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No Fucking Comparison

President-Elect Obama once again reduces me to tears of joy:

President-elect Barack Obama’s reported selection of Dr. Steven Chu as Secretary of Energy is a bold stroke to set the nation on the path to a clean energy economy. Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, is the sixth director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a Department of Energy-funded basic science research institution managed by the University of California. After moving to Berkeley Lab from Stanford University in 2004, Chu “has emerged internationally to champion science as society’s best defense against climate catastrophe.” As director, Chu has steered the direction of Berkeley Lab to addressing the climate crisis, pushing for breakthrough research in energy efficiency, solar energy, and biofuels technology.

At Berkeley Lab, Chu has won broad praise as an effective and inspirational leader. “When he was first here, he started giving talks about energy and production of energy,” Bob Jacobsen, a senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab, told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2007. “He didn’t just present a problem. He told us what we could do. It was an energizing thing to see. He’s not a manager, he’s a leader.” In an interview with the Wonk Room, David Roland-Holst, an economist at the Center for Energy, Resources and Economic Sustainability at UC Berkeley, described Chu as a “very distinguished researcher” and “an extremely effective manager of cutting edge technology initiatives.” Roland-Holst praised Chu’s work at Lawrence Berkeley, saying “he has succeeded in reconfiguring it for a new generation of sustainable technology R&D, combining world class mainstream science with the latest initiatives in renewable energy and climate adaptation.”

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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 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.

Phenomenal. And he’s not the only excellent choice – Obama’s putting together a Green Dream Team that’s showing in no uncertain terms that he’s serious about getting global warming under control and transitioning us to a green economy. Carol Browner, who may be heading up a new National Energy Council and will definitely be part of the Administration, sees environmental regulations as market opportunities. Lisa Jackson, who may head up the EPA and is co-chair of the energy and natural resources transition team, is more of a mixed bag, coming highly recommended by some environmentalists and condemned by others, but New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine has no doubts she’s be awesome. Alas, I know nothing much at all about the women he’s chosen to become Secretary of Energy and the chair of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality, but the fact that the Chamber of Commerce is screaming bloody murder tells me we’re probably looking at emerald green choices:

“What you’ve got are people who are committed to moving forward with regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, which we believe is a huge mistake,” William Kovacs, vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in an interview.

Yup. Definitely on the right track.

So, we’ve got a Nobel Laureate and several people who are dead-serious about making green a go. They’re the real deal.

Contrast this with Bush’s buffoonery, and you’ll see there’s no fucking comparison:

Currently, representatives from 190 countries are meeting in Poznan, Poland for an international climate change conference to work on the successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which President Bush refused to ratify in 2001.

In an interview with AFP in Poznan, Paula Dobriansky, the chief U.S. delegate, said that she has no regrets on the Bush administration’s climate change record. If she could change anything, Dobriansky said a better job could have been done in articulating Bush’s “message”:

I think this issue (climate change) is important, we care about it greatly. Looking back, if there was anything that maybe I would have hoped, it’s that we could have done a more effective job in getting our message out, in other words, (in) public diplomacy.

Spin couldn’t have saved Bush’s record on climate change. In fact, according to the annual Climate Change Performance Index published today, the U.S. is ranked as having the third worst record of 60 countries in tackling greenhouse gas emissions.

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It is shameful — but not surprising — that the U.S.’s chief climate representative believes that Bush’s biggest mistake on climate change is bad PR.

Somehow, methinks Obama’s Green Team is going to be a lot less talk and a lot more action. Finally, America will be ready to lead the way on containing climate change and taking care of this gorgeous planet.

Awesome.

Comments

  1. says

    Obama appointing qualified, non-corrupt people for a job that they actually know how to do? I wandered into an alternate reality.