alaska next week. At the Las Vegas summit, he spoke bluntly.
"Now, it's one thing if you're consistent in being free market. It's another thing when you're free market until it's solar that's working and people want to buy and suddenly you're not for it any more," he said.
Koch industries and their affiliates have fought clean energy mandates, accusing Obama of unnecessarily meddling in solar energy and forcing the mandates forward as he has done with healthcare.
In his second term, Obama has worked hard to push forward a progressive agenda regarding climate change, including $1 billion in loan guarantee authority for government-affiliated rooftop solar programs, according to the New York Times.
"I noticed you got a lot of sun around here," he said to his Nevada audience, adding that the “solar industry now employs twice as many Americans as mining coal.”
Between 2009 and 2014, solar power prices have dropped 78 percent. The president hopes that, despite "resistance from some fossil fuel interests," solar energy will become widespread in the near future.
“We’re here today because we believe that no challenge poses a greater threat to our future than climate change,” Obama said. “But we’re also here because we hold another belief, and that is, we are deeply optimistic about American ingenuity.”