For those of you who thought that the president-elect might be a centrist in liberals clothing, the true colors seem to be emerging in his choices for positions with influence over environmental and energy policy. From a Wall Street Journal editorial 9 days ago, after Clinton-era EPA head Carole Browner was named "energy czar":
The Obama Administration is "sitting on some authority," Ms. Browner warned at the Center for American Progress recently. She says the White House is prepared to use that power "in the event that perhaps there can't be some sort of agreement reached with Congress on how to move legislation." In other words, Ms. Browner will use the threat of brute regulatory force as a political bludgeon if Capitol Hill declines to inflict some carbon tax on voters in the midst of a recession.
Not only will this incur colossal economic costs, but it bypasses normal democratic debate. In that sense it's suggestive of the radicalism of Mr. Obama's climate agenda. When Mr. Obama said during the campaign that he favored "nothing less than the complete transformation of our economy" in the name of global warming, we figured he couldn't mean something so utopian. Maybe he does.
Mr. Obama's latest climate related appointments are just as radical.
Signaling a break with Bush's policies on global warming, Obama named John Holdren, an award-winning environmental policy professor at Harvard University, to head the Office of Science and Technology Policy and co-chair the president's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
Obama called Holdren "one of the most passionate and persistent voices of our time about the growing threat of climate change".
The nominees also include Jane Lubchenco, a world-renowned environmental expert and marine biologist from Oregon, who will head up the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency that monitors global weather patterns and issues major storm forecasts.
These recent picks, along with the naming of Nobel-prize laureate physicist Steven Chu last week to head the Department of Energy, indicated Obama will work to unwind the energy and climate change policies of the Bush administration, which refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.
AFP should have said "rightly refused to ratify" Kyoto.
Perhaps now one country will, and at the worst possible time.