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“We believe that a well-conceived program put in place now has the potential to provide the people of the United States with renewable energy security and economic growth for decades to come.”
Another example of his unorthodox thinking is his May 2009 recommendation to paint the roofs of buildings around the world white and use light-colored road surfaces to reflect sunlight back into space — possibly enough to have an effect on global warming. He believes this would reduce carbon equal to taking every car in the world off the road for a decade. There are plenty of scientists with many notions, but they are seldom in a position to convert their visions to action, as Chu attempts to do.
Chu ran into frightful problems this year when his Energy Department and the White House thought a $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra, Inc. solar power firm could help stop global warming. Many of the problems that forced the company to shutter operations threaten other businesses in the sun-power industry, with more upheaval likely, according to an article in The New York Times Sept. 6.
Chu’s research at Bell Labs was in cooling and trapping atoms with laser light. It won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997, together with colleagues Claude Cohen-Tannoudji and William Daniel Phillips.
Chu has gained worldwide attention as a scientist as well as with some of his quirky ideas about how to deal with climate change. Now he has to figure out how to keep his job. He may have already thrown himself “under the bus,” as the current cliché phrases it.
Testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee Nov. 17. an unapologetic Secretary Chu defended the half-billion-dollar loan to solar-panel manufacturer, Solyndra, Inc. that went into bankruptcy. He said he was unaware of the key details that led to the scandal.
He also said with a straight face the decision to fund the company was not political. Termite guts as a replacement for auto fuel is more believable.
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