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Thu Feb 7, 2013, 10:54 AM

Exclusive: Obama considering MIT physicist Moniz for energy secretary - sources

Source: Reuters

President Barack Obama is considering naming nuclear physicist Ernest Moniz, one of his science and energy advisers, as the next energy secretary, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

Moniz, who was undersecretary at the Energy Department during the Clinton administration, is a familiar figure on Capitol Hill, where he has often talked to lawmakers about how abundant supplies of U.S. natural gas will gradually replace coal as a source of electricity.

Moniz is director of MIT's Energy Initiative, a research group that gets funding from industry heavyweights including BP, Chevron, and Saudi Aramco for academic work on projects aimed at reducing climate-changing greenhouse gases.

He did not respond to an e-mail request for comment on Wednesday evening.

<snip>

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/07/us-usa-cabinet-energy-idUSBRE91602H20130207

8 replies, 1724 views

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Reply Exclusive: Obama considering MIT physicist Moniz for energy secretary - sources (Original post)
bananas Feb 2013 OP
OKNancy Feb 2013 #1
bananas Feb 2013 #3
robinlynne Feb 2013 #8
loudsue Feb 2013 #2
Spitfire of ATJ Feb 2013 #4
maxsolomon Feb 2013 #6
magical thyme Feb 2013 #5
robinlynne Feb 2013 #7

Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:05 AM

1. He seems like a good one

Here is a letter he wrote in 2008

http://www.technologyreview.com/notebook/411038/dear-mr-president/

Excerpt from above

Reducing our dependence on hydrocarbon fuels will also promote energy security, providing more latitude in foreign policy.

In this context, I respectfully suggest the following actions for the first year of your administration:

(1) Implement carbon dioxide emissions pricing, most likely through a cap-and-trade system. Charging for carbon emissions will stimulate the market to introduce low-carbon technologies. The cap-and-trade system should move as quickly as possible toward an auction system, with the funds returned to the public in a progressive manner.

(2) Work with the private sector to provide a portfolio of proven, cost-­effective low-carbon energy technologies. Goals should include new nuclear power plant construction, a strong renewables program, and a program to demonstrate large-scale carbon dioxide sequestration. Realistically, this will require a small charge on energy supply. The scale of the program needs to be in the range of $10 billion a year for 10 to 15 years.

(3) Establish a mechanism for ­coördinating the many interests that must influence a coherent energy ­policy: national security, foreign policy, environmental policy, agricultural policy, fiscal policy, and so on. The administration’s policy position must also reflect the legitimate and often diverging energy interests of different regions of the country. The Department of Energy does not have the capacity to bring together these disparate interests without help from the White House. One option is to appoint an assistant to the president for energy, who would work with the energy secretary.

(4) Commit to implementing, within 10 years, a 21st-century electricity grid that will enable development of large-scale regional resources for renewable electricity. Introducing energy efficiency standards for new buildings and financial incentives for retrofitting existing buildings should be a high priority.

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Response to OKNancy (Reply #1)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:37 AM

3. Nuclear energy isn't needed at all

A study published last year in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences confirms this:
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-10/pifc-rnp092812.php

Public release date: 1-Oct-2012
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

Restricting nuclear power has little effect on the cost of climate policies

Incremental costs due to policy options restricting the use of nuclear power do not significantly increase the cost of even stringent greenhouse-gas emissions reductions

"Questions have been raised if restricting nuclear energy – an option considered by some countries after the accident in Fukushima, Japan – combined with climate policies might get extremely expensive. Our study is a first assessment of the consequences of a broad range of combinations of climate and nuclear policies," lead author Nico Bauer says. Restrictions on nuclear power could be political decisions, but also regulations imposed by safety authorities. Power generation capacities would have to be replaced, but fossil fuels would become costly due to a price on CO2 emissions, this in sum is the main concern.

<snip>

For their study, the scientists looked into different nuclear power policies. These cover a range of scenarios from "Renaissance", with a full utilization of existing power plants, a possible refurbishment for a lifetime expansion and investments in new nuclear power capacities, to "Full exit", with a decommissioning of existing power plants and no new investments. They contrasted each scenario with climate policies implemented via an inter-temporal global carbon budget which puts a price on carbon emissions. For the budget, the cumulative CO2 emissions from the global energy sector were limited to 300 gigatons of carbon from 2005 until the end of the century. This represents a climate mitigation policy consistent with the target of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.

"A surprising result of our study is the rather little difference between a 'Renaissance' or a 'Full exit' of nuclear power in combination with a carbon budget when it comes to GDP losses," Bauer says. While the 'no policy case' with a nuclear phase-out and no carbon budget has only negligible effect on global GDP, the imposition of a carbon budget with no restrictions on nuclear policy implies a reduction of GDP that reaches 2.1 percent in 2050. The additional phase-out of nuclear power increases this loss by about 0.2 percent in 2050 and hence has only little additional impact on the economy, because the contribution of nuclear power to the electricity generation can be substituted relatively easy by alternative technology options, including the earlier deployment of renewables.

###

Article: Bauer, N., Brecha, R.J., Luderer, G. (2012): Economics of nuclear power and climate change mitigation policies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Early Edition)

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Response to OKNancy (Reply #1)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 01:17 PM

8. He promotes natural gas and nuclear energy. HIs use of "renewable" does not match our use of

"renewable". He aint promoting solar. just makes it sound that way.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 11:09 AM

2. Just another military/industrial/commercial complex bloke.

Nothing new in our capitalist society.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 12:11 PM

4. It's an embarrassment that we are still burning coal.

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Response to Spitfire of ATJ (Reply #4)


Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 12:59 PM

5. He already had a nuclear physicist as Energy Secretary

The President needs to get over his love affair with nukes. They are not the solution.

On the other hand, thank you, Federal Government, for *finally* paying Maine a first installment of $80B+ on our cold spent reactors just 20 miles to my south... that you were supposed to start removing over a decade ago and that have been costing us Mainers quite a pretty penny to protect while you fart around trying to figure out where to take them too.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 01:14 PM

7. His research is funded by BP and a Saudi company. He supports fracking.

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