x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Obama appoints 'green team'

President-elect Barack Obama is praised for his energy and environmental team appointments, which include a Nobel prize-winning physicist.

Barack Obama listens as Energy Secretary nominee Steven Chu addresses the media in Chicago.
Barack Obama listens as Energy Secretary nominee Steven Chu addresses the media in Chicago.

WASHINGTON// President-elect Barack Obama has appointed a Nobel prize winning physicist as his new energy secretary. Steven Chu will assume the position while Carol Browner, a confidante of former Vice President Al Gore, will lead a White House council on energy and climate. A transition official said Democratic Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado was Obama's choice to run the Interior Department, which oversees oil and gas drilling on public lands and manages the nation's parks and wildlife refuges.

The president-elect said he picked a team that signaled his determination to tackle global warming quickly and develop alternative forms of energy, vowing to "move beyond our oil addiction and create a new hybrid economy". Chu, 60, is director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, and is a leading advocate of reducing greenhouse gases by developing new energy sources. The president-elect made clear he plans to take energy policy in a sharply different direction from President George W. Bush, promising aggressive moves to address global warming and pump money and support into research into alternative energy sources.

"America must develop new forms of energy and new ways of using it," he said. Obama said the dangers of being too heavily dependent on foreign oil "are eclipsed only by the long-term threat of climate change, which, unless we act, will lead to drought and famine abroad, devastating weather patterns and terrible storms on our shores, and disappearance of our coastline at home." Congressional Democrats and environmental groups praised the selections. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi referred to the picks as "an extraordinary green team that is more than equal to the enormous task of protecting our planet, launching a clean energy economy with millions of green jobs, and providing a more affordable and secure energy future." * AP