On December 5, 2009, Scott Simon of National Public Radio interviewed Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero. He asked her about the politics surrounding the US government’s negotiating position at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which starts tomorrow, December 7 and runs through December 18 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
President Obama’s administration has already negotiated an agreement with China for both nations to engage in significant efforts and challenging targets. There has also been talk of a goal of reducing emissions by 83% by the year 2050.
Mr. Simon based his questions for Ms. Otero on a December 4, 2009 Wall Street Journal op-ed by Richard K. Lester, head of the department of nuclear science and engineering at MIT, titled The High Costs of Copenhagen. In that piece, Mr. Lester implied that anyone who believes that an aggressive goal of an 83% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions can be met without nuclear energy is being intellectually dishonest. At the same time, Mr. Lester also pointed out that a number of powerful environmental organizations who are pushing hard on climate change actions are also adamantly opposed to efforts to expand nuclear energy. Many of those confused groups are key political supporters of the Obama Administration’s legislative plans.
No matter how hard Mr. Simon tried, he could not elicit a clear response from Ms. Otero about whether or not the State Department believes that nuclear power will play an important role, even though Dr. Steven Chu, Secretary of the Department of Energy and a Nobel Prize winning physicist has stated his agreement that nuclear energy is an important part of our future energy system.
After listening to the interview, I described my frustration with the responses to my wife. She told me it sounded just like the Governor in the movie “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” when he sang “Dance a Little Sidestep”. Using the magic of Google search and YouTube embed codes, I thought I would lighten your day by sharing that number with you.