Pro: Her toughness and tact will strike fear in polluters and win global applause
President Obama’s selection of Carol Browner as the assistant to the president for energy and climate change bodes well for correcting the devastating environmental policies of the last eight years.
Browner served two terms as President Clinton’s administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the longest term that any EPA chief has served since the agency’s creation by President Richard Nixon in 1970.
A longtime environmental activist, going back to the days when she worked for Ralph Nader’s Citizen Action public advocacy group, Browner can be expected to be tough on polluters as she was as head of the EPA.
Moreover, Browner—now dubbed the “climate change czarina”—is a disciple of and former aide to then-Sen. Al Gore, now a Nobel Peace Prize laureate for his tireless work to alert the world to the perils of global warming.
With her strong environmental advocacy background, Browner can be expected to be as tough as one can expect from a senior White House adviser. She will team with the new EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to formulate sensible policies that reverse the Bush administration’s eight years of environmental foot-dragging. Jackson earned national plaudits as commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection.
Browner comes to her new post with a “tough as nails” attitude that will grab the attention of wayward industries that have profited from an absence of strong environmental regulation for most of this decade.
Undoubtedly, Browner will enjoy more collegiality in the area of international diplomacy because she knows and agrees with most of the leaders of Europe’s Green Movement. With that background, she’s exactly the right person to gain wide support for U.S. initiatives at the U.N. environmental summit in Copenhagen next December.
She knows full well that heavy-handedness and arrogance with newly emergent industrial nations such as China and India will not further the aims of those who want to see real improvement on the global climate change front.
As the top coordinator between various federal agencies on global climate change issues, Browner will be in a position to succeed in her goal of doubling renewable solar, wind, tidal and geothermal energy output. It’s cause for celebration among avid environmentalists that neither nuclear energy nor the oxymoron of “clean coal” are in her environmental lexicon.
The new energy and environmental czarina also is in position to ensure that economic stimulus funds reach those firms in the growing “green collar” industry that can hire and train a new work force earning sustainable salaries—a move that will reduce unemployment in every area of the nation. Browner has made no secret about the fact that she intends to use her new bully pulpit to do everything possible to jump-start America’s lagging green technological base.
Browner also can use her White House muscle to ensure that the Democratic Senate ratifies the United Nations’ Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions prior to the U.N. summit in Copenhagen. She knows that the United States cannot go into the summit in Denmark as a scofflaw from Kyoto.
A combination of toughness and tact should ensure that Browner’s role as climate change czarina will grab the attention of domestic greenhouse gas-emitting industries while assuaging the concerns of major international greenhouse gas-producing nations such as China and India and calming the fears of nations such as Tuvalu, Kiribati and Bangladesh that are the victims of sea-level rises from the melting of polar icecaps.
When it comes to the environment and global climate change, America has been asleep at the switch for the last eight years. Carol Browner is the perfect person to command rave reviews from the rest of the world by ringing the alarm bell that wakes America from its arrogant slumber.
Wayne Madsen is a contributing writer to the progressive Online Journal (www.onlinejournal.com). Readers may write to him c/o National Press Club, Front Desk, 529 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20045.