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Steven Chu and CO2

12/18/09

I’ve had the glorious opportunity to be here at Copenhagen amidst the ongoing action between a 117 heads of state and tens of thousands of climate champions and activists. Its been a great experience so far, only to be enriched by actually getting to see some of the heroes face-to-face. One of those heroes is the great physicist, now government official, Steven Chu

Steven Chu alongside a young climate change activist (Me!)

The day started like any other. We rushed to the Bella Centre as early as we could in order to avoid the rush of incoming attendees. I did not expect this day to be any different. I thought I would be running around from one Contact group meeting to another, trying to make sense of the incomprehensible and insensible arguments of delegates from around the world.

However, Anthony suggested that we all go to the Steven Chu speak instead. For the uninitiated, Steven Chu is the Secretary for Energy under the Obama Administration and also the 1997 Nobel Prize winner for Physics. As you can imagine, he has a pretty strong resume under his belt. The meet was supposed to start at 1pm, but we got there well before noon, only to be greeted by a already longish queue. I wasn’t going to be disheartened, so I stayed. We were informed that only 15 of us would get in, so I was delighted when I found out I would be one of them.

The meeting was to introduce the REDI initiative jointly by the governments of Australia, Italy, India and the U.S.A. As such, the meeting was opened by speeches from the Environmental Ministers of Australia, Italy and India. The opportunity to see my hero, Jairam Ramesh, speak only 2 meters away from me, was truly exhilarating.

Steven Chu addresses the media at the REDI Initiative talk

Once the formal introductions were over, Steven Chu took the floor and got down to business immediately. He spoke about energy efficiency, a mechanism through which a country or organization is able to reduce total emissions while increasing profits by saving money.

He introduced the various energy efficiency measures undertaken by the United States and proposed to be undertaken by REDI. Building efficiencies, new aluminum powered hydrogen batteries and efficient energy savings were all discussed by Chu. And coming from a Nobel Physicist, they are bound to be impressive.

The moment I was convinced that I could not be more impressed with him, he decided to change that by gracing me with a photograph with him.

I really hope there is a fair and ambitious treaty that comes out of Copenhagen like all other climate activists, but its nice to be reassured in the meanwhile that higher authorities care.

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