Steven Chu On ‘The Avengers’: We Don’t Need Superheroes To Win The Global Clean Energy Battle

Energy Secretary Steven Chu has turned to pop culture to promote clean energy. He put up this picture and Facebook post on the new box office smash The Avengers:

I can rarely find the time to make it to the movies, but my staff is buzzing about The Avengers, which focuses on a new, limitless clean energy source called “The Tesseract.” In the film, there is evidently an intergalactic struggle to claim this new resource – one we can only win by relying on heroes like Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Black Widow, and the Incredible Hulk. Naturally, the group includes a couple scientists!

While the “Tesseract” may be fictional, the real-life global competition over clean energy is growing increasingly intense, as countries around the world sense a huge economic opportunity AND the opportunity for cleaner air, water, and a healthier planet. This is now a $260 billion global market, a sum that would impress even Tony Stark. According to the International Energy Agency, last year — for the first time — more money was invested worldwide in clean, renewable power plants than in fossil fuel power plants.

Given how big the opportunity is, and how fast it is growing, it is no surprise that 80 countries have adopted policies or incentives to capture a share of the clean energy market. The good news is that we have an advantage every bit as powerful as the Incredible Hulk: Americans’ talent for entrepreneurship and innovation is unrivalled by any other country in the world. We have world-leading scientific facilities that would make Bruce Banner green with envy, and the investments we’re making today in groundbreaking new technologies can help American businesses stay ahead of the curve.

Ultimately, however, the clean energy prize is still up for grabs and countries like China are competing aggressively. It’s not enough for us to simply invent the technologies of the future, we need to actually build and deploy them here as well. As President Obama noted recently, one step Congress should take immediately is to renew the expiring tax credits for clean energy – a step that will create jobs and help American companies compete. When it comes to clean energy, our motto should be: “Invented in America, Made in America, Sold Around the World.”

Chu is kind of the Bruce Banner of clean energy. Now if the rest of team Obama would only suit up since the world is most certainly facing the gravest imaginable danger….

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7 Responses to Steven Chu On ‘The Avengers’: We Don’t Need Superheroes To Win The Global Clean Energy Battle

  1. Mike Roddy says:

    The US remains the greatest impediment to change. Things are getting weird when the leaders of Saudi Arabia make more radical statements about energy and global warming than anyone besides Bernie Sanders.

    Obama and Chu have been disappointments in expanding oil and gas drilling just as fast as if Dick Cheney were in charge. And saying pretty please to Congress about ending fossil fuel tax breaks shows just how weak they think they are.

    There are several possibilities here.
    1. Chu and Obama will pivot upon reelection, with forceful administrative actions and executive orders designed to create a more rational playing field, including charges for carbon pollution. There are numerous options here.
    2. Obama goes to the people, starting by firing Salazar, and announcing in a prime time televised national security address that we must embark on a rapid transformation to a low carbon economy. Included would be carbon taxes on domestic deforestation (and taxes on Canadian imports of wood), as well as myriad economic disincentives to keep burning fossil fuels.
    3. Business as usual. No carbon tax (which could be done by emergency executive order), and framing energy transformation with Hollywood cartoon characters discovering magic at some point in the future. Failing to show any heart for the fight, basically, which is why they are still winning.

    Sorry, Dr. Chu, but it’s not too late to wake up. Go Bears anyway- and head back there sometime to talk to people like John Harte.

  2. Mark Shapiro says:

    Obama, Chu, and the rest of us are up against a $5 trillion fossil fuel industry, plus News Corp, most of talk radio and the entire “burn, baby, burn” army. They have a 24/7/365 propaganda machine. Look at how easily they brush aside calls to end oil subsidies.

    You can watch “The Last Mountain” on DVD or Netflix to see a small part of their machine in action.

  3. fj says:

    Uh, the American Dream, was, uh invented by America and through its incredible stories it lives on always being able to do the impossible . . . which we have to do now.

    Wake up America we have been asleep way too long.

    . . . story is a metaphor life written in time . . .

    We make our own adventures.

    . . . just love the way you do that green thing . . .

  4. Chu would be a more impressive energy secretary if he didn’t promote nukes. The threat of AGW shouldn’t drive us to seek ANY solution, no matter how onerous. What will happen when climate change really sets in and society no longer has the resources to maintain the nuclear plants?

  5. Merrelyn Emery says:

    You may not need a superhero at the moment but we may all need one soon – I wonder if any will turn up, ME

  6. Ozonator says:

    I have calculated that Saudi Arabia has been increasingly AGW harmonically threatened by quakes and volcanism. The most recent has been: “B). Including the odd chance of JJBAL Fireballs with each prediction, the specifics of the Giulaino – Gansu Model (4/29 – 5/5/12) of extreme AGW earthquake warnings (n= 34) among tectonic energy lines with individual predictions for regions (magnitude in Richters) are: … 5). Kenya (5+) – Ethiopia (6+) – Saudi Arabia (5+) – western Iran (7+) – eastern Turkey (6+) – Georgia (6+) … C). GBRWE official experimental quake, volcano, and other models are US. … A correct for any of these concurrent earthquake models is anything within 0.5 Richters below given prediction and anything above the prediction for the region (within 100 miles, greater if people felt it). … A significant quake is 1 in the correct region that is within a).1.5 Richters below the predicted intensity, b). greater than 95 km in depth or causing panic, damage, or injuries, c). part of a reported swarm … 4). 4-week model … Saudi Arabia … D). Including the odd chance of JJBAL Fireballs with each prediction, warnings for the Pickerell Model (4/29 – 5/5/12) for qualitative AGW volcanic warnings (n=18) among tectonic energy lines with individual predictions for regions are: … 4). Etna – Libya – Jebel Zubair, Yemen – Erta Ale, Ethiopia” (“GBRWE 4/29 – 5/5/12”s Extreme Planetary Warnings for Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Solar/Terrestrial Flares from Human Activities”; Robert Rhodes, Supplemental; GBRWE 4/29 – 5/5/12, 4/28/12).

  7. Andrew West says:

    Tell Dr. Chu to offer a $1 billion PRIZE for a SOLUTION and someone in America will provide it. He repeatedly claims there “is no silver bullet,” yet that has no foundation. We should find out.

    DOE has spent $100 billion in two years… with no solution.