President-elect Joe Biden has announced his cabinet contenders, and Ernest Moniz, who previously served as Energy Secretary during Obama’s term, highlights. The much-respected nuclear physicist stands in a short list of candidates and he may come back to his old chair for a second term.
Him is not the only one going for a rematch, as reported by the NYT, former Secretary of State, John Kerry, for whom climate change was a main issue, would come back during Biden’s administration as a “climate envoy”.
Ernest Moniz was born and raised in Fall River, Massachusetts. He attended the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT), where he founded and led the MIT’s Energy Initiative, a well-respected energy research hub.
During Bill Clinton’s administration he served as Associate Director for Science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, in the Executive Office of the President during the period of 1995 to 1997.
Then, he served as Under Secretary of Energy from 1997 to 2001; and then, from May, 2013, to January 20, 2017, as Secretary of Energy under Obama’s term. His biggest legacy as Energy chairman to date is the Iran Nuclear Deal, as he negotiated and designed the pillars of the agreement.
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Ernest Moniz has his detractors
He also was deeply involved in 2016’s Climate Change Paris Accord and many other high profile clean energy programs such as the Clean Energy Ministerial and Mission Innovation. In this program, in which 19 nations, including the U.S. agreed on doubling research and development efforts to fight climate change, he played a pivotal role.
Carbon capture, net-zero carbon emissions and clean energy developments are just a few of Ernest Moniz’s strong points. As Mr. Biden called him as one of his potential cabinet members, he declared being thrilled to do it again.
Nevertheless, his potential second term as Energy chairman, is not without detractors. “Liberal groups have protested some of the positions he has taken since leaving government, including a post on the board of Southern Company, an electric and gas utility company,” the NYT reports.
“He also served on an advisory board for BP, one of the biggest oil and gas companies in the world,” reported Wbur. To this, Mr. Ernest Moniz has declared: “I’m completely neutral on technologies. I’m not neutral on putting CO2 into the atmosphere. Carbon capture and sequestration is just as good as putting in place a zero-carbon technology, renewables, nuclear, you name it.”
Also, in the running for the Energy Secretary position, are Arun Majumdar, currently heading Mr. Biden’s transition team for the Energy Department; and Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, who has worked with both Clinton and Obama on foreign policies and national security issues.