“A Return to Science” by Center for American Progress
December 11, 2008, 1:00am

According to the annual Climate Change Performance Index published yesterday, the United States has third-worst record on tackling greenhouse gas emissions, just beating Saudi Arabia. Annual greenhouse emissions are now 17 percent higher than they were in 1990. The Bush environmental record will be remembered as one that placed politics over science, neutered international efforts, and allowed big industry to shape policy. President-elect Obama has shown that he intends to fill the void created by Bush and will allow science to dictate policy. Today, reports indicate that Obama will select Dr. Steven Chu as Secretary of Energy, Carol Browner as head of the new National Energy Council, and Lisa Jackson as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator. Nancy Sutley, Los Angeles’s deputy mayor for energy and environment, will chair Obama’s Council on Environmental Quality. Although Chu “is likely to focus his attention on the Energy Department’s core missions: basic science, nuclear weapons and cleaning up a nuclear-weapons manufacturing complex contaminated since the Cold War,” his selection is a strong signal of Obama’s progressive intentions for science-based climate policy. If confirmed, the new team will be working closely with leaders in Congress such as Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), the new chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, to forge a new path in solving the climate crisis. Commenting on Obama’s personnel selections, CAP’s Director of Climate Strategy Daniel J. Weiss said, “After the anti-science Bush administration, this is like going to a Mensa meeting after eight years of being trapped in the Flat Earth Society.”

From The Progress Report