Podesta pledges ‘leadership role’ on climate, energy

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Just a week into his new job at the White House, John Podesta made a public vow today to play a leading role in shaping the Obama administration’s climate and energy policies.

“The president asked me to return to the White House,” the former Clinton administration chief of staff said, to work with top officials “to both ensure the implementation of the Climate Action Plan that you’ve heard about and to push forward with great vigor to transform our economy — one that’s inefficient, high-carbon-based — to one that’s low-carbon-based and is building sustainability, and to do it with the resolve that we have to build more resilience into the economy overall.

“So I was happy to come back and, amongst other things, really take a leadership role on that,” Podesta said at a White House conference featuring women working on climate change finance and investment.

Podesta’s appointment as Obama’s counselor was hailed by many greens and opponents of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. He is the founder of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress with an extensive background on energy and climate change policies, and environmentalists are hoping he’ll push the administration to the left on their pet issues.

His remarks today indicated that he’s planning to tackle those issues right off the bat from his new post.

Podesta, whose arm was in a sling during today’s conference, joked about the perils of his new job.

“I wanted to be here this morning to demonstrate one of two possibilities,” he said. “Either that working on climate and energy in the White House is a very dangerous occupation or, more importantly, to say how important I think this dialogue and discussion is.”

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