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Obama Picks Chicago's Schools Chief For Cabinet

Arne Duncan is a friend and basketball partner of the president-elect's.
Arne Duncan is a friend and basketball partner of the president-elect's. (Charles Rex Arbogast - AP)
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Yesterday afternoon, Obama formally rolled out the members of his climate change and energy team. Obama, vowing to address global warming and alternative energy sources, named Nobel laureate physicist Steven Chu as his energy secretary, Lisa P. Jackson as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Nancy Sutley as chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality, and Carol M. Browner as assistant to the president for energy and climate change, a new post.

At a news conference in Chicago, Obama said that Chu "values science." Last week, before making the choice, the president-elect met with former vice president Al Gore to discuss climate change, part of a return-to-science approach that Obama promised during the campaign.

Appearing in Chicago yesterday, Obama described his team as uniquely qualified to confront the challenges of global warming. He said past promises to seek renewable energy sources, long unfulfilled, must be met.

"This time has to be different. This time we cannot fail, nor can we be lulled into complacency just because the price at the pump has gone down, for now, from $4 per gallon," Obama said, acknowledging one of the greatest challenges -- falling gasoline prices -- to his hope of giving renewable energy a sense of urgency. He may also, his aides admit, have difficulty overhauling the nation's approach to energy in the midst of an economic crisis that has frozen new investments and wiped out funding for research and development.

But Obama promised a "new energy economy," starting with his economic recovery program, which he said would not only protect the environment but also create jobs, make businesses more efficient and improve national security.

Earlier yesterday, Obama convened his proposed national security team, including James L. Jones as national security adviser, Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state and Janet Napolitano as secretary of homeland security, in Chicago.

Staff writers Amit R. Paley and Maria Glod contributed to this report.

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