December 11, 2008 / 10:24 PM / in 9 years

UPDATE 1-FACTBOX-Statements by Obama's energy pick Steven Chu

(Adds information about BP investment in penultimate paragraph)

WASHINGTON, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Nobel-winning physicist Steven Chu, who has been picked by U.S. President-Elect Barack Obama for Energy Secretary, has long spoke out about the need to combat climate change.

“If I were emperor of the world, I would put the pedal to the floor on energy efficiency and conservation for the next decade,” he told Reuters in a May 2007 interview.

Below are some of Chu’s past statements on energy issues:

* Said the dominance of coal-fired electricity is an obstacle to progress, and is likely to remain the “default” fuel for the next 50 years. --Reuters interview, May 2007

* Says the United States needs a national policy on energy transmission. “Without such a policy you can never move energy over thousands of miles from the Arizona desert to Cornell; or from wind farms {to more densely populated areas],” he said.

--Cornell University lecture, April 2008

* Says international regulations needed to curb carbon emissions. “Free market forces aren’t going to do this. You really need a combination of fiscal policies and downright regulations, and it has to be international. And above all, we need to put a price on carbon without any loopholes. People in the U.S. especially are working very hard to keep it below $20 per ton -- and then have additional loopholes -- because at that price you actually don’t have to change anything.”

--Cornell University lecture, April 2008

* Supports investments in design and technology to make buildings more energy efficient.

“Get rid of the wasteful habits and inefficiency and that, by far and away, will show the biggest gains in the short term.” -- Reuters interview, May 2007

* Was part of the Council of Competitiveness -- a group of CEOs, labor leaders and scientists -- that recommended the new president immediately establish a $200 billion “Clean Energy Bank” for private-sector projects, and a $250 million fund for the energy department for advanced energy research.

* Says it’s a myth that conserving energy hurts the economy. “It doesn’t kill the economy. An economy can flourish, even though it’s (energy) efficient.”

-- Nevada clean energy summit, August 2008

* Led the charge to make Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory -- where he has been director since 2004 -- a hub for bioenergy research, recruiting top scientists to the cause and attracting $500 million in funding for their work from oil major BP (BP.L)

* Posed with other Nobel winners at the University of California for a photo captioned “The Tree of Wisdom” in Vanity Fair magazine’s “green issue” which profiled the university’s work in alternative energy. (Washington commodities desk, 202 898 8376)

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