Foreign Policy Blogs

More on Obama's Team

There really is a Murderer’s Row of environmentalists, renewable energy advocates and all-purpose rainbow warriors coming into the Obama administration and springing into action.

The three newest additions to the team are very strong.  Gina McCarthy is Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).  The “Hartford Courant” reports here that McCarthy is being named to the critical post of assistant administrator for Air and Radiation at EPA.  The paper further reports here that McCarthy “… was a key player in the creation of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a market-based program in 10 Northeastern states to cut emissions from power plants.”  This program, of course, is a critical precursor to the federal cap-and-trade regime that is forthcoming.

For DOE, Obama has named Kristina M. Johnson, provost of the Johns Hopkins University, to be an Undersecretary.  She is a powerhouse, as the “Baltimore Sun” reports here.  Before JHU, she was “dean of engineering at Duke University. An award-winning electrical engineer, she holds 129 U.S. and foreign patents or patents pending and is the co-founder of several startup companies.”  Her portfolio at DOE will include renewables and energy efficiency.

Van Jones, an intellectual and activist – one likes to think that the two can very much, and perhaps absolutely should, go hand in hand – has been appointed as a special White House advisor “…working with agencies and departments to advance the administration’s climate and energy initiatives,” as “US News & World Report” tells us here.  For more on Jones, see this profile from my favorite journalist, Betsy Kolbert, writing in the “New Yorker” a couple of months ago.

Meanwhile, I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the scandalous, bizarre practice of Senators unilaterally placing nominations on “hold.” NJ Senator Bob Menendez had been holding up the nominations of key administration appointees John Holdren, as science advisor to the President, and Jane Lubchenco as NOAA administrator – because he had a problem with what might be Obama’s tack on Cuba!  Greenwire, via the “NY Times,” reports that the hold was lifted and the relevant committee has approved both of these superlative, critically important players with flying colors.  Menendez backed off in a big hurry, apparently, because of the considerable hue and cry.  So Holdren and Lubchenco should be on the job very soon.  That’s very important in a number of ways, as the whole team is gathering steam for the critical months ahead.



Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.

Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change