President Obama’s climate-change plan isn’t a “war” on the coal or oil industries, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a Monday policy address, but an incremental approach to reduce carbon emissions while improving the existing energy infrastructure.
Moniz, speaking at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, touched specifically on Republican accusations of an Obama “war on coal.” Those charges, Moniz said, “demonstrate misunderstanding or misstatement.” Coal will continue to be an energy source, he said, noting the proposed $6 billion investment in carbon-capture and sequestration technologies to reduce its environmental impact.
The wide-ranging address also defended the Obama administration from other frequent GOP attacks. The loan-guarantee program, Moniz said, is often associated with the Solyndra scandal, but in fact, its “track record is quite remarkable.” The program, part of the Energy Department’s effort to spur private investment in clean-energy projects, has more success stories than failures, he said. One example of that is Tesla Motors, which Moniz said has repaid its loan nine years ahead of schedule.
Another area of contention — whether climate change is actually occurring — is “not debatable,” Moniz said. “The evidence is overwhelming; the science is clear.” While focusing on long-term reductions in carbon emissions, he said the U.S. should also look at improving its energy infrastructure to deal with increasingly frequent incidents of extreme weather. Earlier in the day, Moniz and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced a partnership to develop an improved micro-grid to help the state meet its transit needs during weather emergencies.
Moniz also announced that his department is on pace to roll out several new efficiency standards for appliances, including walk-in refrigeration units, “small efficiency programs [that] can in fact yield huge results.”
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Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.