Energy Experts Discussing the Moniz
“Green Real Deal”
All-Sector-Decarbonization, Social Equity, Innovation Noted in OEP Dialogue  

Washington, D.C. Former U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz first called on the need for a “Green Real Deal” in a CNBC editorial with former Assistant Secretary of Energy Andy Karsner in March, and now OurEnergyPolicy’s community of energy experts are discussing it. Nineteen energy professionals have provided comments on the deal in the last few weeks, emphasizing the importance of decarbonizing all energy sectors, building broad and inclusive coalitions, incorporating social equity, and taking the best approach for innovation.
“There is a great deal to like in the Green Real Deal,” said Daniel Kammen , Distinguished Professor of Energy, University of California Berkeley . “[It gives] attention to carbon emissions across all sectors; quantifiable metrics for progress; and a federal action to encourage and open opportunities for states to forge ahead….” 
Commenters provided both praise and critique.
“The [Green Real Deal] study is correct to emphasize the need for a combination of incremental and breakthrough technologies, with the former enabling the latter,” said Carl Pope, Former Executive Director of the Sierra Club , “[but this] has the unfortunate and unintended consequence of reinforcing the public misperception that moving to cut emissions is more expensive than moving slowly, when the speed in question is the scaling of disruptive, 100% clean technologies....”
The Green Real Deal
Moniz’s Green Real Deal is an “actionable framework for meeting deep decarbonization of energy and associated systems by midcentury in ways that minimize costs, maximize economic opportunities, accelerate solutions, and promote social equity,” according to the Green Real Deal framework document .

The framework was released in July by the Energy Futures Initiative, of which Moniz is the founder and CEO. It is composed of five broad-based principles and eight high-level key elements, “designed to provide policymakers, stakeholders, and industry with the context and building blocks for prioritizing, selecting and implementing energy policy, technology and business model innovations to effectively accelerate economy-wide decarbonization.”

The plan is not necessarily meant to counter Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, but it was intended to garner support across political parties and be “based on practicality, not ideology,” as Moniz and Karsner stated in the CNBC editorial .
The Current Discussion
OurEnergyPolicy experts—energy professionals from universities, non-profit and advocacy groups, and private companies—are praising Moniz and his Green Real Deal for capturing priority issues to emphasize in climate policy saying “Ernie Moniz has hit the nail on the head,” ( Mike Lubell , Professor of Physics, City College of the City University of New York ) and “Excellent plan,” ( James Conca , Senior Scientist, UFA Ventures, Inc. ). They are also offering some critique, suggestions, and additional commentary to the Green Real Deal framework. This call for feedback is open to all energy professionals, who can sign in and comment via OurEnergyPolicy.org .
All-Sector Decarbonization
Moniz’s Green Real Deal emphasizes the need to decarbonize the whole economy—not only the electricity sector—saying, “Much of the academic and policy carbon abatement work to-date has focused on the electricity sector. Electricity is, however, only 28 percent of U.S. emissions…. Reaching economy-wide emissions reductions targets will require progress in every sector of the economy, including those that are difficult to decarbonize due technical, cost, and performance barriers.”

Several OurEnergyPolicy experts said this is the most important part of the Green Real Deal:
“I especially appreciate the principle of focusing on ‘all GHG emitting sectors,’” said Brent Nelson, Senior Energy Consultant at Ascend Analytics , a software service company that provides decision analysis tools for energy markets. “Something we’ve been increasingly seeing in the power planning community is environmental groups pushing so strongly for decarbonization of electricity that they are ignoring other means of carbon abatement that would be much cheaper. Carbon is carbon, and if a given marginal reduction in emissions can be achieved more cost-effectively in one sector than another, we should be pursuing the cheapest opportunities first.”
Both James Conca (Senior Scientist at UFA Ventures, Inc. and a weekly contributor to Forbes.com on energy issues) and Henry Goldberg (independent consultant) emphasized the importance of decarbonizing the transportation, buildings, and industrial sectors. Goldberg added telecommunications as another relevant sector, noting that broadband infrastructure can enable smart grids and, sometimes, substitute for transportation in cases where people attend events remotely instead of in-person.
Coalitions - The Challenge of Being Inclusive
Moniz’s Green Real Deal calls for “building broad coalitions from disparate parts of society,” which will “put wind in the sails of meaningful action” according to the framework document.
“We have to truly embrace the idea of 'broad and inclusive,' and move our conversations and engagements beyond our usual group of supportive suspects, said Sabrina Cowden, CEO of Milepost Consulting , an environmental sustainability consultancy. “Continuing to work with those who are already in philosophical alignment with us is not going to get us the advances we need. This will be very challenging work, but we must reach out to those who aren’t in our comfortable group and begin engaging them in conversation. This is how we will create meaningful, wide scale change...."
Jason Dedrick, Professor at Syracuse University School of Information Studies said he would argue that the Green Real Deal principle on broad and inclusive coalitions is the most important.
"In order to have any chance of passing a meaningful carbon price, or getting people to make significant changes in their energy use, or pressuring companies to adopt sustainable practices, there needs to be a set of shared goals and sustained energy to achieve those goals,” Dedrick said . “That will only happen when we have built coalitions who represent the majority of citizens, states, countries, businesses, governments and other institutions. Building strong coalitions will enable us to pass good policies, ensure that social equity is kept in the forefront, and address all sectors of the economy and society."
Others suggested that the Green Real Deal can be too easily confused with the partisan Green New Deal proposal and expressed possible misunderstandings and challenges that can come from the current version of the document, even while trying to use it to rally in clusive, bipartisan support. Goldberg, however, expressed support for the inclusive approach that the Green Real deal is trying to foster.

“It definitely makes sense to establish a bipartisan coalition that aims to do this and go beyond the ‘Green New Deal’ visionary statements that lacks policy prescriptions and achievable timelines,” Goldberg said.
Social Equity - Important Component, Greatest Challenge?
The Green Real Deal approaches social equity as a commitment to transforming the energy system in a way that improves lives and provides meaningful, well-paying jobs. Several OurEnergyPolicy experts mentioned this as an important component, and Sabrina Cowden said she agrees that this should be a priority of climate policy. 
“We have an opportunity to build a solution (or suite of solutions) with equity as an embedded, structural component,” Cowden said . “This is a sea change from how we are addressing equity issues at present: trying to bring equity into systems and solutions that are already in place and may have inherent and/or unintended inequities built into their design DNA….”
Brent Nelson said the social equity principle would be the greatest challenge to overcome for climate legislation.
“Coal plant and coal mine closures utterly decimate the communities where they are located – loss of job opportunities (both high skill and low skill), tax base, and population,” Nelson said . These things are hard to replace, and people don’t often want to relocate. Job re-training and educational programs are easier said than done. Sadly, there’s no magical ‘job creation and economic development’ wand…if only there were.”
Kammen and Dan Miller mentioned a carbon fee and dividend policy as an effective way to assure social equity in an energy transformation, and several others expressed support for this policy.

“One overarching policy that will meet all the principles listed [in the Green Real Deal] is the Fee and Dividend (F&D) carbon pricing policy,” said Miller, Managing Director at the Roda Group , a seed-stage, clean tech venture capital firm.
Innovation - Essential If Not an Excuse for Inaction
Experts disagreed as to the role of technology innovation in climate change response. Several emphasized it as essential and a prerequisite to certain types of other policy actions, while others expressed concern that focusing on “innovation” would be an excuse not to take other needful climate action.
“Without timely, meaningful and productive innovations in technology, business and policy (and the essential leadership), the principles of coalitions, social equity, inclusiveness and flexibility can’t do much at all,” said Brian Gallagher, Managing Member of Ecotonics, LLC , an algal biofuels research and development firm.
However, Carl Pope and Roger Arnold expressed concerns that a focus on a slower approach of technology development would dissuade people from supporting speedy action that can be cheaper and more effective.
“Add talk about innovation being at the core of a solution, and my alarm meter rings,” said Arnold , who directs the Silverthorn Institute , a clearing house for ideas and tools supporting local sufficiency in energy and resources. “This all begins to sound exactly like the kind of smooth verbal wrapping a politician would put around a package that amounts to ‘throw some funding at research, and carry on as usual.’”
Discussion is Ongoing
Various other participants expressed support for keeping existing nuclear power plants open , electrifying all energy sectors , using climate solutions as an opportunity to address environmental justice , and developing carbon removal technologies.

The conversation is ongoing, and energy professionals can comment via OurEnergyPolicy.org . Moniz and his team at the Energy Futures Initiative will receive comments submitted to the discussion.
###

About OurEnergyPolicy: OurEnergyPolicy is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing and facilitating substantive, responsible dialogue on energy policy issues and providing this discourse as a resource for the public, policymakers, and the media. OurEnergyPolicy also serves as a one-stop resource hub for all things energy policy and includes a free resource library .
Media Contact:
Alicia Moulton
Communications Manager
(202) 805-4166