Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told Axios in an exclusive interview that he will call for a plan aimed at counterbalancing the Green New Deal.

Driving the news: Moniz, who was the energy secretary from 2013 to 2017 under President Obama, is delivering a speech today at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event in D.C. touting energy innovation.

  • In what he’s calling the "Green Real Deal," Moniz says building broad coalitions — including with big business — will be essential to drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the next 30 years.
"If one is not pragmatic and pushes programs that are tough but at least achievable and if we can’t pull together and recognize the needs of a broad coalition, we won’t get there."
— Ernest Moniz, to Axios

Why it matters: Moniz, who now runs the think tank Energy Futures Initiative, is respected by many environmentalists and business leaders alike, so what he says could influence people across the political spectrum.

The other side: Backers of the Green New Deal, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and numerous Democratic presidential candidates, blame big business for blocking action and are pushing broad progressive policies that are unlikely to get support from fossil fuel companies or trade groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Between the lines: Moniz said speaking at the Chamber appealed to him because the powerful lobby group, long known for fighting climate-change policies, has “put out some strong statements recently about needing to move beyond the inaction phase.”

  • But, Moniz added, he’ll be sending a “very strong message that everybody, including the Chamber and their membership, has to walk the talk.”

One level deeper: Today’s speech is Moniz’s first on this topic since he laid out the broad parameters in a CNBC opinion piece this spring. Some of what he's likely to promote includes...

  • A price on carbon dioxide emissions, which Moniz says is “a good thing” but not a panacea. He says it needs to be structured in a way that doesn't hurt the poorest people the most and doesn't replace policies that reduce emissions for certain sectors, especially transportation.
  • Support for technologies and fuel sources that are controversial among some Democrats and environmentalists, including natural gas and nuclear power.

What’s next: Moniz will be speaking on this same topic in late September tied to a major UN climate summit in New York.

Go deeper: How California can meet its aggressive clean energy law

Go deeper

Pence to continue traveling despite aides testing positive for COVID-19

Marc Short with Pence in March. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force. Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the virus on Sunday morning, according to the vice president's office.

AOC: "Extremely important" that Biden offer Bernie Sanders a Cabinet position

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that she believes it's "extremely important" that Joe Biden offer Sen. Bernie Sanders and other progressive leaders Cabinet positions if he's elected president.

The big picture: Ocasio-Cortez was pressed repeatedly on policy differences between her and the more moderate Biden, including her opposition to fracking and support for Medicare for All. She responded that it would be a "privilege" and a "luxury" to be able to lobby a Biden administration on progressive issues, insisting that the focus right now should be on winning the White House.

1 hour ago - Health

Mark Meadows: "We are not going to control the pandemic"

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows defended Vice President Pence's decision to continue traveling and campaigning despite his exposure to aides who have tested positive for COVID-19, saying Sunday that Pence is exempt from CDC guidelines because he is "essential personnel."

Why it matters: CDC guidelines call for people who have been exposed to the virus to quarantine for 14 days. Meadows said on CNN's "State of the Union" that Pence will wear a mask when he travels and argued that "he's not just campaigning," pointing to the Israel-Sudan normalization agreement announced by the White House last week.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!