Yesterday, President-Elect Obama announced his new energy and climate change team – the group that will be collectively responsible for achieving Obama’s stated goals for the environment, including huge reductions in global warming emissions and a dramatic restructuring of our national energy system. For his Energy Secretary, Obama named Steven Chu, the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Nobel Prize winner, and keynote speaker at our conference on climate change back in September. Dr. Chu’s main tasks will be to upgrade our electrical power delivery system, manage our nuclear weapon’s stockpile, and direct research and development of alternative energy sources. Experts, including Scott Segal of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, seem excited about Chu’s nomination, quoted in the NY Times saying that he brings “an understanding of the art of the possible in energy technology,” which will be critical to the development of a cost-effective climate change policy.
One potential point of contention between Chu and Obama may arise around corn-based ethanol. Obama has advocated for this as a source of alternative energy, but at a meeting of state agricultural departments this fall, Chu knocked it for its upfront energy costs and competition with food supply.
At our conference in September, Chu spoke about the cutting-edge technologies they’ve developed in his lab toward reducing green house gas emissions. Watch his talk here.