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Best Hope for the Planet 

Steven Chu

The Bush White House was infamous for politicizing science. The administration was full of political hacks who not only denied the existence of global warming, but questioned the theory of evolution. Thankfully, the election of Barack Obama has changed all of that. And the choice of Energy Secretary Steven Chu provides definitive proof that the new president has returned science to its rightful place. The former UC Berkeley professor and head of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab who won a Nobel Prize for physics also represents our best hope for finally addressing global warming at the federal level. Chu is a strong believer and advocate for green-energy technology, from wind and solar power to electric cars and biofuels. So far, he has used his bully pulpit to issue strong warnings about the many dangers of greenhouse gas emissions. And as head of a federal department with access to $39 billion in stimulus funds, he has already begun to steer national energy and environmental policy. Last month, he announced a $6 billion loan to Ford to make more fuel-efficient cars, along with loans of $2 billion and $465 million to Nissan and Tesla Motors of San Francisco to develop electric vehicles. He has awarded about $800 billion to biofuels technology and $3.9 billion to start building a "smart" electrical grid to improve the transmission of wind and solar power. Plus, he has moved to eliminate financial boondoggles such as hydrogen power. Imagine what he'll have accomplished after a full four years on the job.

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