Climate Deniers Aside, Moniz Is Hopeful of Action

© 2013 Liz Lynch
Clare Foran
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Clare Foran
Oct. 24, 2013, 2:16 p.m.

En­ergy Sec­ret­ary Ern­est Mon­iz soun­ded a note of op­tim­ism Thursday that Con­gress will ul­ti­mately ad­dress cli­mate change, but he said the ad­min­is­tra­tion is rap­idly mov­ing ahead with ac­tions it can take without le­gis­la­tion to tackle the grow­ing threat to the glob­al en­vir­on­ment.

“We will now be fo­cus­ing on the chal­lenge of what we can and will ul­ti­mately do in le­gis­la­tion even as we carry out Pres­id­ent Obama’s very ag­gress­ive cli­mate-change ac­tion plan,” Mon­iz said at an event hos­ted by the Cen­ter for Stra­tegic and In­ter­na­tion­al Stud­ies to mark the 40-year an­niversary of the Ar­ab Oil Em­bargo.

As one ex­ample, Mon­iz said his de­part­ment is on track to is­sue new en­ergy-ef­fi­ciency stand­ards for elec­tric mo­tors next month. He also stressed the need for the U.S. to build up its re­new­able-en­ergy port­fo­lio as part of the pres­id­ent’s “all of the above” ap­proach to en­ergy pro­duc­tion and make im­prove­ments to the elec­tric grid to guard against the threat of cy­ber­at­tacks and nat­ur­al dis­asters.

“Cli­mate is a real threat-mul­ti­pli­er, po­ten­tially,” Mon­iz said. “It’s a se­cur­ity is­sue as well as an en­vir­on­ment­al is­sue.”

Mon­iz made a point of chal­len­ging mem­bers of Con­gress who have be­come known as “cli­mate den­iers.”

“What I con­sider not de­bat­able,” he said, “is the need to re­spond prudently to the risks of cli­mate change.” He ad­ded: “I be­lieve, frankly, we have turned the corner on that is­sue. I be­lieve that we are — in­clud­ing in our Con­gress — really past the is­sue of wheth­er we need to re­spond.”

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