Friday, December 19, 2008

The Green Team

PE Barack Obama winds up a final week of Cabinet and White House appointments on Friday with picks that further demonstrate his commitment to address the Climate Crisis and create a green energy economy.

He will announce his Secretary of Labor today as California Rep. Hilda Solis, who in addition to winning strong labor support, is a green energy advocate who wrote a measure that authorized $125 million for work force training programs in areas such as energy efficiency retrofitting and "green building" construction." That precisely an item that Obama has said will be part of his economic stimulus/rescue package.

Obama is expected to also make two science appointments--Harvard physicist John Holdren as science advisor and Oregon State marine biologist Jane Lubchenco to head the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) are well-known advocates for strong action on the Climate Crisis. The Washington Post calls their appointment "the strongest signal yet that he will reverse Bush administration policies on energy and global warming."

The Green Team now includes Energy Secretary Steven Chu (another strong advocate for Climate Crisis action), Commerce Secretary Bill Richardson (another strong advocate for a green energy economy as well), White House advisor Carol Browner (former EPA Sec. and close to Al Gore), and EPA appointee Lisa Jackson, as well as two appointees with particular expertise on water issues--sure to be important as the Climate Crisis advances: Sec. of Interior Ken Salazar and Nancy Sutley, new head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Even Budget Director Peter Orszag has strong interest in the Climate Crisis. VPE Joe Biden and his office will be vital contributors to the Green Deal, and Sec. of State Hillary Clinton is on the same page as Obama on both the green energy economy and the Climate Crisis.

Though they are all committed to action on the Climate Crisis and in creating the Green Deal, the Green Team is a healthy mix: scientists with strong views, seasoned administrators and elected officials with a record of bridging differences and getting things done. Also a gender and ethnic diversity that is especially important because everyone needs to feel included in the Green Deal, and feel the urgency of the Climate Crisis. For too long, the environmental movement has been mostly white and upper middle class. We're all in this together.

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