Budget aide to assume climate role at White House

The White House has picked John Podesta's successor on climate change initiatives.

Washington (CNN)A young but trusted budget adviser to President Barack Obama will assume responsibility for the White House's climate agenda when John Podesta, a veteran Democratic operative, leaves the administration next month, presumably to take a role on a potential Hillary Clinton campaign.

A White House official said Wednesday that Brian Deese, currently serving as the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, would take responsibility for climate and energy issues as Obama serves the last two years of his term. Aides say Obama is seeking more ways to curb climate change, including brokering deals with other countries to reduce carbon emissions.
Deese, 36, briefly served as the acting director of Obama's budget office last year. He was a central figure in the auto industry bailout during Obama's first term and helped honcho the tax plan the President unveiled in Tuesday's State of the Union address. In his new role he'll carry the title "senior adviser."
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    "Brian is kind of the whole package -- policy, strategy, insight to legislative and public affairs matters -- and that's what the President was looking for," Obama's chief of staff Denis McDonough, said in a statement.
    Podesta, who joined the White House in 2013, was behind much of Obama's climate moves over the past year, including putting new restrictions on coal plant emissions and methane. He also helped broker a climate deal with China that Obama announced in Beijing in November.
    The White House hopes a deal can similarly be reached with India, another outsized contributor to global carbon emissions. Aides said both Podesta and Deese would travel with Obama to India this weekend.
    "Brian's experience makes him a particularly good choice to give advice to Denis and the President about how to roll forward and add to the momentum that we began during my tenure here," Podesta said.
    Podesta, who also served in former President Bill Clinton's White House, is widely expected to take a major role in Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, should she decide she's running.
    A key Democratic source said Podesta is "far and away" the No. 1 pick to be the chairman of Clinton's campaign should she jump in the race. She has not yet said she'll seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2016.