I, For One, Welcome Our New Energy Overlord

Guest essay by Kevin D. Knoebel

In case you missed it, physicist Ernest J. Moniz was sworn in on May 21, 2013 as the new US Secretary of Energy. Born in 1944 in Fall River, Massachusetts, graduated high school in Fall River, Massachusetts, got his BS is Physics from Boston College in Massachusetts in 1966. Finally he left that East Coast pocket of moderate conservatism during the 1960’s counter-cultural revolution to experience something completely different, Stanford University in California, where he got his PhD in Theoretical Physics in 1972.

Afterward he retreated back to Massachusetts, joining the faculty at MIT. From there he briefly wandered as far westward as Washington DC to serve two positions in the Clinton Administration, finishing as Under Secretary of Energy, thus granting him the wisdom to succeed in his new position.

Sadly he replaces (ignoring the brief fill-in time of an Acting Secretary) the beloved visionary, physicist Steven Chu. It is unknown what will happen to Chu’s fantastic dream of a glucose economy, where fast-growing plants in the tropics are converted to glucose, to be transported worldwide and converted as needed into biofuels and bioplastics. Granted it was likely doomed from the start, as continual exposure to high levels of glucose is known to the State of California to cause diabetes, but it was a wondrously original concept.

It is not known at this time why Moniz shares the same hairstyle as esteemed Stanford University theoretical physicist Michio Kaku. Hopefully Stanford professor Leif Svalgaard will be able to tell us if this is a time-honored tradition among past and current members of the Stanford Theoretical Physics Department. Steven Chu was once a Stanford professor of physics, but pursued practical applications, does not have the hairstyle.

Ernest Moniz

Not Ernest Moniz

He recently showcased his brilliance at the White House Leadership Summit on Women, Climate and Energy on May 23. Story. Video.

To assist those with hearing difficulties, or who have troubles with internet video, etc, I have painstakingly prepared a transcript, striving for absolute accuracy, listening to the same fragments dozens of times on the system speaker (I rarely use audio). Feel free to compare it to the video and report any corrections.

Transcript follows:

I’m not here, to, ah, debate what’s not debatable. Ah, the threat from climate change is real and urgent. Ah, the science fully demands, ah, a prudent response. Ah, just this month, as you know, I mean, pfft, kinda symbolically, ah, hitting, ah, essentially 400 ppm, ah, of CO2. Ah, of course that’s not including, ah, the non-CO2 greenhouse gases which really pump you up to about 450, ah, in, in effect. Ah, so we really need to, need to, ah, get after this. It’s, it’s an important imperative. Ah, and, ah, now the question is what are the solutions. And this is where there is, in fact, now, what I would call, legitimate debate. Let’s debate the solutions, ah, as opposed to, to, the driver.

Exquisite. Climate change is not debatable, it is real that climate changes. Science demands a prudent response, and it is manifestly prudent to wait and see what happens before responding, especially since there’s very little at all happening. Essentially we are already effectively at an atmospheric concentration of 450ppm CO₂, further showing the rising CO₂ is nothing to worry about.

Plus the discussions have simplified. We no longer have to argue how much of climate change is due to natural variation, we can go straight to debating the solutions to natural variation.

While our new Secretary of Energy has been widely greeted with enthusiasm, it was noted there was some concern, as mentioned in a HuffPo Green piece:

Some environmental groups have fretted about Moniz taking over the Energy Department, given his past support for nonrenewable, waste-producing practices such as hydraulic fracturing and nuclear fission.

I’ll wait until these obvious hypocrites start voicing their concerns using organically-grown fully-biodegradable computers and smart phones before considering their opinions. Meanwhile I welcome our new obviously-intelligent Energy Secretary.

Hopefully he’ll be able to stay in there and do some good. Although following the trend of nominating Stanford-affiliated physicists for the position, I am looking forward to the reign of future Energy Secretary Svalgaard.

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following the trend of nominating Stanford-affiliated physicists for the position, I am looking forward to the reign of future Energy Secretary Svalgaard.
Now there’s a thought.

Mario Lento

There is so much sarcasm in this post. Chu was a really bad activist. We all know he saw it as a problem that our gas prices were not as high as Europe’s. This guy Moniz sounds like a politician puppet spewing rhetoric to the masses of people who listen intently to how he wants to save the world. I’m sick inside after listening to this puppet speak.

CodeTech

Ah, too much, ah, LSD in the, ah, Sixties?

Bruce Cobb

There’s no fool like an educated one.

observa

When I saw the hair, for a brief moment I thought there would be some Washingtonian words to follow. Perhaps a period costume might help?

OldWeirdHarold

I thought that was Captain Kangaroo.

Mario Lento

Seriously: Isn’t Obama late to the CAGW party? Seriously, isn’t it time he pull back the reins a bit on this extremist attack on science?
PS CodeTech LDS = LSD right?

Mike Smith

Amazing insight and vision. Alert the Nobel committee immediately!

jorgekafkazar

Energy Secretary Svalgaard. I like it. Maybe in the next Administration. If there is one…

CodeTech

Mario Lento – it’s a quote from Star Trek IV – they travel back in time to the 1980s and Kirk explains Spock as having done too much LDS in the 60s

John West

What is not debatable?
“The Earth is round.”
Really? Perfectly round?
It’s debatable.

EW3

Why is it assumed a PhD in physics understands energy policy.
Give me T Boone Pickens anytime.

Rich Lambert

I believe the country would be better off without the departments of Energy, Homeland Security, and Education.

Curt

Michio Kaku has no connection with Stanford University. Never has.

William McClenney

The square of zero, the unanimous consent and advice of da Senate

Paul Marko

Secretary of Energy, what crap. All we need is a rig count from the petroleum industry, how many open mining pit permits have been denied the coal industry, and if the nuclear power industry has enough fuel rods to get us through the rest of the year. The position is as useless as panties on Paris Hilton.

Walter Sobchak

So this guy is as stupid as Chu is?

OldWeirdHarold

If you need somebody from Stanford, go dig up Dixy Lee Ray. She’s smarter dead that this clown is alive.

JMS

The hairstyle is more that of the psychopathic killer Anton Chigur from the Coen brothers and Cormack MacCarthy’s “No Country for Old Men”. After all of the very public ridicule that that character’s hairstyle got in the press, why would anyone still wear their hair like that?

Gary Hladik

Rich Lambert says (June 2, 2013 at 4:51 pm): “I believe the country would be better off without the departments of Energy, Homeland Security, and Education.”
And Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, HHS, HUD, & Transportation. Veterans’ Affairs should be part of DoD.
Hey, I can dream, can’t I? 🙂

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

Curt said on June 2, 2013 at 4:53 pm:

Michio Kaku has no connection with Stanford University. Never has.

You are right! He was University of California at Berkeley. How did I miss that when doing that part of the writing during cooking supper and washing dishes and wrangling cats? Maybe it was a southern California thing?
Thank you for adding support for Kaku never becoming Secretary of Energy.
What is wrong with me? I used to write more clearly and easily back when I’d go outdoors for a quick smoke to compose my thoughts. Or because the cats or parents or TV news shows were irritating. Or it’d been at least an hour and I was due. It’s been such a struggle since I quit mid-December.
Shall I do as so many of the great ones do and have done, and yield to the temptations of the flesh for the sake of my art?

Luther Wu

Ok, I’ve stopped laughing long enough to type…

Ian W

Gary Hladik says:
June 2, 2013 at 5:36 pm
Rich Lambert says (June 2, 2013 at 4:51 pm): “I believe the country would be better off without the departments of Energy, Homeland Security, and Education.”
And Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, HHS, HUD, & Transportation. Veterans’ Affairs should be part of DoD.

That would entail enforcement of the 10th Amendment.
For those in the EU that means enforcement of subsidiarity.

Luther Wu

kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
June 2, 2013 at 5:37 pm
“What is wrong with me? I used to write more clearly and easily back when I’d go outdoors for a quick smoke to compose my thoughts. Or because the cats or parents or TV news shows were irritating. Or it’d been at least an hour and I was due. It’s been such a struggle since I quit mid-December.
Shall I do as so many of the great ones do and have done, and yield to the temptations of the flesh for the sake of my art?
________________________
No !!!
I also quit in December, but during the storm on the 31st, I went into a smoke shop in the torrential downpour and dripped a puddle all over the counter and floor while I coughed up the cash… now I’m feelin’ all morose and guilty and stuff about my reacquired sins.

RockyRoad

This would be funny if it weren’t so damn accurate.

@Harold, SillyCon Valley had its own Captain Satellite until he was found to be more interested in his younger fans … and there was Mayor Art, who I remember ending a sit-in/riot single handedly.
Michio Kaku impeached himself forever with his stance on Plutonium GPHS-RTG aboard Cassini-Huygens.
L.S. Junior University has fallen far.

Mike jarosz

I know some PhD’s that are smart as well as educated. Obama doesn’t.

Master_Of_Puppets

Chu is a bum [the Nobel was by riding Coat tails] and this guy (Moniz) is on heavy and expensive) drugs.
I like the hair by the way. Looks to be in the era of George Washington. Cute. Hair is good.
Given the definition of ‘Climate’ I posit that ‘Climate’ does not exist !, i.e. the Theory Of Climate Failed.
[Gasp Heard ‘Round The Political World]
[Rumblings and Vomitings Within the Royal Society]
[Australia Laughing]
[China and Japan demand a RECOUNT ! NOW ! GOD DAMIT !]
[Vietnam responding to China: ‘Can’t you read engrish ?’]
[Greenland: Screw You Ha Ha. We signed a big Oil Company Drilling Contract ! Whop De Do !]
[Saudia Arabia opens the oil valves to flood the markets … ‘Damn the Yanks’ says one of the chosen ones to the lessor of the world]
[Germany: Waite Waite … Our Nuclear Plants … Sniff Sniff … [Tear In Eye] … We ARE … the Future ! Of HUMANITY … PURITY … EVERLASTING … SIG HEIL SIG HEIL SIG HEIL]
Well. Looks like Iron Fist came to fruition. Thanks to my kick-ass cell phone-computer. 🙂
[Hardy Har Har … Monday already arrived !]

Steven Kopits

I think one of the major problems at DOE is that the Secy of Energy requires a security clearance. Therefore, there is a bias, it seems to me, to pick people who already have security clearance. This tends to exclude, for example, businessmen who have no need of such clearances for ordinary business.
DOE would be better off if matters of commercial energy and energy economics were segregated from top secret technology. Adam Sieminski, who came to the head the EIA from Deutsche Bank, to me seems to be a good choice. He is comfortable with statistics and understands how real business operates.
Well, let’s give Moniz a chance, but he does seem like a bit of an odd duck.

JFD

From the transcript “Let’s debate the solutions, ah, as opposed to, to, the driver.” That statement violates every rule that I ever learned in a half century of problem solving in the energy industry. First define the problem before developing corrective actions. Moniz must have never worked a single day in industry in his entire life.

Skiphil

Amazing video, our new Energy Commisar is one of the worst public speakers ever. If he had great ideas we might not care that he is such a pitiful, inarticulate speaker in a position of such prominence. Alas, there are no indications that he has even adequate ideas….

CodeTech

Hmmm – I’m 97% certain I typed “LDS” in that first quote… now it’s transformed into “LSD” ???

Finally, brainless Obama has installed an administration Joe that everyone can oppose.
This must be his strategy to “bring us together.”

This is just one more data point showing that the system is thoroughly broken, with all of our institutions and presumptive “authorities” suborned by a scientific delusion, indeed a scientific hysteria.
This new Czar’s stated position on what is debatable and what is not fits what I have said at both Bishop Hill and Steven Goddard’s Real-Science site. At the latter, I put the current official government line this way: “We don’t need no stinking data–the science is settled.” I put it that way because I very much consider our government(s) to be criminal enterprises now, well likened to the scruffy bandidos in “Treasure of the Sierra Madre”. And I expect that I will be unable to do otherwise than simply disobey the laws that come forth from such racketeers (starting with Obamacare).

Chris4692

EW3 says:
June 2, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Why is it assumed a PhD in physics understands energy policy.

This.

[snip -policy – mod]

Neill

Grandma is a cross-dresser?

rogerknights

Bruce Cobb says:
June 2, 2013 at 4:28 pm
There’s no fool like an educated one.

I like my wording better: No fool like a wise fool.

Catcracking

My question is how did the opposition party ever allow someone with such a non science posture ever get approved? He has not learned anything from the last 15 years on global warming or about the failures of his predecessor over the last 4 years except to waste billions on Solyndra and other foolish activities.

JMS says:
June 2, 2013 at 5:17 pm
The hairstyle is more that of the psychopathic killer Anton Chigur from the Coen brothers and Cormack MacCarthy’s “No Country for Old Men”. After all of the very public ridicule that that character’s hairstyle got in the press, why would anyone still wear their hair like that?
——————————————————————–
Bingo!

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

From Catcracking on June 2, 2013 at 8:08 pm:

My question is how did the opposition party ever allow someone with such a non science posture ever get approved?

Hypothetical situation: Minority opposition knows the majority will get whomever they want for a position, it’s highly unlikely they can do anything about it.
The minority opposition believes the majority has selected an ineffectual buffoon. What should the minority do?
Muniz was confirmed unanimously, 97-0.

Remember when Jimmy Carter created the Dept of Energy and got a Republican, James R. Schlesinger to be the first secretary of energy?
Carbon Dioxide Effects and Assessment Program
http://prospect.org/article/stop-him-he-writes-again

TomRude

The transcript was illuminating. Thank you for ensuring such great moment will live forever.

BradProp1

I thought for a moment he was going to pull out a ukulele and start sing “Tip Toe Through The Tulips”.

John F. Hultquist

Maybe this is a situation where skeptics should not interfere while antagonists do damage to themselves. [“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” – –
Napoleon Bonaparte] (Which, by the way, seems to be the world’s strategy in Syria.)

Mike McMillan

CodeTech says: June 2, 2013 at 7:01 pm
Hmmm – I’m 97% certain I typed “LDS” in that first quote… now it’s transformed into “LSD” ???

Certain drugs can do that.

Ill Tempered Klavier

@CodeTech
I suppose strange things can happen to those confused whether their proper guru is Timothy Leary (dearie) or (the prophet) Joseph Smith. I’d have quite a time accepting Spock as a Mormon though 😉 😉 😉

I think they are trying to drive us mad.
Because we are not allowed to debate what matters, we are reduced to focusing on the superficial.
Nice hair. Likely a wig. He is copying George Washington.
Nice suit. Too bad the public can’t afford much besides rags.
Oh, wait. We are allowed to debate solutions. Well, the first solution that springs to mind is to (self-snip.)

Wil Sappenfield

Correction to the transcript:
You forgot an “ah”…

BradProp1 says:
June 2, 2013 at 9:23 pm
I thought for a moment he was going to pull out a ukulele and start sing “Tip Toe Through The Tulips”.

Brad, as most non-Brits would not get that little joke, I thought I would enlighten you all.
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