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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Steven Chu for Secretary of Energy...A Recipe for Disaster

At first glance, Barack Obama's choice for Secretary of Energy is a solid non partisan choice.

President-elect Barack Obama will hold a news conference at 5:00 p.m. EST on Monday, his transition office said on Sunday, and he is expected to announce his choices for energy secretary and a top environmental adviser.

Obama is expected to name Nobel physics laureate Steven Chu as his energy secretary, and former Environmental Protection Agency chief Carol Browner as the
head of a new council that will coordinate White House policy on energy, Democratic sources have said.

Steven Chu's academic accomplishments are long and impressive.

Steven Chu (born February 28, 1948)[2] is an American experimental physicist. He is known for his research in laser cooling and trapping of atoms, which won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997.[2] His current research is concerned primarily with the study of biological systems at the single molecule level. He is currently Professor of Physics and Molecular and Cellular Biology of University of California, Berkeley and the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. According to MSNBC and other media outlets, he is President-elect Barack Obama's choice for Secretary of Energy.[3][4][5]

As global warming warnings grow more dire, Chu has pushed scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and in industry to develop technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He has joined the Copenhagen Climate Council,[6] an
international collaboration between international business and science, established to create momentum for the United Nations COP-15 climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December 2009. Chief in Chu's campaign is an unprecedented research pact reached between UC Berkeley, oil industry giant BP, the Lawrence Berkeley Lab and the University of Illinois. Nearly US$400 million in new lab space will expand energy-related molecular work centered at Lawrence Berkeley that involves partners around the world. A US$160 million Energy Biosciences Institute Helios Building is to be funded by BP and subsidized with $70 million of California state funds. It will house up to 50 BP scientists in a private lab, and will include Chu's
separate solar-energy program, but is reportedly on hold due to "geotechnical issues".

Lying underneath his list of academic accomplishments lies a serious recipe for disaster. That's because Chu is an academic. He's headed teams of a few or a dozen or a few dozen. He's about to be entrusted with a bureaucracy of tens of thousands. Furthermore, Obama is about to implement his "green agenda". He is about to entrust Chu with hundreds of billions of Dollars. Chu is used to working with hundreds of thousands if not a few million. In other words, Chu is totally unprepared to run this department.

This means the Department will be run effectively by a lifer in the energy Department behind the scenes. This means that contracts and projects will be corrupted by the friends and colleagues of whoever is effectively in charge. While Chu will be the face of the Department, once it is clear that he isn't up to running it, someone with the experience to run it will. That person won't be answerable to anyone because they are a career bureaucrat. They will be in this department long after Obama's administration is over. They will dole out favors to all those folks they are close to. With hundreds of billions of Dollars about to be injected into the Department of Energy, this is a recipe for disaster.


Unknown said...

Whatsa matter with you? Don't you hope for a change we can believe in? Obama hopes his ivory tower face man will change the reality of day-to-day government, and he's the hope we've been waiting for. By associative reasoning, you should change and hope so too.

Anonymous said...

It seems as if you are hoping Obama will fail.

I say this because I notice you never fail to publish anything you can get your hands on which may portray him in a negative light.

How about some balance??

mike volpe said...

First of all, I am not always attacking Obama. Second of all, I am his political opponent so of course you will find more negative rather than positive stories. Third of all, that isn't much of a defense of his choice to make such an observation.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for confirming your bias.

You're Obama's "political opponent"???

Not quite.

He is the about to be leader of the free world, you are a person who writes a blog.

mike volpe said...

That I am a Conservative and he is a liberal is not hidden by either of us. I am sure you are just as demanding of the Daily Kos as you are of my site.

If I am so irrelevant why are you so concerned about whether or not I am biased.

nelson said...

Here is steven Chu talking about cellulosic ethanol removing the US from foreign oil.