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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The House has completed it's business for 2016 by passing a spending bill which will keep the government funded through April 28. The final vote tally was 326-96. The bill's standing in the Senate is a bit tenuous at the moment, as a trio of Democratic Senators have pledged to block the bill unless coal miners get a permanent extension on retirement and health benefits. The government runs out of money on Friday night.
The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act today, sending the $618 billion measure to President Obama. The president vetoed the defense authorization bill a year ago, but both houses could override his disapproval this time around.
"President-elect Donald Trump railed against the Trans-Pacific Partnership on his way to winning the White House and has vowed immediately to withdraw the U.S. from the 12-nation accord. Several of his cabinet picks and other early nominees to top posts, however, have endorsed or spoken favorably about the trade pact, including Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, announced Wednesday as Mr. Trump’s pick for ambassador to China, and retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, Mr. Trump’s pick to head the Department of Defense."