President Obama has announced the nomination of Cathy Zoi for the Department of Energy's Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). You may not immediately recognize Zoi's name, but you will recognize her former boss: Al Gore. Zoi is the founding chief executive officer of the Alliance for Climate Protection, which is behind such campaigns as Repower America. The Alliance had been established and chaired by former Vice President Al Gore as a multimillion-dollar effort to emphasize the urgency and solvability of global warming.
Zoi had also served as the Chief of Staff in the White House Office on Environmental Policy in the Clinton-Gore administration, and had been a manager at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), where she worked on Energy Star. Zoi has experience battling global warming in Australia, as well as in the private sector in the U.S.
At the same time, Obama said he plans to nominate Dr. Steven Koonin as Under Secretary for Science at DOE. Koonin is Chief Scientist for BP, and has been heavily involved in the multinational's investments in renewable technologies. (Of course, BP has long been criticized by greens for the pittance it actually spends on renewable energy, compared to its massive operating and R&D budgets. A number of groups pointed out that BP spent more money on its now-famous logo and name change than it actually had on clean tech, with some dubbing it "Beyond Prepostrous.")
If Koonin gets the job, one can hope that he will make renewable energy a serious national effort, beyond mere window dressing.
For their part, Repower America has a fresh message for the country: close the "carbon pollution loophole"! According to the group's new campaign, which launches today, we need to muster the political clout to rein in dirty fossil fuel power plants. Then, use the money to stimulate new green jobs expanding the renewable energy sector.
It's a hopeful idea to heat up the cool economy while working toward cooling a heated planet. Here's the video:
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