The Administration is slowing its effort against Global Warming
One way to understand the way this Administration is attempting to fight GW is to follow the interviews and writing of Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu over the last year.
When he was selected to his position over a year ago Dr. Chu was very optimistic about alternative energy and efficiency and sounded eager and willing to concentrate on avenues and tools smart people knew would work and are likely to make a difference.
Before he was selected he stated that carbon tax is superior to Cap & Trade. Once in the administration he reluctantly accepted the prevailing Congressional and Administration views supporting Cap & Trade. The facts did not change.
In one of his first magazine interviews with U.S. News less than a year ago he said that silicon based photovoltaic is not promising now and need to have a ten to one reduction in price with different, more advance, technologies. He changes his utterance now. The PV industry has a powerful voice, and doing its best to maximize its profit despite not delivering much benefit to the users.
Dr. Chu was also a great supporter of energy efficiency and building conservation, following the lead of his friend Dr. Art Rosenfeld, previously of CEC. As you follow Dr. Chu's blogs and interviews, culminating with the latest on Newsweek, you can see that he is changing his support and following the Administration party line; more oil drilling, nuclear power, and little on energy efficiency or green technologies.
This administration even more than the past is very strict on following the party line; no one should deviate from it showing the country, and especially Congress, a united front. This is understandable, but I would not like to be in Dr. Chu position when so much of what he believed is cut out of the Administration approach.
These changes in Dr. Chu's views may have come from two reasons: He has to moderate/change his views to fit the desire of the Administration, and he also learned from practical interaction with the "real world" that many promising technologies are not likely to survive outside science labs, as good as they may be.
1. When he was a scientist guiding the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory he was not subjected to political distortion and was able to see the path to reducing GHG emissions from practical scientific point of view. He was a dream choice by the Environmentalists; however, they did not know how politics would curtail his ability to do what he believed in. So politics, the "Art of the Possible" and the tool of powerful influences by interested parties, now determine the Administration's approach and thus also Dr. Chu's public views.
2. Another aspect, when science meets the real world of finance, global economics, the immense magnitude of electrical power systems, the fossil industry size and complexities, and all the other main forces, including Congress, your own views change. He might have realized that some or many of the solutions that seemed marvelous in the lab, are not practical in the real world.
Dr. Chu latest public views are stated to support the free gifts the Administration has given the GOP. Yes, this administration is giving a gift to the "Take No Prisoners" GOP. President Obama still believes he can pull in a few Republicans in Congress so his policies may look bipartisan. The bad lesson from the Health Care fight did not teach him the GOP side is determined to cut his legs in every opportunity they have. His administration is a slow learner and instead of first bargaining with the GOP on energy issues, they gave them the free gift of offshore oil drilling and support for nuclear power.
Poor thinking. They are not very practical and have little courage to fight for this most serious issue of GW.
They just don't grasp how time-critical GW is.
Marvelous! What a tour de force. If I read an op ed like this in the Bee every day, I would feel a lot better about my subscription. You are the only one I have read who tells it like it is. Is that because we are on the same page?
What a shame both for Dr. Chu personally and for us. You have very ably explained why this is the case and you are right about Obama. He gives before he seals a deal.
It’s so interesting that my other old friend who is very astute politically sees this so differently. He was actually very proud of what was accomplished with the health care bill. Maybe that’s because he believes that this is the art of the possible and that was all that was possible. That said, I think we are going to get little with the cap and trade bill. It will set us up for ten years of experiments that tell us this doesn’t deliver and it costs a bundle.
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