Energy & Environment

Granholm defends US emissions targets: ‘If we don’t take action, where are we?’

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is seen during a Senate Appropriations hearing on June 15
UPI Photo

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm defended U.S. carbon-neutrality targets in testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, saying the U.S. has no choice but to take action regardless of Chinese efforts to reduce their own emissions.

In the hearing on the Energy Department’s fiscal 2022 budget request, ranking member Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) quizzed Granholm on how the U.S. would ensure Beijing cooperated with international climate agreements, saying Chinese leader Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party “lie like they breathe.”

“They probably built a coal-powered plant while you and I have been talking,” he added.

“The goal is to get cooperation from China and India” on Paris Agreement targets, Granholm said. The two nations are the No. 1 and No. 3 emitters of carbon dioxide worldwide.

“But what if they don’t?” Kennedy responded.

Granholm expressed confidence in the mechanisms to ensure cooperation under the agreement, saying, “The administration has a strategy to make sure all of the people who have signed onto this Paris Agreement meet the goals they have articulated.”

More importantly, she added, “if we don’t pursue this strategy [on emissions], what then?”

The secretary cited recent natural disasters and phenomena in the U.S. exacerbated by warming temperatures, such as wildfires.

“If we don’t take action, where are we with regard to other disasters?” she asked rhetorically.

In her testimony, Granholm also urged the passage of the American Jobs Plan, saying the multitrillion-dollar infrastructure plan “would position our country to compete at a global clean energy market and would confront the climate crisis and create millions of good paying jobs.”

Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) questioned Granholm on nuclear waste disposal, currently housed at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain, which was defunded in 2010 as a disposal site.

“[T]he plan … is to get another site, not Yucca Mountain, but to get another place that is willing to be the home of nuclear waste,” Granholm replied. “It will require some compensation. There is some interest out there, we just have to be sure we complete this consent-based siting process. Hopefully in the fall we’ll have a sense of what the landscape looks like.”

Tags carbon emissions Climate change climate policy Dianne Feinstein Jennifer Granholm John Kennedy Paris agreement
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