Gen. James Jones looks like a good soldier, but President-elect Barack Obama’s choice as a National Security Advisor just spent two years making energy policy with one of the most influential climate-policy footdraggers in the country - the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Far from being a force for good, if Jones pursues the policies that the Chamber has been pushing, he will undermine the security of the United States - and the habitability of the whole planet.
That said, there are reasons to be optimistic.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal this week, Jones said some blunt, sensible things that would have got him in trouble if he was working in the Bush White House:
“You can’t use the word energy independence. That to me is not a valid phrase. It is designed to excite people. But it is simply not going to happen. (Ed note: “Ooh-rah! General, Sir!”)
“But what the U.S. can do is supply leadership and put our own house in order. We can put technology to greater use and can help developing countries skip the pollution era. It is a big part of the national security portfolio.”
If Jones thinks it’s possible to “skip the pollution era” by using “clean coal,” - as the Chamber dissemblers and their big funders, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, like to argue, then the promise of climate change leadership from the Obama administration will come up painfully short.
For the time being, however, Jones probably deserves the benefit of the doubt, regardless of how obstructionist the Chamber is promising to be in the coming months.