Thursday, Nov 6, 2008
U.S. environmental groups see Barack Obama’s presidential victory as a chance to undo the Bush legacy on global warming, and one idea they are discussing is the possibility of a White House “climate czar”.
Members of the environmental community in and around Washington say such a post could oversee various government agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department, to focus on tackling global warming and fostering clean energy to jump-start the flagging economy.
“For the first time, candidates and voters are really connecting the dots between energy, the environment and the economy,” said Cathy Duvall, Sierra Club’s political director. She said at a news briefing that Obama had made it clear that investing in cleaner energy would be a top priority in his plan for economic recovery.
One way to coordinate these interrelated issues would be to have one person in charge, based at the White House, according to sources in the environmental community familiar with the idea.
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They said this could be part of a White House special council on energy and environment, analogous to the National Security Council. This kind of organization could be more effective than the Environmental Protection Agency has been under President George W. Bush, one source said.
Obama made clear in his acceptance speech on Tuesday that he sees climate change as a critical problem, along with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the wilting economy.