President-elect Barack Obama named his energy and environmental chiefs and vowed a new dawn for US leadership on combating climate change after eight years of Republican foot-dragging.
Obama nominated Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Chu as his energy secretary, placing the renewable energy expert on the frontlines of climate change policy and ending the nation’s “addiction” to foreign oil.
“This will be a leading priority of my presidency and a defining test of our time. We can’t afford complacency nor accept more broken promises,” Obama told reporters.
“We won’t create a new energy economy overnight. We won’t protect our environment overnight. But we can begin that work right now if we think anew and if we act anew.”
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Chu’s appointment “should send a signal to all that my administration will value science,” Obama added. “We will make decisions based on facts, and we understand that the facts demand bold action.”
Joining Chu will be Lisa Jackson, the New Jersey governor’s chief of staff, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Obama also appointed Carol Browner, who served as EPA administrator under president Bill Clinton, to the new job of White House “climate czar” overseeing the battle against global warming.