Obama hosts climate and energy planning session at White House

March 8, 2013
President Barack Obama waves to supporters as he arrives at the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte on Sept. 5, 2012. (AP) (AP)

President Obama held a meeting Thursday that included a dozen outside experts and business executives about what energy and climate policies he should pursue in his second term, according to a participant, White House officials and others briefed on the meeting.

The president asked the guests for ideas on a wide variety of energy and climate issues with an eye toward what he might try to accomplish, not only through legislation but also executive action and public-private partnerships. Topics included energy efficiency, modernizing the nation’s electrical grid to make it more resilient and “green” as well as the need for more information about  leakage of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, from hydraulic fracturing of shale gas.

The group did not discuss the Keystone XL pipeline permit, one of the most controversial climate decisions Obama will make this year.

The session included a utility executive, former Colorado governor Bill Ritter, independent consultant Sue Tierney and about eight White House officials, including the president’s chief science adviser, John Holdren, domestic policy adviser Cecilia Muñoz and climate and energy adviser Heather Zichal.

Sources said that the topics were consistent with issues Obama mentioned in his inaugural and state of the union speeches, and that they focused on “the art of the possible.” Sources talked about the meeting on condition of anonymity because the president had asked that they not reveal specifics about the meeting.

“During the meeting, the president reiterated his commitment to a cleaner and more secure energy future,” said a White House official who asked for anonymity.

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