U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz joined more than 15,000 of our members during a jam-packed 45-minute tele-town hall this week, fielding live questions about everything energy.
But it was a call at the 23-minute mark from a Florida member that was the town hall’s most memorable – and arguably most substantive – moment.
With a rustle of wind blowing across his phone, the Fort Meyers man explained he was calling while riding his bike. Everyone in our room, including Secretary Moniz, grinned and chuckled.
But the caller had a serious question and one that is central to Environmental Defense Fund’s entire approach to protecting nature. “Is economic growth possible without environmental degradation?” he wanted to know.
Secretary Moniz nailed the response.
“There’s a history of lots of predictions of how expensive it’s going to be to move forward with economic growth while controlling environmental impacts,” he responded. “And historically, I think every time it’s proven to be incorrect.”
Throughout the event, Secretary Moniz laid out an inspiring, comprehensive vision of clean energy innovation, more efficient infrastructure, distributed energy, smarter grids, climate pollution reductions and more – a future we believe is within reach.
You can listen to the entire town hall here:
In his closing remarks, EDF President Fred Krupp pledged to remain committed to climate action as our top priority, and that our members and activists “will continue to support President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.”
Secretary Moniz responded with warm praise for EDF as “an organization that I have always found to be very solutions-oriented, and that’s what I like.”
Finding lasting solutions to the world’s most serious environmental challenges is what inspires our staff, day in and day out. And it was wonderful to share time with Secretary Moniz to swap ideas on the important clean energy solutions that will help us stabilize the climate.
As Fred said, “Nothing is more important.” This is why these four signs of climate progress are so encouraging.
I was unable to attend the call live, but just listened to it. I'm surprised no one asked about the recent rash of state laws that are banning living off the grid (including things like outlawing the collection of rainwater) thereby legally binding people to utility and water companies even as off-the-grid options are better than ever and, in some ways, one of the better hopes for mitigating climate damage. Why are states outlawing living off the grid? What can we as citizens do about it/how can we fight back?
Great question, Megan, and a very good point. We have been engaged on these issues, particularly as it relates to efforts by the American Legislative Exchange Council to go after state renewable energy standards and make it more difficult for consumers to take advantage of investments they're making to use solar energy and/or make their energy use more efficient.
It's a big concern and a very backward approach that some states are taking, and we've been very active in the efforts to stop these attacks and go the other way by empowering home-owners and energy customers.
This slightly older blog post helps describe some of the efforts we're taking on in this area. You can also read more about our work on our Clean Energy web page.
The good news is that with the Clean Power Plan going into force, it will change the incentives for states to get these sorts of policies right and to reinvest in cleaner energy that empowers consumers and reduces pollution. The states that seize these opportunities first will gain a huge advantage. States that continue to move in the wrong direction will fall behind.
In reply to I was unable to attend the by Megan
It is very encouraging that steps are being taken, however, I would like to add that awareness in society is limited. What the audio does not state is that we need energy, and we are not going to get away without energy, so is there a way to conserve energy by not using it? What we need to do is bring the consumption of energy to the minimum by reducing what we use. We need to talk more about reducing the consumption rate.
Excellent point and we agree completely.
Energy efficiency is the most affordable way to reduce emissions, and we are nowhere near where we can and should be in promoting efficiency in our creation, distribution, and use of energy.
You might be interested in this recent post on our Energy Exchange blog.
And here is some great information about my favorite program here at EDF, Climate Corps, which places the best and brightest business school students with public institutions and large companies to find new ways to save energy.
In reply to It is very encouraging that by Dr. Roshan Makam
Please acknowledge Megan's message. Some of us live in states that are governed by ALEC with power companies that push legislation to do everything they can to stop homeowners from doing things such as putting solar panels on their roofs. These groups claims are only that they do not want to accept the return of power to the grid, but the laws tend to be written so that it is illegal to have any solar at all even if you have you own battery storage. I actually had not heard about legislating prohibiting catching your rain water. These things should absolutely ruled out by the federal government. In other words, the federal government must find a way to help citizens with issues concerning our rights to manage out own energy systems.
"Can sustainability and economic growth go hand in hand? Secretary Moniz has the answer."
Personally, I completely agree with the secretary. Thank you for this complete article.
You have written a wonderful piece that does not address the real problem facing our future. Unbridled population growth worldwide is, and will be, the biggest human challenge in the future.
Yes, but i agree with Diane that the solution is the relationship between humans and environments. We cannot produce food for nearly 10 billion without taking into account how it will affect the environment. And we cannot continue to pollute the environment without considering how it will affect people who must eat.
I am impressed that the DOE under Sec. Moniz is pursuing development - through grants, awards and collaborative efforts - of all different types of renewable energy generation as well as more efficient use of fossil fuels. This holistic approach to fighting climate change is infinitely better than putting all of our eggs in the solar/wind energy basket like so many environmentalists seem to do these days.
Enviro-Equipme…October 22, 2015 at 11:39 am