United States Secretary of Energy Ernie Moniz addressed a sold-out crowd on Tuesday night at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco–describing, among other things, the prospect that Sarah Palin might take his job.
During a discussion led by Commonwealth Club Vice President Greg Dalton, Moniz was asked to address Palin’s comments that she would like to be energy secretary if Donald Trump is elected president.
“She would focus on the nuclear stockpile as well,” Moniz said, referring to the Iran deal he helped negotiate. “But I believe she also added that she would like to provide more access to federal lands. That is not one of my responsibilities.”
Palin said that she would like to be a energy secretary so she could “get rid” of the department and give the states power over their natural resources.
Moniz also told the audience that innovation is the key to the modern world’s success, particularly as nations are seeking alternatives to traditional energy sources and as a way to drive down energy costs.
The MIT professor joined Obama’s cabinet in 2013 and provided the Iran negotiations with a veneer of scientific credibility, even though critics consider the agreement itself severely flawed.
Moniz also recently attended the COP21 climate conference in Paris, where he said over 140 world leaders convened to acknowledge “the critical importance of addressing climate change” and develop a set of national commitments hat he said will eventually help the environment and society as a whole.
Tuesday also coincided with the Bulletin of Atomic Scientist’s unveiling of the “Doomsday Clock,” which was left at three minutes to midnight despite the Iran deal and the Paris climate deal.
Moniz also placed particular emphasis on advancing the use of autonomous, or self-driving, vehicles. He suggested that self-driving cars could eventually help improve the environment.
Note: this article has been corrected to address a discrepancy about Moniz’s recorded words caused by technical difficulties.