Chairman Edward J. Markey will host President Obama’s top climate, energy and science advisers along with other energy experts at a forum at MIT on Monday, April 13 to discuss the future of clean energy in national policy and in the Massachusetts economy. They will discuss clean energy solutions for creating jobs, improving our national security and protecting our planet from global warming. Last week, Rep. Markey released draft legislation that will be the main congressional vehicle to push clean energy technologies and create millions of new jobs.Speakers
- Chairman Edward J. Markey (D-Malden), Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and Energy and Environment Subcommittee
- Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change
- John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology
- Ernest J. Moniz, Professor of Physics and Cecil and Ida Green Distinguished Professor, MIT
- Dr. Susan Hockfield, President, MIT
- Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates
- Massachusetts clean energy CEOs and others
Wong Auditorium, Tang Center, Building E51, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
From the Wonk Room.
Obama’s climate scientists are collateral damage in an unrelated fight over Cuba policy with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ). Menendez is responsible for an anonymous hold on the nominations of Dr. John Holdren and Dr. Jane Lubchenco, both world-renowned experts on climate change and the physical sciences. Holdren and Lubchenco “sailed through” their confirmation hearing on February 12. But as the Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin reports, Menendez has anonymously blocked their full Senate confirmation “as leverage to get Senate leaders’ attention for a matter related to Cuba rather than questioning the nominees’ credentials.” Menendez, a Cuban American, took to the Senate floor last night “to deliver a withering denunciation” of proposed changes to U.S.-Cuban relations included in the budget omnibus:
We should evaluate how to encourage the regime to allow a legitimate opening – not in terms of cell phones and hotel rooms that Cubans can’t afford, but in terms of the right to organize, the right to think and speak what they believe. However, what we are doing with this Omnibus bill, Mr. President, is far from evaluation, and the process by which these changes have been forced upon this body is so deeply offensive to me, and so deeply undemocratic, that it puts the Omnibus appropriations package in jeopardy, in spite of all the other tremendously important funding that this bill would provide.
Menendez points to a memo prepared by the staff of Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) as recommending a policy change that Menendez worries could “rescue the regime by improving its economic fortunes,” namely giving Cuba “financial credit to purchase agricultural products from the U.S.”
These picks have in fact languished for months, having been put forward by President Obama on December 20. Lubchenco’s nomination to be administrator of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) has been stalled in part by the turmoil over finding a Secretary of Commerce, whose department includes NOAA. NOAA career staff are gamely working to draft a spending plan for the $830 million in the recently passed recovery act, and energy adviser Carol Browner is managing climate policy from the White House with a skeleton staff. But the Office of Science and Technology Policy is a key White House office, and its director Holdren is meant to be the top science adviser to the president. The “wise counsel” of Holdren and Lubchenco is irreplaceable, especially given the scope of the challenges our nation faces.
Menendez spokesman Afshin Mohamadi declined to comment on the putatively anonymous hold. “He takes a back seat to no one on the environment,” Mohamadi discussed by telephone, saying the senator’s “record best reflects his feelings on the urgency of combatting climate change.” When asked if Sen. Menendez hopes to have climate legislation on President Obama’s desk before the end of 2009, Mohamadi explained that Sen. Menendez believes it “would be helpful to have it in place going into the December international climate change conference in Copenhagen.”
As first reported by Science Magazine’s ScienceInsider, “President-elect Barack Obama has picked physicist John Holdren to be the president’s science adviser.”
Holdren is well known for his work on energy, climate change, and nuclear proliferation. Trained in fluid dynamics and plasma physics, Holdren branched out into policy early in his career. He has led the Woods Hole Research Center for the past 3 years and served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2006.
At ClimateProgress, Joseph Romm argues Holden has “more combined expertise on both climate science and clean energy technology than any other person who could plausibly have been named science adviser,” and that this means “Obama is dead serious about the strongest possible action on global warming.”
SolveClimate has a long bibliography of Holdren’s speeches, interviews, and reports online.
One such speech, which lays out how he believes the United States can meet the climate challenge, was given September 13, 2007 in San Francisco: