MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (AP) — U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said Friday changing the way the country gets its energy is critical to protecting the climate, boosting the economy and enhancing national security.
During an energy summit at Middlebury College, Moniz told the state's congressional delegation, Gov. Peter Shumlin and industry officials that President Barack Obama's administration is committed to finding ways to reduce carbon emissions.
Moniz said the effects of climate change already are being felt, and he focused most of his 20-minute talk on that.
"In the east we will have much more increased coastal damages, (and) storm surges," Moniz said. "Superstorm Sandy could be looking like child's play if we do not really move forward aggressively," he said, referring to the 2012 storm that devastated parts of New Jersey and New York City.
Sandy came just over a year after Vermont was hit by flooding from Tropical Storm Irene. Officials said at Friday's meeting said the damage from Irene focused the state's attention on the need to reduce energy use as a way to combat climate change, create jobs and save people money on their heating bills.
Shumlin and others touted how Vermont has become a national leader in the installation of solar panels and how the renewable energy industry is creating jobs in the state.
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