President-elect Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Energy Department, Steven Chu, has previously said that coal is his “worst nightmare” and that the U.S. needs to find ways to “boost the cost of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”
However, during his confirmation hearing in the U.S. Senate yesterday, Dr. Chu backtracked a little from those statements. While not completely embracing coal, Dr. Chu agreed that a few coal-fired plants should be allowed to be built, but the key is to ensure that coal is converted cleanly into electricity. In addition, he said he would agree to some off-shore drilling, but only as part of an entire energy package.
In addition, even though Congress has said they are unsure when they will address climate change, it appears that major corporations are betting on it taking place some time in the future. In a joint announcement with environmental groups, a number of major U.S. corporations are outlining what they would like to see in a cap-and-trade or comparable piece of legislation.