Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Oh Hell Yes: Dr. Steven Chu

JJ already put up a post about this, and I'll still be in the thicket of work for another couple of weeks, but I want to take a second to note how excited I am about Dr. Chu's nomination (which has now been made official).

The Department of Energy is not not some backwater outpost. With a budget of around $24 billion, they are one of the largest funders of science in the entire world. The National Science Foundation, for a quick contrast, only gets $6 billion annually. NASA gets $16B. The fact that the energy secretary has never been a qualified scientist is just absurd, and I expect the change in tone and level of discourse on these issues to be one of the biggest improvements on previous administrations.

Watching some of his speeches, it's clear that Chu is not messing around. He actually intends to introduce new solutions to these growing problems, both by advancing technology in obvious but unexplored ways and by unapologetically altering the way we live our overly wasteful lives. We are actually going to have a secretary of energy with scientific and environmental priorities! This is huge.

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