For the past eight years our energy and environmental policies have been run by children. Here are a few examples of the Bush administration’s irresponsibility and lack of foresight, courtesy of Our Broken Government, a new report by the Center for Public Integrity:
- No Robust, Sustained Alternative Energy Policy
- Mountaintop Coal Mining Alters Appalachia
- Foreign Oil Dependence Has Grown
- Toxic Mercury From Coal Plants Unregulated
- Move to a 21st Century Electricity Grid Is Stalled
It’s hard to decide if the selection of Dr. Chu is more remarkable for who he is — a Nobel laureate physicist and experienced public-sector administrator — or for who he is not. Unlike previous secretaries of energy, he is neither a politician, oil man, military officer, lawyer, nor utility executive.
His corporate ties are not to major industrial polluters but to advanced technology corporations like AT&T (where he began his Nobel-winning research) and Silicon Valley innovator Nvidia (where he sits on the board of directors). Chu is a man for the moment, and will be a singular addition to Obama’s Cabinet.
Here are some other reactions from around the web.
Chu not only has experience running a major federal science lab, the lab he runs is actually responsible for developing the technologies that have paid for all the clean energy research the tax payers have ever supported (see Energy efficiency, Part 5: The highest documented rate of return of any federal program).
These are obviously accomplished people and capable administrators. Chu, for instance, has more academic credentials — hard to beat a Nobel — and has run a bigger organization than most of Obama’s appointees to economic and foreign policy posts.
Adam Siegel, talking Chu up for the job on Tuesday:
Chu understands the potential for reducing GHGs via energy efficiency. He knows technology. He has vision and hope for the ability to create new solutions, even while executing on-the-shelf opportunities. And, Chu clearly understands the challenge that we face with Global Warming.
He will bring a scientific rigor to President-elect Obama’s clean energy and global warming agenda. Following on the heels of the anti-science Bush administration, its like going to Mensa after spending eight years in the flat earth society.
Having a physicist like this in the cabinet means there will be a true science and technology expert within the cabinet, which could bleed over into decisions in other areas. This is someone who will know what is possible in the field, and who should make an excellent contribution to the nation and the world.
What do you think of the picks?