Two Mondays ago the Big O introduced his energy and environment squad. Then he warned that climate change and the nation’s dependence on foreign sources of energy are tough problems even in good economic times.
Acknowledging that previous administrations failed to make a dent in these areas, the president-elect said “this time must be different.”
“This will be a leading priority of my presidency and a defining test of our time,” he added. “We cannot accept complacency, nor accept any more broken promises.”
Obama has asked Carol Browner, his newly minted White House coordinator for energy and climate, to take the lead on policy development for global warming and energy security. Browner had been President Clinton’s chief at the EPA.
Until the US gets a grip on its fossil fuel emissions, developing countries will never take the matter seriously. This includes China and India.
The Big O also tapped Nobel laureate Steven Chu to head Energy and tasked him to execute on his campaign promises including a cap-and-trade scheme to curb greenhouse emissions and investment in energy technology innovation.
That investment is likely to be dwarfed by energy infrastructure projects ticketed for the Big O’s stimulus package, meaning that Chu must have been quite busy over the holidays.