Jul 31, 2019

Obama energy chief Ernest Moniz to call for "Green Real Deal"

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

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 5,453,784 — Total deaths: 345,886 — Total recoveries — 2,191,310Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 1,651,254 — Total deaths: 97,850 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: Top Boris Johnson aide defends himself after allegations he broke U.K. lockdown — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 48 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden makes first public appearance in over two months

Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in over two months on Monday to honor Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a Delaware veterans park, AP reports.

Why it matters: Biden, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, has taken the unprecedented step of campaigning from his home during the coronavirus pandemic, ever since canceling a rally in Cleveland on March 10.

WHO temporarily suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns

Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization is temporarily pausing tests of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment in order to review safety concerns, the agency's director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu said Monday.

Why it matters: The decision comes after a retrospective review published in The Lancet found that coronavirus patients who took hydroxychloroquine or its related drug chloroquine were more likely to die or develop an irregular heart rhythm that can lead to sudden cardiac death, compared to those who did nothing.