Energy Secretary Steven Chu
Photo: AP Photo / Jose Luis Magana
By Dan Shapley
< < See No. 1-10 in the Greenest 100 Days, The Daily Green's look at nearly 100 actions taken by the Obama Administration in its first 100 days to support environmental protection and a clean energy economy
11-22. President Obama's Cabinet and Advisers
Obama's secretaries and advisers are, for the most part, heavyweights with deep backgrounds in pushing green issues. Here's a look at some of the most prominent and influential:
- Hillary Clinton: Before she was Secretary of State, and before she was a presidential rival to Obama, Clinton was a Senator with an impressive voting record. According to the League of Conservation Voters, she voted for the environment in 90% of chances, and she's now voting for the environment every time she meets with foreign leaders to discuss international action on global warming.
- Stephen Chu: He's a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and outspoken advocate for action on global warming who is now in charge of spending the Department of Energy's biggest energy budget for efficiency and renewable energy research, development and deployment. For that he was also one of The Daily Green's 2009 Heart of Green Award nominees.
- Jane Lubchenko: Bottom line, Obama appointed an expert in global warming, ocean acidification and overfishing to oversee the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, ensuring that the environmental crisis in our oceans won't be ignored.
- Hilda Solis: Never before has such a champion of green jobs lead the Labor Department.
- John Holdren: A scientific heavyweight with ties to Harvard's Kennedy School and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Holdren's expertise is in global warming's impacts, energy technology, nuclear weapons and scientific and technology policy. He's Obama's top science adviser.
- Kathleen Sebelius: The governor of Kansas hasn't, at the time of this writing, been confirmed to the post of Secretary of Health and Human Services, and hasn't yet met her first challenge: Swine flu, and the possibility that a global pandemic originated in factory farms. But as governor she not only stood firmly in the way of new coal-fired power plants, arguing that they were a health and environmental risk we couldn't afford to take, but she also vetoed a bill that would have limited consumer information about synthetic hormones in milk.
- Gen. James L. Jones: As a leader in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, after retiring from the military, Jones argued for energy policies that would have been business-friendly -- but he never stopped arguing that global warming is a serious threat to national security. He isn't Obama's top energy adviser. He is Obama's national security adviser, ensuring that global warming will be considered not just an environmental threat or human health threat, but a national security threat as well.
- Cathy Zoi: Maybe you've never considered the Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the Department of Energy post before. Or heard the name Cathy Zoi. But as the leader of Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection, she relentlessly argued for policies that would combat global warming and reduce consumer energy costs through government investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Now, she's running the government's program on that very subject.
- Van Jones: He all but single-handedly elevated the idea that green jobs could simultaneously transform inner cities through job training and employment and confront global warming through renewable energy and energy efficiency industries. Now, he's a special adviser to President Obama on green jobs, the creation of which is now a central economic recovery policy.
- Carol Browner: Obama's climate and energy czar was Bill Clinton's EPA Administrator and the chair of the National Audubon Society. She's an environmentalist and policy expert of the first order, and has the President's ear.
- Lisa Jackson: There were some doubts about Obama's choice of Jackson as EPA Administrator, but her early actions -- declaring greenhouse gases a public health threat, tackling toxic chemicals and investing stimulus money in Superfund toxic waste cleanups, for instance -- have silenced them.
- Kathleen Merrigan: Filling the No. 2 spot in the Department of Agriculture, Merrigan is a sustainable and organic farming advocate in a department traditionally dominated by agrichemical and industrialized farming interests.