Title: Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change
Reports to: President Obama
Appointed: January 2009
Agency that might have handled similar issues: EPA
• Coordinates energy and climate policy, emphasizing regulation and conservation.
• Was Environmental Protection Agency administrator in the Clinton administration (1993-2000)
• Was Florida Secretary of the Environment (1991 to 1993)
• Founded and continues to serve as a principal of The Albright Group LLC, a global strategy firm led by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Also a principal of Albright Capital Management, an investment advisory firm that concentrates on emerging markets.
• Worked on the Socialist International’s Commission for a Sustainable World Society, which argues that the global community must work collectively to address environmental policies
• Described Bush administration as the “worst environmental administration ever”
• While orchestrating private discussions between the White House and auto industry officials on vehicle fuel efficiency standards, kept the talks as quiet as possible. Mary Nichols, the head of the California Air Resources Board, said, “We put nothing in writing, ever.”
• 2003: A federal judge held the Environmental Protection Agency in contempt for destroying computer files during the Clinton administration that had been sought by a conservative legal foundation. U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth also ordered the EPA to pay the Landmark Legal Foundation’s legal fees and costs because the agency disobeyed his order to preserve the electronic records of Browner, the former EPA chief.
• Browner, who has said that global warming is “the greatest challenge ever faced,” calls herself a “strong backer” of “utility decoupling.” Under “decoupling” policies, utility companies will be required to provide less energy, while the government guarantees the companies steady or increased profits through “taxpayer subsidies” and “voluntary” conservation measures. As author Kathy Shaidle puts it:
“In other words, taxpayers will be given grim Carter-era exhortations to put on sweaters rather than turn up the thermostat and be forced to pick up the tab for utility companies’ reduced earnings, while getting less energy in return.”