字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント Hello, my name's Steve Chu. I'm the designee for the Secretary of Energy, nominee by President-elect Obama, and I'm delighted to be here to talk about a couple of subjects that I care deeply about and so let me just begin. I've been asked to comment on the U.S. and climate stabilization and in the comment, it was a comment that says that we have to press very hard to keep the average temperature of the world below a rise of two degrees centigrade. I think this is an essential goal. It'll be a challenge as to whether we can actually keep it to two degrees centigrade, but we simply do not know what will be happening if we go to higher average temperatures in the globe, four, five, six degrees. Based on what we know before, if you compare the temperature we are at today in the world to the temperature of the ice ages, it was only about six degrees centigrade colder, and we know that the ice ages, where Pennsylvania, Ohio were covered in a permanent glacier and New York City in a permanent glacier, that was a very, very different world than where we are today. So it doesn't really take that much imagination to at least realize that if we go six degrees warmer, it will be a very different world, and a world where it would be quite frankly in my mind, very hard to adapt. So there's other issues: We don't know about the certain tipping points. Let me describe one of the tipping points. There is a tremendous amount of carbon in the frozen tundra in Russia, in Canada and other places. As the earth warms up, the microbes in that tundra will begin to wake up and they will begin to chew on this carbon in the form of dead vegetation and reprocess it in the form of carbon dioxide and methane. Once they begin to do that, scientists say that there will be a release of greenhouse gases that will actually create a runaway effect; and by that I mean that they begin to release more carbon dioxide and methane, it goes up into the atmosphere, there's more greenhouse gases, that warms the earth up still more and it creates a runaway effect, so much so that there is a reasonable probability that once this starts, the amount of greenhouse gases released could then be larger than, it could even dwarf the amount of greenhouse gases that humans are putting in the air now, and at that point, it's completely out of our control, in the sense that even if the humans stop emitting more greenhouse gases, the release of the trapped carbon material in the tundra just runs away. We don't know exactly at what temperature this is going to occur, but as we go to warmer and warmer temperatures, four, five, six degrees centigrade, many scientists are feeling that this may really kick in. We cannot go there. I think a world of the one degree rise of the temperature of the world is already written into the system. Even if humans don't emit any more, we're going to see a one degree centigrade rise on average. But, and I agree completely, we have to do what we can to keep it to about two degrees or less. We're going to do more research to find out when this tipping point is, but the uncertainties are very large at this point. It is certainly one of the main reasons why I took this job. In fact, the entire, the main reason why I started getting interested in the energy problem was because of climate change, and I share the concerns of many of the people who have commented on this. Looking at another comment, it was to implement a nationalized smart grid. I'd love to talk about this. I have been on a committee called America's Energy Future. It's a committee that the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering has put together, and I'm on the parent committee, but I've also put myself on the transmission and distribution subcommittee. This is a very important issue. As America and the world transitions to more and more renewable energy, you need to be able to port energy from the areas of generation of this energy, for example, the great wind resources that are in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and other states; we have to ship that energy to population centers in the United States. There are great solar resources in California, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico. Again, the good news is both the solar energy resources and the wind energy resources are in areas that are not very densely populated, and the bad news is they're not very densely populated and so you have to move the energy to populations centers. For that we need a long distance transmission system specifically to take the energy from those places but in addition to that we need an overlay of the transmission and distribution systems in the United States. There are roughly a half a dozen regions in the United Stated where we distribute electricity, but as we go to more renewables, we have to start thinking in terms of a national distribution system because these energy resources are in only certain areas of the United States. And this is actually somewhat different because in the past, historically, we generate electricity locally where we use it and it's just like a highway system. In the early 1950s, President Eisenhower said: "We need a national highway system" in large part because of national defense. And where you had, let's say, a turnpike in New Jersey or a turnpike in New York State but then, as soon as you got out of the state's boundaries, it stopped. And we have to start thinking of a national distribution system so we can use these transient energy resources like wind and solar-photoelectric, solar-thermal, geothermal, and distribute that around the country. There's another important reason why we need a transmission distribution system that's modernized: And that is when a cloud rolls over, the wind just tops blowing, or, perhaps, it changes its intensity, the electricity distribution system has to respond very quickly to these changes; and by that, I mean, it has to be able to switch in conventional base-load generation of electricity. The wider the distribution system, the better you can switch the generation of electricity around in all parts of the nation. In fact, I think you don't have to be a rocket scientist to realize that if you could, in the best of all possible dreams, have a distribution system that circles the earth-- somewhere in the Earth, the wind is blowing and the sun is shining-- and the wider the distribution system, the more even these renewable energy sources look. If you're located in just a small area, then you're quite vulnerable to dark days and windless days and nights. So this is a very important aspect of it. It is a huge task. It will be costing hundreds of billions of dollars to somewhere close to a trillion dollars. It has to be coordinated well, but it's very important that we move in this direction now as the renewable energies in the United States begin to grow. Another topic was whether we should develop a Manhattan-style Project to push for energy independence. I'm very much in favor of this, but I have to say it's slightly different than the Manhattan style in the sense that the Manhattan Project was a large project done in secret, secluded areas. Price was not large an object. This is a very different thing. The science and technology we need to develop to give us much better choices for energy has to be done in a very open way. Industry has to adopt it. The best places for this are at universities, places like national laboratories, and the university and national lab research should be feeding into industry in an intimate way. I'm all for this. It is vitally important that we push very hard. The reason fundamentally--and I'll be very brief on this-- is that science and technology will give us much better options. Just as in the turn of the last century, from the 19th century to the 20th century, German scientists invented a way to make fertilizer. They invented a way to synthesize ammonia that could then be used to make artificial fertilizer. It was that invention that totally transformed the way Europe fed itself. It was that invention that enabled the population to grow, and we could feed ourselves for many, many years. Before that invention, Europe was thinking of actually importing soil from the New World, or using their colonized areas to grow food for Europe because they were suffering a huge depleted soil problem. With the invention of artificial fertilizer, all of a sudden, Europe could feed itself. I think, on a very similar vein, a lot of the things we're looking at in the energy challenge to combat, mitigate climate change or energy security and independence, a transformative invention could really transform our worries and what we can and can't do. As a scientist, I remain optimistic that the intellect of great scientists will enable us to provide again these wonderful discoveries and inventions. Now, the last thing I want to comment on is to encourage science and technology and it feeds directly into this. It's very clear to me and to many other people who have thought about this that the key to America's prosperity in the 21st century is the development of its intellectual capital, particularly in science and technology. The example I gave about the invention of fertilizer. Another example I can give is the Green Revolution which occurred in the late 1960s, early 1970s, in which a person by the name of Norman Borlaug was able to breed plants, a dwarf strain of wheat that increased the productivity of wheat four to five fold per acre not only in the United States, but in countries like Mexico, India, Pakistan. That invention, again, prevented the mass starvation of hundreds of millions of people that others felt was imminent. Norman Borlaug got the Nobel Peace Prize for this discovery. This comes out of basic science. He was a plant breeder. I think with science and technology, that we can discover a new generation of photovoltaic cells, artificial photosynthesis so that you capture the sunlight, you use that energy to capture carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, combine it with water and produce a hydrocarbon. So it's essentially an artificial plant, but something in the end that can be made much better. These are some of the things that I think science and technology can give us. But let me just say one last thing, and that is what is in the root of science is wanting to understand how the world around us works. And this is something that is really part of the human condition. How do you actually understand? Why is it that the sun is shining, and the sky is blue, and all these other basic questions? The discovery of how the universe started and how it evolved. A deeper understanding of biology and the molecular dynamics of this biology are great intellectual triumphs, and it is really part of the human condition, as I said, that is another reason we should be supporting science. But the reason why we should support it in a big way is the future of our economic prosperity. So I hope this has been useful to you. Thank you. Keep your comments and questions coming, and we will be glad to try and respond to them. Thank you and goodbye.