Podesta to be White House Advisor

The New York Times reported December 9 that John Podesta will join the White House as an advisor to the President on climate, health care, and other issues for one year. He will not work on the Keystone XL pipeline. Mr. Podesta is the founder of the Center for American Progress and previously served as Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton.

USDA, Navy Farm to Fleet Initiative

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced in a December 10 press call the creation of the Farm to Fleet Initiative. The project is designed to fuel Navy ships with advanced biofuels.

GHG Regs Required for Oversees Coal Plant Financing

The U.S. Export-Import Bank’s board of directors determined December 12 that foreign governments would be required to put GHG reduction regulations in place before domestic companies could secure financing support to build coal-fired power plants abroad. Exceptions will be made for plants in poor countries that use the most efficient coal technology available and where no other alternative is economically feasible.

Public-Private Partnerships Crucial for Success

Panelists at the Defense, National Security and Climate Change Symposium December 12 agreed that public-private partnerships are crucial for federal agencies in meeting renewable energy goals. President Obama called on federal agencies week before last to generate at least 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020, nearly tripling the 7.5 percent they must currently obtain.

Task Force Holds First Meeting

The Climate Change Task Force met for the first time December 10 to lay out priorities for how the federal government deal with state, local, and tribal leaders address negative impacts of climate change. The task force will meet thrice more before issuing recommendations next November.