WASHINGTON – As the nation is being propelled forward by a massive natural gas boom,Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz sees an opportunity to lead the world in a push toward global clean-technology growth.
During a luncheon Wednesday at the National Press Club,Moniz addressed members of the public and journalists who questioned him on a range of issues from coal-hungry developing countries to monitoring fracking emissions in the U.S.
Moniz tied much of his speech to President Barack Obama’s “all-of-the-above” energy agenda that has taken aim at reducing dependence on foreign oil and controlling the country’s energy future. The energy secretary said that the policy is leading to new jobs in construction and reduced emissions as part of the nation’s transition from coal production to natural gas development.
“Across the country,the promise of clean,affordable,domestically produced energy that we have sought for decades is finally coming true in a massive scale. We didn’t get here by accident,” Moniz said.
At a Cato Institute event earlier in the month,international trade attorney Scott Lincicome argued that the administration’s oil and gas regulations – particularly limitations on exports – were misguided and could lead to a glut of natural gas left in the ground costing oil and gas producers billions.
“Business decisions are based on political whims rather than market forces,” he said.
“Energy independence should not be the goal. The goal should really be energy stability,” Lincicome said,describing a balance between domestic production,imports and exports as critical to maintaining a predictable market.
In his talk Wednesday,however,Moniz repeatedly brought up multiple ways that the “all-of-the-above” program was set up to address climate change and set an example for the rest of the world.
Moniz listed several goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They include increasing the fuel efficiency of passenger vehicles and long-haul trucks,doubling the United States’ wind and solar power production over the next five years and making a transition away from coal and toward natural gas to produce electricity.
Obama announced more details about new fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty trucks in a speech on Tuesday.
China’s coal consumption is more than four times that of the U.S.,meaning the task of reducing global air pollution stretches beyond North America. Acknowledging that Chinese officials are concerned with air quality and pollution,Moniz said that they were weighing those downsides against the importance of economic development.
Reach reporter Griffin Moores at [email protected] or 202-326-9871202-326-9871. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.