In talks and lectures, Chu also stresses the need for improving energy-efficient technologies and their multiple payoffs. "Just refrigerator efficiency saves more energy than all that we're generating from renewables, excluding hydroelectric power," he said this summer. "I cannot impress upon you how important energy efficiency is. It doesn't mean you eat lukewarm food and your beers are lukewarm. You can still have it; you just make a better thing."
It is still unclear at this point what duties Browner's role will entail, and to what extent she and Chu will work together and with President Obama, to develop new energy policies. She is currently the leader of Obama's energy and environment transition team and enjoys strong support among top congressional Democrats. She has also advocated for letting California regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars—something the Bush administration's EPA has refused to allow.
Jackson, who recently left her post at New Jersey's environment department to become chief of staff to Gov. Jon Corzine, receives positive reviews from state environmentalists, although some grumble that she has at times made too many concessions to business and industry.
New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittell said of Jackson's management style: "She has a good background, she brings a common sense approach to the environment, and she is willing to stick her neck out—that's something a lot of commissioners don't do."
- Read more about how environmentalists hope Obama will revitalize the EPA .