Dr. Chu & the farmer named Boswell

Dr. Steven Chu, President Obama's Energy Secretary, won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1997.  He appeared in Des Moines this morning to announce $16 million is headed to Iowa for energy efficiency projects.  The money comes from the federal economic stimulus package.  Chu discussed the effort to increase the standard blend of ethanol from 10 percent to 15 percent.

Chu was asked about "climate change" and "greenhouse gases" — and after his detailed responses to those questions, Chu was asked if he's optimistic he can have an impact.

"You know, I am optimistic. The reason I'm optimistic is because I have no other choice — number one," Chu said, with a laugh. "Number two, I have to say that scientists by their very nature are optimistic and it's easy to explain. You know, if you're doing research as a scientist and you read about Newton and you read about Maxwell and you read about Einstein, and these guys are really smart, and you have to have amount of nerve, if you will, or optimism to think that you can add to those intellectual giants and many of the things that one does in science is you try to solve a problem that other people failed at, OK?  So, if a scientist isn't inherently optimistic, you have no business being in science (laughter) because most of your experiments, quite frankly, are failures.

"OK, having said that, I think there's a way out.  If there weren't a way out, I wouldn't have changed careers, quite frankly. I think we can get two-thirds of the way there just by energy efficiency. In the next 20 years, we can do all of our carbon decrease by purely energy efficiency if we got serious about that." 

Chu also joked about his trip to Iowa, drawing the largest amount of chuckles from the audience. "Before I really start, I'd like to preempt a beginning question that you might ask me: I'm in Iowa but I'm not here because I'm thinking of running for the presidency of the United States," Chu said.   

If you click on this link, you can read the Radio Iowa story and listen to the 47 minute long MP3 featuring mostly Chu.  But Chu was introduced to the crowd in Iowa by Roya Stanley, head of the Iowa Office of Energy Independence.  Governor Chet Culver and Congressman Leonard Boswell also made remarks.

Boswell, a former farmer, summed up his support for energy efficiency efforts: "I believe we are doing the right thing…I guess my old dad, if he were alive, would say: 'It's got to make horse sense, but you've got to keep the wagon moving,' so we can do that." 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.