CNN: Berkeley Lab’s Chu to Head DOE

xbd200805-00226-24.jpgReuters news agency is quoting CNN today in reporting that Steve Chu will get the nod from President-elect Obama to head the U.S. Dept. of Energy.

Since 2004, the Nobel laureate physicist has been the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). Lab spokesman Lynn Yarris said he could not confirm the report. In an email to KQED’s Cy Musiker, he wrote that Chu is traveling until next week, adding that right now the report is “all still speculation.”

Chu has maintained a fairly high profile, writing op-ed pieces on America’s energy future and lecturing on potential solutions to climate change (note that this link is to an hour-long video).

He’s also been a vocal supporter of California’s comprehensive plan to attack climate change, known by the shorthand AB-32. From an opinion piece for the San Francisco Chronicle last year, co-written with U.C. Berkeley’s chancellor, Robert Birgeneau:

“The development of new, carbon-neutral energy sources are needed to avert the predictions of disastrous climate change. The landmark global warming legislation signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last year committing our state to ambitious reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020 is a strong and encouraging step. California is a national and global leader moving toward a sustainable energy future, and it is in the public mission of the University of California to help find ways to meet these goals.”

LBNL has been a leader in developing energy-saving technology, from lighting to windows, to “cool-roof” coatings.

In 2006 Chu was interviewed on KQED’s Pacific Time.

The California Air Resources Board is expected to vote on final acceptance of an implementation plan for AB-32 tomorrow. Speaking of which, published reports indicate that Mary Nichols, who heads California’s air board, will be passed over for the top spot at the Environmental Protection Agency, and that the nod will go to Lisa Jackson, a former state environmental regulator in New Jersey.

Photo: LBNL.