Energy, Innovation & the Future of Global Climate Change

Former U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu spoke about climate change, politics, and our energy future

From science to politics, from innovation to economics, what forces will shape the U.S energy landscape in the 21st century?  Former U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu takes an insightful look at the future of energy innovation and the environment. Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning professor of physics at Stanford, is the first scientist to hold a cabinet position and the longest serving Secretary of Energy in U.S. history.  During his tenure, he led the Obama Administration’s renewable energy efforts and devised the solution to the Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Chu discussed the future of the U.S. energy landscape – from fracking and oil sands, to renewables and new technologies.  And he assessed their impact on global climate change.

Chu PhotoSteven Chu is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Physics and Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford University. From January 2009 until April 2013, he served as the 12th U.S. Secretary of Energy under President Barack Obama.

During the past ten years, Chu has been active in marshaling scientists and resources to address the energy problem with new pathways to sustainable, CO2 neutral energy. He co-chaired the Inter-Academy Council report “Transitioning to Sustainable Energy.” He was a member of the NAS/NAE/NRC committees that produced the reports, “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” and “America’s Energy Future.” The “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” report recommended the establishment of a new funding agency within the Department of Energy, ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy) that would focus on high-risk high reward energy research that could result in the invention of disruptive technologies.

As the first scientist to hold a cabinet position and the longest serving Energy Secretary, he began several initiatives including ARPA-E, the Energy Innovation Hubs, and the Clean Energy Ministerial meetings. During his tenure, the deployment of renewable energy doubled in the U.S. and solar energy deployment increased 10-fold. Chu was personally involved in recruiting numerous outstanding scientists and engineers into the DOE, creating a more Bell-labs like culture in how the Department evaluates and awards proposals. Chu was personally tasked by President Obama to assist BP in stopping the Deepwater Horizon oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico and to assist the Government of Japan with the tsunami-damaged nuclear reactors at Fukushima-Daiichi.

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