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Obama says he will act quickly on climate change

13 Nov 2008

The Guardian

Barack Obama, who has spent much of the time since his election closeted with his advisers in Chicago, sent a strong signal yesterday that he plans a decisive break with George Bush on environmental policy once he moves into the White House.

The move was part of a carefully coded series of messages from Obama meant to reassure America and the world about the shape of his administration, which does not assume power until January 20.

Also yesterday, Obama appointed Madeleine Albright, who served as Bill Clinton's secretary of state, and Jim Leach, a former Republican member of Congress from Iowa who endorsed his campaign, to meet international delegations visiting Washington for the G20 summit at the weekend. Obama will not attend the summit, and aides have repeatedly noted that Bush remains president until January 20.

But while Obama and Joe Biden, the vice president-elect, have been elusive since the election, the Democrat has delivered a number of messages intended to heighten anticipation of changes to come.

In one such signal the president-elect sent Jason Grumet, a policy adviser mentioned for a possible energy post, to an environmental conference in Washington to offer reassurances that there would be swift movement on climate change legislation. "The whole transition team felt it important to be here," Grumet said. "I think it is going to be a very very busy 2009, and I think we are going to need all of you to be on top of your game."

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