Energy secretary: ‘All of the above’ includes reducing emissions

Source: By Timothy Cama, The Hill • Posted: Monday, November 16, 2015

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said Friday that the Obama administration’s “all of the above” approach to energy sources means it seeks to reduce carbon dioxide from the energy sector.

Moniz sought to clarify the “all of the above” policy, saying that while certain energy sources such as wind and solar have no carbon emissions, the administration is truly committed to all forms of energy, including fossil fuels.

“We say ‘all of the above,’ but let me be very clear: ‘all of the above’ starts out with a commitment to low carbon,” Moniz said Friday at a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace event.

“The Department of Energy’s responsibility is to advance the research and development demonstration for all fuels, for a low-carbon world.”

He said that contrasts with a “some of the above” approach, which for Moniz translates to “my favorite technology as the silver bullet,” he said. “It’s just not going to work.”

The “all of the above” policy has long been a favorite rallying cry for President Obama and his staff, in part to try to blunt attacks from fossil fuel advocates affiliated with the coal and oil industries who charge that Obama is trying to harm them.

But Moniz, who is heading to Paris soon to meet with his counterparts around the world in advance of a United Nations meeting to write a global climate change pact, said that’s not the case, using coal as an example to illustrate the low-carbon strategy.

“That means advancing and engaging in the same kind of cost reduction for carbon capture, utilization and sequestration,” he said.

Natural gas, with its low emissions, is currently part of the solution, Moniz said, but it will probably need to adapt to carbon capture in the future too.

“Not in this decade or the next decade, perhaps, but as we go to a trajectory of ever-lower carbon emissions, well then, natural gas will be too carbon-intense, and it will need carbon capture and sequestration,” he said.