New climate adviser disses naysayers, vows to play ‘offense’ 

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, February 26, 2015

John Podesta’s replacement in the White House isn’t wasting any time going after politicians who deny the prevailing views on climate science.

In his first full week on the job since inheriting Podesta’s portfolio as White House climate adviser, Brian Deese sharply criticized some lawmakers who oppose the Obama administration’s climate and energy policies this morning at a climate conference in Washington, D.C.

“Even with the entrenched opposition from some Republicans in Washington, it’s clearer and clearer that those who deny climate change and those who stand in the way of common-sense solutions are becoming isolated,” Deese said. “They are increasingly on the wrong side of the facts, they’re on the wrong side of the science, and they’re also on the wrong side of their own constituents.”

Deese was deputy director of the White House budget office and a longtime aide to President Obama before being hired to assume Podesta’s climate and energy duties this month.

Podesta’s departure to join a likely presidential campaign for Hillary Clinton caused some greens to fret about who would be leading the charge on their pet issue within the White House, but Deese said today that he and the president will keep up an aggressive stance for the remainder of Obama’s term.

Deese played off Obama’s football analogy that he’s in the fourth quarter of his presidency. “I am a Patriots fan, and so after this year’s Super Bowl, I am quite aware that big things can happen in the fourth quarter,” Deese said, referring to the New England Patriots’ comeback victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

“We are looking at the next two years of climate action as an opportunity to go on offense, and we intend to stay there between now and the end of the administration,” Deese added. “We are determined, we’re energized and, most importantly, we are hopeful about the prospects of making real change.”

The budget expert also signaled that economics will be a prominent theme in his arguments for tackling climate change.

“I come at this from an economic policy background, and I think when you look at the economic case, it, too, is becoming more and more persuasive,” he said.

“Climate change is already imposing costs, costs on families, communities from extremely damaging storms to less dramatic but persistent impacts like nuisance floods, low-level local flooding affecting coastal cities like Annapolis and Miami now at occasions as often as high tide. Lower and more intense heat waves put outdoor workers from farmers to construction workers at risk and slow the rate at which they can work safely,” he said.

“These costs accrue to the American taxpayer, as well.”