Energy & Environment

Granholm defends incentives-based approach to climate in reconciliation

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm speaks with reporters at the White House
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Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm defended Democrats’ largely “carrots” based approach to taking on climate change in their spending bill following the removal of at least one key program that would have sought to also use penalties to advance clean energy.

Asked during a call with reporters on Wednesday about the lack of restrictions on fossil fuels, Granholm said “I am so bullish on carrots.”

“We’ve got growing energy demands. We want to make sure we build the capacity for the renewable energy that we want to add,” she said. “We are focused on ‘build.’ Build and put people to work and gain a corner in the market for these clean energy technologies.”

Her comments come after a program that would have sought to use both fines and incentives to shift towards clean electricity was cut from the spending package. 

It also comes as another key program is at risk. That program would penalize polluters by placing a fee on emissions of the greenhouse gas methane.

A framework released by the White House contains neither of these programs, though it does put $555 billion towards tackling the issue.

Meanwhile, a bill put forward by House Democrats does include the methane fee but does not incorporate the clean electricity program. 

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has offered opposition to the bill, including its climate provisions at various stages. That creates a major obstacle for Democrats, who can’t afford to lose a single Democratic vote in the Senate. 

On the call with reporters, Granholm also teased upcoming announcements about new programs in which the government would aim to work with private entities to cut their climate change contributions, help U.S. cities partner with those across the world to generate clean hydrogen energy and create a network to spur technology development alongside other countries.  

Tags Climate change policy emissions Jennifer Granholm Joe Manchin Methane

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