“We Have to Got Fight for Every Tenth of a Degree”

Secretary Ernest Moniz delivered an address on Global Energy Challenges at the Institute for International and European Affairs (IIEA) in Dublin, Ireland. Citing the recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C, Secretary Moniz highlights that “the overarching energy challenge is… deep decarbonization of the energy system in the advanced economies… in an unprecedented short transition period.”

Despite the difference in economic scale between the U.S. and Ireland, he noted that both countries are not on track to reducing their carbon emissions and meeting their Paris climate targets. 

Although meeting the targets outlined by the Paris Agreement is a very critical and important step, “they are in no way commensurate with the deep decarbonization goals that have to follow.”  Ultimately, “we have got to fight for every tenth of a degree, because it all makes a huge difference.”

The speech was the cornerstone of a visit to Ireland, where the Secretary met with Richard Bruton TD, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment; Laura Burke, the Director General of Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency; Peter Thorne, an Irish climatologist who has been appointed coordinating lead author to the UN IPCC; and John FitzGerald, the chair of Ireland’s Climate Change Advisory Council.

Ireland’s emissions profile is dominated by agriculture and transportation, two sectors, the Secretary noted, that are not easy to decarbonize. Because of this, “we need to go to low-carbon electricity, fuel [and] heat if we’re going to have a chance at meeting the economy-wide deep decarbonization. This calls for maintaining a very, very broad portfolio of clean energy R&D.”


Click here to watch the Secretary’s full remarks.

 Ernest Moniz with Richard Bruton, Ireland’s Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment at the Parliament House in Dublin.

Ernest Moniz with Richard Bruton, Ireland’s Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment at the Parliament House in Dublin.