US president-elect Barack Obama is expected to select Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Chu(朱棣文) to be his energy secretary, US media reported on Thursday.
Chu shared the 1997 Nobel Prize for Physics for developing methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light. He has since focused on climate change for several years, saying last year that the best scientist have realized that the world is facing a “crisis situation.”
Chu has been head of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California since 2004, which specializes in alternative and renewable energy, particularly the development of carbon-neutral sources of energy.
In other key appointments, Obama plans to name Carol Browner to a new White House post, coordinating policy related to energy, the environment and climate across various departments, the Washington Post reported.
Browner was the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for eight years during the administration of former president Bill Clinton. She is currently at the Albright Group, an investment advisory firm that focuses on emerging markets.
Obama was also to pick Lisa Jackson, former head of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, to lead the EPA.
At a private meeting Tuesday with former vice president Al Gore, Obama said delaying action on climate change was no longer an option. He has pledged an aggressive effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the US — including forcing dirty companies to pay for pollution permits — and re-engaging in international climate talks.
The president-elect has also made investments in clean energy a cornerstone of his economic recovery plan as he tries to pull the US out of a year-long recession.
Obama is also expected to put a former leader of the Senate in charge of coordinating efforts to overhaul the US health care system.
The appointment of former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle as the Health and Human Services secretary and as chief of a new White House Office of Health Reform will be announced Thursday in Chicago, said a Democratic official familiar with the plan.
“He will be the White House’s voice on this critical issue” of health care, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the development.
The US is one of the few Western countries without universal health care.