May 17 News: Ernest Moniz Unanimously Confirmed As Our Next Energy Secretary

Yesterday afternoon, Ernest Moniz was unanimously confirmed as the nation’s new Energy Secretary, earning praise from green groups and industry. [Greentech Media]

Ernest Moniz, a former MIT physicist, is the new secretary of energy. The Senate voted to confirm Moniz this afternoon by a vote of 97 to 0.

Moniz now takes over for Steven Chu, who left the Department of Energy in April after a tumultuous tenure in office. Faced with the sequester and a possible continuing resolution that would limit the department’s budget, Moniz will also need to make hard decisions about what programs to fund.

As a moderate progressive on energy issues, Moniz had strong bipartisan support — unlike many of President Obama’s other nominees. However, some environmental groups publicly worried about Moniz because of his support for an “all-of-the-above” strategy to energy production, particularly his promotion of natural gas while at MIT…. Moniz has also been a strong supporter of renewable energy and the need to address climate change.

The Interior Department issued new draft rules on fracking, weaker than a previous version supported by many, and stronger than the “no federal regulations” position advocated for by industry. [Washington Post]

In an extended road trip around the country, a researcher has found that methane emission levels are much higher than previously thought. [Yale Environment 360]

Unfortunately, a climate denier talking point that increasing clouds will cool the earth is even less true than once originally thought. [Climate News Network]

Gina McCarthy’s nomination to head the EPA was voted out of the Senate EPW Committee on party lines, and faces a meeting with Senator Blunt over a levee issue in his state, more requests by Senator Vitter, and finally a vote on the Senate floor. [The Hill]

EPA is the most effective agency in the Office of Management and Budget’s cost-benefit analysis. [Sustainable Business]

The hacker group Anonymous launches Operation Petrol, against the fossil fuel industry. [The Hill]

President Obama travels to Baltimore today on a jobs and opportunity tour, and will visit a company whose president testified on behalf of the Keystone XL pipeline. [Buzzfeed]

Solar power windows could be in the marketplace very soon. [CleanTechnica]

2012’s spring was the earliest on record. [Capital Weather Gang]

Epic drought in Texas has impacted the state’s turkey hunt, and if conditions remain the same, hunters could see less than half of the usual numbers. [Daily Climate]

10 reasons Canada should rethink oil sands development, courtesy of a new website: [Oil Sands Reality Check, DeSmogBlog]

The UK rejected a proposal to define tar sands oil as “highly polluting,” signaling that it supports EU imports of the carbon-intensive fuel. [Guardian]

21 Responses to May 17 News: Ernest Moniz Unanimously Confirmed As Our Next Energy Secretary

  1. prokaryotes says:

    Obama: Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous

  2. Superman1 says:

    “because of his support for an “all-of-the-above” strategy to energy production”. That’s the only way any nominee could come close to getting unanimous support for confirmation. This nomination is a hard rubber stamp on BP’s 2030 Energy Outlook, which shows fossil energy use 30% above that of 2010.

  3. Superman1 says:

    From your link: “A survey by the U.S. Pew Research Center published in October last year found 45 percent of Americans said “Yes” when asked: “Do scientists agree Earth is getting warmer because of human activity?” Forty-three percent said “No”.” Hmmm, not exactly 97/3. This 45/43 poll is about as accurate as the ones that state 70% of Americans support action on climate change. Oh, I forgot: plus or minus 50%.

  4. prokaryotes says:

    Please read The Consensus Project:

    About the 97 % of “Scientist” agree (settled / consensus), these polls just show the gap in messaging the findings to the public. At fault ARE the MEDIA, which can you read here about as well

  5. prokaryotes says:

    Global warming has not stalled, insists world’s best-known climate scientist
    Prof James Hansen warns public not to be fooled by ‘diversionary tactic’ from deniers

  6. prokaryotes says:

    Greenland ice melting at an expanding pace may begin cooling the North Atlantic and increasing the severity of storms by 2075, said James Hansen, the former NASA scientist who raised concerns about global warming in the 1980s.
    “If we stay on this path where the rate of mass loss from Greenland doubles every 10 years, we would get to a situation by about 2075 or 2080 where the mass loss is so fast that it causes the whole North Atlantic to be colder,” Hansen said in London.
    The findings are from computer models using current rates of ice melt and will be detailed in a paper that Hansen plans to finish writing in the summer, he said yesterday in an interview.
    Inflows of cold, fresh water from Greenland would slow deep currents that carry cold water south, cooling the North Atlantic as tropical waters get warmer, Hansen said. That would increase a “temperature gradient” that’s conducive to stronger storms.
    “It could happen sooner” than 2075, Hansen said. “If you look at how fast the mass loss is increasing, it looks like the doubling time is between five and 10 years,” he said.

  7. Raul M. says:

    Our need for a understanding campaign. As in please be understanding of the revelations by the climate science.
    Facts being revealed may be especially disturbing to those who had not given it any thought on their own. Not to say it isn’t especially disturbing for those who have given it much thought. But to find that the majority now sees the error of their lifestyles?

  8. prokaryotes says:

    One of the most watched Global Warming movies (on YouTube) is available again

  9. Mike Roddy says:

    Moniz has all kinds of oil company ties, and is bad news. Obama has clearly given up, if he ever even showed up in the first place.

  10. Superman1 says:

    I don’t think he had a choice. Given how the Senate operates these days, there’s no way a renewables-oriented or conservation-oriented person would get the sixty votes necessary to get even a vote. If we, the electorate, had gotten off our rear ends in the last few elections, and given him the sixty votes plus, then we could see some powerful appointments.

  11. I’m with Mike (#6).

    I think Moniz will prove to be just another drill-baby-drill, nuke-baby-nuke Secretary of Energy. The Obama administration give lip-service to renewables, etc., while kissy-kissy lips to the powers that be — fossil fuels (fracking anyone?) and nuclear power. That’s where the money is.

    Who cares about a bunch of hippies and the environment “they” live in?

  12. I’m not so sure. He had a strong majority in both houses at the beginning of his administration, could have expanded the medicare program to everyone, and chose to force everyone to buy private insurance under the rubric of “not reinventing the [insurance] wheel.” But Medicare was already invented, so the excuse was flimsy at best.

    He has said he won’t propose or fight for a carbon tax — God forbid he should spook the markets — and so on. He’s proven himself to be just another corporate mouthpiece, I’m afraid.

    Also, you forgetting about the redistricting that gave the GOP the majority in the House.

    As the old saying goes, “If God wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates.”

  13. Superman1 says:

    “you forgetting about the redistricting that gave the GOP the majority in the House.” I have commented on that issue more than once. It came about because the voters for State office couldn’t be bothered to get out and support climate-beneficial candidates, and allowed the legislatures to become dominated by GOP. They then did the re-districting.

  14. Superman1 says:

    Undoubtedly, these voters that sat out the State elections and Federal elections were part of the 70% who are quoted in polls as supporting strong climate change action. They were probably too exhausted to vote after responding to all the pollsters.

  15. Here is one more bit of news that I gleaned from GMA this AM. Just enough to make to look further, because GMA never mentioned climate.

    According the World Coffee Research organization, climate change reaching Central America and has created a perfect environment for the growth of coffee rust and some 25% of the 2012 / 2013 crop. Workers are leaving for cities or N. America.

    Report here:

  16. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    ‘Moderate progressive!!’, ‘all of the above’, and unanimous approval from the Reptilicans. Boy, oh, boy-it doesn’t get much more blatant than this. The contempt for the popular intelligence is growing more florid by the day. Plus Obama’s ‘lame duck’ phase being initiated with such a series of ‘blunders’ (do me a favour!) so early on. One begins to wonder if he’s looking for early retirement.

  17. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Phil, it’s not that they ‘don’t care’. In fact, as you can see if you read the lower depths of the Rightwing MSM hate-machine, they revile, detest and loathe Greens with growing fury.

  18. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Well, that counts me out. I was in a good mood last, when….Kingston Town won his third Cox Plate. That would be 1982, halcyon days.

  19. Superman1 says:

    “the study “found that carbon dioxide may have at least twice the effect on global temperatures than currently projected by computer models of global climate.””. Considering that the global temperatures currently projected by the models for end of century (~5-6 C) are adequate for species extinction, all these results mean is that we can expect species extinction closer to mid-century.

  20. Superman1 says:

    Since there is zero evidence for any trajectory other than present all-out use of fossil fuel, small children today may have relatively small probability of reaching a ripe middle-age. McPherson may be the most prescient after all!