Energy secretary Chu calls for action, now

Steven Chu talks energy in ISU's Memorial Union

Energy Secretary Steven Chu calls for energy and climate action in a talk in the Memorial Union. Photo by Bob Elbert.

In a data-rich, chart-filled presentation (including one showing changes in refrigerator efficiency and price over decades), U.S. Energy Secretary and Nobel laureate Steven Chu made a call for energy and climate action on Tuesday.

Among the things Chu told a full house in the South Ballroom of the Memorial Union:

  • "When the price of oil goes up, we punch the panic button. When the price of oil goes down, we punch the snooze button. This is not a good energy policy."
  • "We have a moral responsibility. The most innocent victims of climate change are the poorest who never contributed to it and those who have never been born."
  • "In the middle of the Civil War, he had a long-term vision," Chu said of President Abraham Lincoln, noting Lincoln signed the Morrill Act creating land-grant colleges in 1862. "You think the fiscal cliff is bad today, this was the middle of the Civil War and yet he had a long-term vision. We need to get back that mojo."

In addition to his public presentation, Chu also addressed researchers and staffers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory.