What will the incoming Administration do about climate change? The best evidence to date is Obama's selection of physicist Steven Chu, Nobel Prize winner and current Director of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, as Energy Secretary. Where does Chu stand?
- A spring 2007 profile in the San Francisco Chronicle said Chu "emerged internationally to champion science as society's best defense against climate catastrophe."
- An early December Berkeley Lab press release described Chu as "one of the leading public advocates for the development of renewable energy sources," and quoted him as analogizing warming to the Manhattan project: "The reality of past threats was apparent to everyone whereas the threat of global climate change is not so immediately apparent. Nonetheless, this threat has just got to be solved. We can’t fail. The fact that we have so many brilliant people working on the problem gives me great hope."
- A recent profile of Dr. Chu explains that he "became convinced that the science behind climate change was solid and that action had to be taken to avert the worst consequences of a warming planet, including stronger storms, longer droughts and rising sea levels."
- As a member of the Copenhagen Climate Council, which blames warming on man-made greenhouse gas emissions, Chu believes it is the responsibility of developing countries to commit by treaty to capping atmospheric CO2 at 450ppm (it's about 390ppm now), which, according to the council, will limit warming to 2ºC.
- In a presentation at this summer's National Clean Energy Summit convened by the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Dr. Chu emphasized the risks posed by climate change, and that the solution would require the United States to reduce energy consumption. (Chu also misstated a 50% chance of a 3.0ºC temp. increase as an 11.0ºF rise; that's not how probabilities work, and the median 3.0ºC actually converts to 5.4ºF.)
- Another Berkeley Press release called Chu "one of the nation’s foremost and outspoken advocates for scientific solutions to the twin problems of global warming and the need for carbon-neutral renewable sources of energy," and quoted him as calling these problems "the greatest challenge facing science."
Worse, fellow travelers like Daniel Weiss, at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, already are predicting that Chu "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."
Yeah, that's the ticket: warming skeptics simply are dumb. So much for rigor. Let's hope the physicist is smarter than his fans.
Who needs science when propaganda will suffice?