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The Next Secretary of Energy: Who are we to speak?

December 9th, 2008 · No Comments

President-Elect Obama is hard at work, with his staff, at creating the structure and setting in place the priorities and paths for execution of his Administration. A core part of this, of course, is the selection of Cabinet members and core advisors. Some in the ‘blogging’ world (and others) question any questioning and ridicule any advice into this process. Asserting that appointees don’t matter, as if Barack Obama can make every single decision for the Federal Government in the coming eight years. Others seem ready to head for the hills on any rumor that seems to tilt against their preferences and belief structures. Neither of these extremes is right, neither is productive. We owe it to ourselves and our society to speak our voices, to express concerns and enthusiasm in a measured voice, seeking to find our position in supporting Change, even while seeking to help shape that change to something ever more positive.

With the looming announcement of the next Secretary of Energy, we have one of those opportunities to see which way the paths will work. Is Global Warming key? Is the move to a sensible and sustainable energy future key? The names bandied about as potential next Secretary of Energy suggest far different answers to those questions.

If, for example, rumors that Duke’s Jim Rogers or a long-shot of T Boone Pickens would be selected for Secretary of Energy, one would have to conclude that Barack Obama is not fully serious about his commitment to engage on Global Warming or shift the nation’s energy future to a prosperous and sustainable future. Rogers has given lip service to global warming concerns but, at the end of the day, falls far short of requirements as to the necessary changes and the urgency of action. T Boone Pickens continues to remind one of Dick van Dyke in the Music Man, offering up something that seems ever so appealing on first sell but that does not stand up to even the slightest amount of serious scrutiny.

On the other hand, there are people like Nobel Laureate deirection of the Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory (LBNL) Dr. Steven Chu who are considered to be ‘in the running’. Chu understands the potential for reducing GHGs via energy efficiency. He knows technology. He has vision and hope for the ability to create new solutions, even while executing on-the-shelf opportunities. And, Chu clearly understands the challenge that we face with Global Warming.

I will leave you with this final image. This is — I was an undergraduate when this picture was taken by Apollo 8 — and it shows the moon and the Earth’s rise. A beautiful planet, a desolate moon. And focus on the fact that there’s nowhere else to go.

A Rogers. A Pickens appointment would send one message about change.

A Chus. A Dan Reichert. A Kathleen McGinty. A Jay Inslee appointment would send a far different message about how Change could save the planet.

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Tags: Energy