Oil sands critic will advise Obama on energy, climate change

John Podesta returns to the White House

Oil sands critic John Podesta will be advising President Obama specifically on energy and climate change, White House spokesman Jay Carney today told reporters aboard Air Force One en route back from South Africa. (I posted earlier today on Podesta’s past criticism of the oil sands. He also co-authored this op-ed with Tom Steyer, a billionaire investor who is spending millions fighting the Keystone XL pipeline.)

From the White House transcript released this evening:

MR. CARNEY:  I can confirm that John Podesta will be joining the White House staff as a counselor to the President.  John, as you know, has an enormous amount of experience and he has dedicated his career to a goal that he shares with the President, which is improving the lives of middle-class Americans. John was a chief of staff to former President Clinton.  He was also transition head for President-elect Obama, and has served as an informal advisor to President Obama over the years as well as to the Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, whose idea it was to bring in John in this role for one year —

Q    One year?

MR. CARNEY:  One year only.  That’s the agreement. And he will advise on a range of issues with a particular focus on issues of energy and climate change, but will obviously bring a lot of experience to bear on behalf of the President and Denis.  So we look forward to having him.