Global Politics

Obama's pick for energy secretary

The job of U.S. Energy Secretary has historically focused inwards, focusing on labs that research new energy technologies, manage our petroleum reserves, and designs nuclear weapons and handles storage of nuclear waste. But times are changing and with this new pick, the Obama administration might turn the department's focus outwards and tackle global energy challenges. No country has more challenges in this regard than China, but Chu has strong working relations with Chinese researchers and regulators. The challenge Chu says is to help the Chinese find clean energy technologies without hurting their economy. If Chu and the Obama administration were to engage more directly with the Chinese on energy, that could go a long way towards a global agreement on climate change. This energy expert says China and the U.S. are the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases but are caught in a waiting game waiting for the other to commit for some action and this has hampered international climate talks for years. Chu's appointment may well send a friendly signal to the Chinese and it also sends a strong signal about the importance of science in solving energy challenges. Chu would be the first scientist to hold the job as Energy Secretary. This analyst says Chu could transform the department.

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