Today, President-elect Obama will reportedly hold another news conference — his ninth since becoming president-elect — in which he will announce his energy team: the people who will “green” America. And, of course, the mainstream media isn’t reporting that Obama’s environmental views pose an even greater long-run risk to our economy than his desire to “spread the wealth around.”
Policies such as “cap and trade” which flow from the “global warming” alarmism industry, now the “climate change” alarmism industry since the planet has been cooling modestly for the past decade, are a dagger aimed at the heart of whatever economy we have left.
A New York Times editorial writes that the League of Conservation Voters are calling them the “Green Dream Team”. Reports have said they will include Steven Chu as Secretary of Energy and Nancy Sutley as chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
He is also said to be considering Lisa Jackson in the crucial position of head of the Environmental Protection Agency and former EPA administrator Carol Browner in the not-yet-fully-defined position of “White House Energy Coordinator.”
Chu is a co-winner of the 1997 Nobel Price in Physics for his work on the cooling and trapping of atoms with lasers. Clearly a smart guy, but it’s all downhill from there in terms of his fitness to be Energy Secretary.
Chu is part of the Copenhagen Climate Council, an organization whose “manifesto” (an appropriately Marxist term for a position statement) intents to “help avert a potentially catastrophic change in climate,” adding that “humanity has created this problem” and predicting the usual range of destruction and pestilence if people do not follow their prescription which includes the economically suicidal medicine of “emissions trading” and support for “sustainable agriculture”, as if what we’re doing now is somehow not sustainable.
In a recent interview, Chu predicted more and stronger tropical storms, despite many who actually understand such things saying there is no basis for such predictions, and despite actual storm data suggesting Chu is absolutely wrong. He claims that the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report underestimates likely temperature increases even though the IPCC has consistently overestimated the planet’s temperature increases and even though not one IPCC model says that the slightly cooling temperatures of the past 10 years are even theoretically possible.
You get the idea: Steven Chu is a charter member of the Al Gore cult of global warming, and likely to be against any policy which realistically increases American energy independence or decreases the cost of energy. I would no more select an opponent of our available sources of energy to be the Secretary of Energy than I would select a pacifist to be our Secretary of Defense.
Los Angeles Deputy Mayor for Energy and Environment of Los Angeles, Nancy Sutley, looks to be Obama’s choice to head the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). Sutley has had various positions in the EPA, but is equally well-known for being a gay activist – another Obama pick to placate the various activist parts of his far-left base. Sutley has a decent reputation overall, with the range of supporters and critics one would expect from a long-time bureaucrat.
If I have little to say about Nancy Sutley, it’s because there is little to find, not very different from the under-the-radar office she is apparently about to manage. The CEQ is based on the dubious assumption that “nearly all federal activities affect the environment in some way and mandated that before federal agencies make decisions, they must consider the effects of their actions on the quality of the human environment” and sets itself the equally meaningless goal of “of harmonizing our economic, environmental and social aspirations.”
According to the Institute for Energy Research, “Though a little-known office to most Americans, the chairmanship of the president’s Council on Environmental Quality is among the most important positions in the executive branch — especially on the crucial issues of energy affordability and availability. And given the incoming administration’s stated intention to use the Clean Air Act as a vehicle to restructure our economy and punish those who produce carbon-based jobs for carbon-based workers, the role the Council will play in the day-to-day lives of American families is likely to see a significant, and potentially harmful, expansion.”
Carol Browner, likely to become some sort of “climate czar”, though the Obama administration apparently doesn’t like the term, was the head of the EPA during the Clinton Administration. Politico.com describes her as “a fierce advocate of legislation to slow climate change” — something that reminds me of one of my favorite bumper stickers: “Stop Continental Drift!”
Browner paints herself as a moderate, as practical, but what does that really mean for someone who believes that global warming is “the biggest environmental crisis the world has ever faced?”
In a lecture Browner gave at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, she said she “does not advocate an extremist approach”, but does call for emissions trading and a federal program to force businesses to comply with her prescriptions for “climate change.” Sound familiar? Each of these snake-oil salesman has their favorite anti-global-warming drugs for our economy…guaranteed to make the essentially healthy patient mortally ill.
Browner’s online bio notes that “she recently joined the board of APX, Inc., the leading infrastructure provider for environmental and energy markets. She also serves on the board of several non-profit organizations, including as chair of the National Audubon Society…and as a member of the Board of the Directors for the Center for American Progress, the Alliance for Climate Protection and the League of Conservation voters.”
In other words, Browner works with left-wing organizations which raise money through the junk science of “global warming” and lobby to prevent the development of efficient and available energy sources, and then she works as a consultant or board member of companies which profit from the costs those environmental groups impose on society.
Although it is unknown just what Browner’s responsibilities would be, one thing is sure: She fits perfectly into Obama’s far-left environmental team.
The final expected major player on that team is Lisa Jackson, likely to take Browner’s old job at EPA. Jackson is Chief of Staff to New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, prior to which she was the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection which she came to after 16 years at the EPA, including managing Superfund cleanup projects while working for Browner and therefore with Sutley.
Jackson is presumably the source of Governor Corzine’s views about climate and the environment. So we know something about her views from the governor’s statement that “if we as a people continue on a course of inaction the planet will continue to warm, water levels will continue to rise and Atlantic City and our coastal communities will drown.” This despite the fact that Atlantic City is still dry after what the alarmists claim to have been decades of warming.
Jackson is leading New Jersey’s participation in a ten-state “Greenhouse Gas Initiative” designed to force “cap and trade” policies on the region. I say let them do it — that way the rest of the country can watch the damage and avoid the same path.
She also worked with the NJ Board of Public Utilities to set a requirement that 6.5% of the state’s electrical use must come from renewable energy sources by 2009, with 20% by 2020. These requirements are unlikely to be implemented without substantially raising energy costs in the state, all in pursuit of mythical but feel-good benefits, such as preventing the warming of a planet that is already cooling – as part of complex cycles that have been occurring for millennia without our help and regardless of our activities.
With Jackson you can expect “cap and trade” policies expressly designed to maximize your cost of heating your home or powering your office or factory. It isn’t really a pro-environment agenda; it’s an anti-capitalist one. George Will put it best: “Today’s “green left” is the old “red left” revised.”
The apparent selections for Barack Obama’s environmental team are as much a gift to the anti-capitalist left as they could have hoped for, a team far more anti-business than Obama’s economic advisors. Indeed, the coming battles between those two groups should make an interesting spectacle. Let’s hope the American economy isn’t mortally wounded in the crossfire.
Sign up to the Human Events newsletter