Who will help President Barack Obama meet his ambitious promises to tackle climate change?
Eco-celebrities and tree-climbing protesters need not apply. This is a job for wonks.
The president’s top climate appointees and the outside advisers best positioned to shape his agenda are a team replete with heavy hitters — including green-minded business leaders, buttoned-down environmental lobbyists and bureaucrats who have spent years wrestling with the minutiae of regulations.
At the outset, the group might be light in executives from the industries that would be most affected. Some of the CEOs the administration drew support from during Obama’s first term are leaving the business or moving on to other things.
Still, energy insiders overall say these types of climate thinkers can help Obama advance a second-term strategy that relies on dribbling out regulations and industry-specific agreements with less focus on pushing legislation through Congress.
“There are two types of people who can be influential here,” said Manik Roy, vice president for strategic outreach at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, whose 30-year environmental career includes stops at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Hill. “Those who will shape the options that the president faces — how ambitious will the emission standard be, what the timing of it will be, that sort of thing — and those who will help the president decide whether to go forward with a given option.”