Energy Nominee Moniz: We Need Carbon Price To Double Or Triple Cost Of Dirty Energy

Tuesday is the confirmation hearing date for Energy Secretary nominee Ernest Moniz. The MIT professor will face the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee (webcast here starts at 10 am ET).

I have known Moniz for 30 years. Turns out he was my professor for advanced electromagnetism in 1982. Then I worked with him again at the Clinton Energy Department in 1997 and 1998 (his full bio is here). I think he’s a fine choice for Secretary — and considerably better than many of the alternatives.

Some have complained that Moniz, like Chu, is not an energy deployment guy. True enough, but somehow U.S. renewable electricity supply managed to double under Chu. Of course, that’s also mostly a coincidence because the energy secretary doesn’t actually have much power over energy in this country.

For those worry about fracking, for instance, the EPA administrator nominee — Gina McCarthy — will play a much more salient role. And she’s the one who will be in charge of developing carbon regulations. She gets a confirmation hearing on Thursday.


Moniz is exceedingly knowledgeable about carbon issues. Just last year told the Switch Energy Project he supports a carbon price that would substantially increase electricity costs:

“If we start really squeezing down on carbon dioxide over the next few decades, well, that could double; it could eventually triple…. I think inevitably if we squeeze down on carbon, we squeeze up on the cost, it brings along with it a push toward efficiency; it brings along with it a push towards clean technologies in a conventional pollution sense; it brings along with it a push towards security. Because after all, the security issues revolve around carbon-bearing fuels.”

Here’s the video:

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