Splitsville for Obama and His Chief Climate Adviser

Heather Zichal’s announcement comes just months after she finished crafting the president’s new climate plan.
CSIS: Center for Strategic & International Studies/Flickr

CSIS: Center for Strategic & International Studies/Flickr

What two things do you say to Barack Obama’s climate and energy czar?

“Who are you?” and “Catch ya later.”

You might never have heard the name Heather Zichal (then again, being a Grist reader, you might very well have).

Zichal is the White House official who has done much of the president’s heavy lifting on climate policy. Which, despite promises made by Obama during the 2008 election campaign, had not been a particularly admirable amount. But then June 2013 rolled around, and Obama unveiled a far-reaching climate plan that had been crafted by Zichal — who by then had risen to become his senior climate and energy adviser. Zichal was also instrumental in developing new federal standards for the fuel efficiency of cars.

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The Climate Desk is a journalistic collaboration dedicated to exploring the impact—human, environmental, economic, political—of a changing climate. The partners are The Atlantic, Center for Investigative Reporting, Grist, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Mother Jones, Slate, and Wired.