Muckraker: Grist on Politics

We caught up with Terry Tamminen for a few minutes this afternoon to talk about the Governors’ Global Climate Summit, an event he played a pivotal role in organizing. Tamminen, an influential wonk who has the ear of Republicans and Democrats alike, predicted that President-elect Obama would create a high-level position in his administration to focus on climate issues. (See previous Grist interviews with Tamminen here and here.)

Tamminen stressed that states and local governments have already gotten a substantial head start on climate policy, offering incoming president Obama a foundation on which to craft a federal program. The summit convened this week in Los Angeles is meant to ratify and extend those state efforts — he said attendees will reconvene, perhaps as early as six months from now, to assess their progress on the agreements reached here.

In the following video, Tamminen chats with Grist’s David Roberts about the significance of the governors’ summit, the role of the EPA in addressing climate change, and what to expect from the Obama administration.

In 2003, Tamminen was appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to serve as the secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency; he later served as the governor’s chief policy adviser. In that role, he orchestrated the state’s landmark climate plan, and then went on to work with other governors, including Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R).

Tamminen is the author of Lives Per Gallon: The True Cost of Our Oil Addiction, and he is the director of the climate policy program at the New America Foundation. His name has also been tossed around as a possible climate czar under Barack Obama.