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US energy policy really will be rocket science

Enough of dictating US energy policy “from the gut” as W has for the past eight years — President-elect Barack Obama has named an actual Nobel Prize winner as his choice for the nation’s next Energy Secretary.

Steven Chu, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1997, has served as director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory since 2004. During his tenure there, he has guided the lab on a “new mission to become the world leader in alternative and renewable energy research, particularly the development of carbon-neutral sources of energy,” according to his Website biography.

Chu has also been a longtime proponent of taking action to combat climate change, an issue that Obama says is critical to address.

Chu expressed his personal concerns about global warming to the Washington Post last year, stating, “I was following it just as a citizen and getting increasingly alarmed. Many of our best basic scientists [now] realize that this is getting down to a crisis situation.”

The Department of Energy has five stated missions: “Promoting America’s energy security through reliable, clean, and affordable energy”; “Ensuring America’s nuclear security”; “Strengthening US scientific discovery, economic competitiveness, and improving quality of life through innovations in science and technology”; “Protecting the environment by providing a responsible resolution to the environmental legacy of nuclear weapons production”; and “Enabling the mission through sound management.”

Perhaps the US can now look forward to a “Mission Accomplished” message of a different kind? Here’s hoping.

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