WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Jane Lubchenco, a marine ecologist with wide federal government experience, has joined the Biden administration to lead climate and environment efforts at the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the White House said on Friday.
Lubchenco led the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) during the Obama-Biden administration, from 2009 to 2013, where among other things she dealt with the aftermath of the BP underwater oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.
After that she was the State Department’s first U.S. science envoy for the ocean.
President Joe Biden has made tackling climate change a priority, in a reversal of former President Donald Trump’s agenda of slashing regulations on fossil fuels and challenging mainstream climate science.
Lubchenco, who has been a professor at Oregon State University, has long warned that rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere contribute to climate change and ocean acidification, which she has called an “equally evil twin.” She has testified in congressional hearings that acidification is altering the chemistry of the ocean, posing a threat to everything from corals, shellfish and some plankton.
In the newly created role, Lubchenco will be deputy director for climate in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), connecting climate and environmental challenges with health, economic recovery, equity and sustainability.
The OSTP is responsible for the U.S. Global Change Research Program and the National Climate Assessment, among other things. Lubchenco will work with Eric Lander, a geneticist, who Biden nominated as OSTP director. Biden elevated his post to cabinet-level status for the first time.
“A healthy environment and a stable climate are the key to both economic recovery and long-term prosperity that is equitable and just,” Lubchenco said in a release. ocea
Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Marguerita Choy
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