Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Physics meets politics: Dr. Chu's confirmation hearings

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Here is a link to a video (2 h 13 min hour long) of Secretary of Energy-designate Dr. Steven Chu's confirmation hearing on C-SPAN. More details follow.
During the hearing, he clarified his positions on coal (starting 51 min. in the video).
"...It is imperative that we figure out a way to use coal as cleanly as possible.."
He is also is a proponent of efficiency. He thinks that President-elect Obama's energy plan is aggressive but achievable. Plugin hybrids, CCS, nuclear waste disposal, domestic oil and gas production, biofuels, smarter transmission & distribution system, a cap-and-trade system were some of the various ways mentioned (20:00 min). On the issue of nuclear fuel recycling, Dr. Chu thinks that it could be a part of a long-term solution (~35 min). In related news, the CEO of ExxonMobil said that he now supports a carbon tax instead of a cap-and-trade framework for controlling GHG emissions. On the other hand, other companies such as ConocoPhillips, BP are part of the United States-Climate Action Partnership (US-CAP)which advocates a cap-and-trade approach to mitigating GHG emissions.
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