The Washington Post interviews Secretary Chu. Here’s an excerpt on what he thinks of Al Gore’s coal plan:
Romano: Al Gore has launched a multimillion-dollar campaign against coal, against coal manufacturing plants. In fact, he’s encouraged civil disobedience in protesting them. What do you think about this?
Chu: The issue here is that if you consider, for example, the countries that have coal, two-thirds of the known coal reserves lie primarily in the United States, China, India and Russia. The United States actually has the most known coal reserves in the world, and over 50 percent of our electricity is generated by coal. Even if the United States turns its back on coal, China and India will not, given the state of affairs. I would prefer to say let’s try to develop technologies that can get a large fraction of the carbon dioxide out of coal. Start with 70, 80 percent and build up to over 90 percent, but start now and try to get it out.
Romano: So is it a little unrealistic for Vice President Gore to think that he can end coal production by protesting these plants?
Chu: Well, Al Gore is a friend of mine, and let’s just say that — I’ll go back to my original statement that we really have to take the lead, the technological lead, and see if this can get done.