Energy Secretary Steven Chu is going to be in the hot seat tomorrow when he testifies before a House committee investigating the Solyndra bankruptcy.
If Chu’s previous remarks to the press are any indication of what he’s going to say to Congress, he’ll be stressing the need for continued strategic federal investments in clean energy — after defending himself from accusations of political influence in the loan guarantee process.
In this week’s podcast, we’ve got a brief conversation with Secretary with Chu, who laments the political response to the science of climate change, and who reiterates his support for continued federal investments in renewables.
“Even in desperate times like the Civil War, the United States was spending money, giving subsidies to railroad companies to build the transcontinental railroad. That wasn’t free. The United States invested their resources in federal lands to generate land grant universities that would increase the productivity of U.S. agriculture and schools like the University of California Berkeley and MIT and Cornell. That wasn’t free. And so, when push comes to shove, yes we have to make tough decisions, but we never took our eye from the long view. We didn’t eat our seed corn, we didn’t sell our plow horse.”
Chu sets up our conversation with Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who describes why the military can be a force for accelerating the commercial deployment of cutting-edge renewables.
He’ll explain why non-fossil based energy will make the Navy and other branches of the military more effective, and why preparing for a changing climate is a necessary part of their strategy.
The Navy has always led when we’ve changed energy. In the 1850’s, we went from sail to coal. In the early part of the 20th century, we went from coal to oil. We pioneered the use of nuclear for transportation in the 1950’s. Every single time we did these things there were people who said ‘it’s a fad.’ There were people who said ‘you’re trading one very known source of propulsion or energy for something that’s unsure – too expensive or just won’t work.’ And every single time they were wrong. Every single time. And I am absolutely confident those folks are going to be wrong this time too.
You can find past episodes of the Climate Progress podcast on our RSS page.
- Podcast: Amory Lovins on How to “Reinvent Fire” and Run a 158% Bigger Economy With No Oil, Coal or Nuclear
- Podcast: Solving Energy Poverty Without Addressing Climate Change is “The Biggest Threat Multiplier of All”
- Introducing the Climate Progress Podcast: Jigar Shah on Why Renewables Will Win This Decade, Even Beating Natural Gas