Secretary of Energy Steven Chu gave a lecture at Penn today. I know because I sat in a nearby room and watched him on a poorly mic’d screen. Chu discussed innovation in a variety of fields and the impact of that innovation, and three main themes emerged. The first was that he really likes to reference Nobel laureates, perhaps to remind people that he is one (his boss, on the other hand, tries to make everyone forget his own Oslo moment). The second was that global warming is definitely, provably occurring and man-made, and that it will be really bad. The third was that innovation is the key to national success, and that the government sometimes needs to help that innovation along. What do these have in common? Solar panels. The Solyndra issue was hovering in the background throughout the lecture, and Chu got tantalizingly close to addressing it a few times. He never actually talked about it head on, but when the Secretary of Energy is talking about the need to subsidize technology that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions even if there is mixed success, and the GOP are trying to stop exactly that because a company that received subsidies failed, it doesn’t exactly take a rocket scientist to make the connection. Apparently, though, it does take a molecular physicist. It will be interesting to see how much of this comes up when Chu testifies before Congress, which will inevitably happen very soon.
Thanks to UTB for the heads up that Chu would be speaking.
Photo credit: Flickr user Center for American Progress Action Fund