Just two days after Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm seemed to have evolved in her thinking about energy to a more realistic posture, she fell back into the fantasy world thinking that has defined her time at DOE.
On Wednesday at the CERAWeek 2023 conference in Houston, Granholm made news by praising America’s oil and gas producers for stepping up to help the country’s allies in Europe during their time of need over the last year. Granholm also acknowledged that “we know that oil and gas is going to remain a part of our energy mix for years to come,” seeming to contradict President Joe Biden’s State of the Union statement that we would only need oil and gas for another decade or so. (RELATED: DAVID BLACKMON: Greta Thunberg’s Solution For Climate Change — End Modern Life As We Know It)
To many observers, including myself, these statements seemed to indicate an awakening to the realities of the situation by the energy secretary after 26 months of pretense that the U.S. could quickly just dispose of those fossil fuels and replace them with windmills, solar arrays and electric vehicles. Such an awakening by a key Biden official would have been welcome, indeed.
But at the South by Southwest festival in Austin Friday, Granholm seemed to fall back into the administration’s fantasy-based thinking on energy, going out of her way to praise not the U.S. oil and gas industry, but the communist rulers of China instead.
“And no matter what country you’re a member of,” Granholm began, “the countries all are susceptible to pressure, to peer pressure. They don’t want to be the outlier. I mean, there’s a couple of countries that we know are outliers and don’t care — but — but, I think China has done, has been very sensitive, and has actually invested a lot in their solutions, to achieve their goals. So we’re — we’re hopeful that, you know, we can all learn from what China is doing, but the amount of money that they’re investing in clean energy is actually you know, encouraging.”
This is just a rather bizarre take on what China has actually been doing where energy and carbon emissions are concerned. Yes, the communist government there has directed significant investments in so-called “green” energy, including wind, solar, stationary batteries and electric vehicles, in recent years.
But the country’s investments in fossil fuels — most specifically in the most-polluting fossil fuel, coal — and the resulting emissions have far outweighed not only its own green energy investments, but also those of much of the rest of the world.
For example, in 2022 alone, Bloomberg recently reported that China approved enough new coal generation capacity to power the entire United Kingdom.
“China massively accelerated its coal power plans in 2022, quadrupling the number of new permits and approving new capacity equivalent to all the UK’s plants combined,” Bloomberg reported. “Local governments permitted 106 gigawatts of new plants, the most since 2015, according to a report from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air and Global Energy Monitor. Construction has already begun on 50 gigawatts, six times more than in the rest of the world combined, the researchers said.”
Further, according to the BBC, China produced more carbon emissions than all developed nations combined during 2019. China’s emissions creation is not contained within its own borders — the country also funds the building of hundreds of new coal-fired plants in other nations, including Turkey and India.
Last year, China pledged to stop building new coal plants abroad, but the pledge was so full of loopholes and caveats to render it essentially meaningless.
Chuck DeVore, chief national initiatives officer at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, took Biden officials to task about their naive views towards China in a recent appearance on Fox News.
“The Biden administration…look at things like cooperation with climate change as one of the things that we should be working with China on,” DeVore said. “I find [it] utterly remarkable that Chairman Xi [Jinping] of China and the Chinese Communist Party gives a tinker’s damn about the planet’s climate or climate change. It is merely a device to engage gullible Westerners into thinking that somehow we can get meaningful cooperation.”
Unfortunately, Granholm’s remarks in Austin Friday indicates she remains one of the most gullible among them.
David Blackmon is an energy writer and consultant based in Texas. He spent 40 years in the oil and gas business, where he specialized in public policy and communications.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
This article was originally posted on the author’s Substack page, and can be viewed here.
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