January 26, 2009
I had the pleasure of responding to an invitation from Greg Nelson and participating this morning as PSR’s representative in a White House ceremony at which President Obama announced his initial steps on energy and the environment. The content of his announcements were covered this morning in an anticipatory piece on the front page of The New York Times and I am sure will be in tonight and tomorrow’s news.
The invitation came at the last minute, yesterday, Sunday afternoon in fact but an audience of 80-100 folks appeared, mostly good friends of ours from the national environmental community. This group rarely has occasion to be together in the same room and the mood was celebratory. Members of the President’s energy and environment “team” were present including: Steven Chu, John Holdren, Carol Browner, Lisa Jackson, and others.
The President spoke for 10 minutes and was very business-like. The President’s tone sent a clear message. He opened with the urgent need to respond to the financial crises and linked his remarks on energy independence, CAFE standards, green house gas emissions to job creation and economic stabilization. He spoke of global warming as a matter of fact that we all understand and want action on. He spoke of the importance of science-based policy.
His presentation was low-key, as if he were saying: “I’m not telling you anything you don’t know… and here is what we are going to need to do…” I found listening to him a remarkable experience, like a light coming on after 8, or has it been 20, years in the darkness. Unlike previous White House events there were no photo ops; there will be no signed photographs of me with the President. He greeted a few of his own people in the front row and left the room. I am impressed.
I hope we see an event like this on nuclear weapons in the near future. This is a moment both to celebrate and to redouble our efforts.
Mike McCally, MD, PhD
Politics | Tags: Barack Obama, Carol Browner, Global warming, John Holdren, Nuclear weapon, Steven Chu, The New York Times Company, White House | Comment (0)