Obama’s Energy Secretary Shoots Down Green New Deal: ‘It’s Just Impractical’

Former U.S. Sec. of Energy Ernest Moniz / Getty Images
• February 8, 2019 2:46 pm


Ernest Moniz, former energy secretary for President Barack Obama, weighted in on the newly introduced Green New Deal during a Friday interview with NPR, calling the plan "impractical."

"All Things Considered" host Ari Shapiro asked Moniz if the Green New Deal's goal of eliminating the U.S. carbon footprint in 10 years is attainable.

Moniz said a version of  the Green New Deal, one that pursues "very low carbon and social equity," is "exactly what we have to do," but he said the plan introduced by Democrats this week is "just impractical."

"Now, when we come to the Green New Deal, I'm afraid I just cannot see how we could possibly go to zero carbon in the 10-year time frame. It's just impractical," he said.

Self-described democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D., Mass.) released an outline of the Green New Deal on Thursday. The 14-page document outlines numerous goals like providing every resident of the United States with a federal job that includes paid vacation and retirement benefits, "adequate housing," "healthy food," and "access to nature." The plan would also aim to achieve "net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers."

In an additional document released by Ocasio-Cortez's office, it suggested even more radical goals for the Green New Deal. The plan aims to replace every combustible engine, make air travel unnecessary and retrofit or rebuild every building in the country to be more environmentally friendly.

"Totally overhaul transportation by massively expanding electric vehicle manufacturing, build charging stations everywhere, build out high- speed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary, create affordable public transit available to all, with goal to replace every combustion-engine vehicle," the document states.

Moniz worries an impractical timeframe will drive people away from supporting green policies in general.

"And if we start putting out impractical targets, we may lose a lot of key constituencies who we need to bring along to have a real low-carbon solution on the most rapid timeframe that we can achieve," Moniz added.

"What are those constituencies that you're afraid might be driven away by this?" Shapiro asked.

"Well, the labor unions who I think are very much aligned with the idea of low carbon but also understand we cannot strand too many assets and, frankly, strand too many workers with impractical, unrealizable objectives. We will jeopardize what has been, I think, the very significant movement of the large energy companies towards developing their new business models to function in a low-carbon world," Moniz said.