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Republicans blast energy secretary for acknowledging US plays role in climate change

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm wants both the United States and China to take steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

By Josh Israel - October 18, 2021
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Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm

Last week, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm acknowledged that the United States and China both need to take action to curb climate change. Republicans on Monday blasted her for insufficiently blaming China.

The Republican National Committee’s research team tweeted out a clip of comments made by Granholm during a visit to North Dakota on Oct. 14. Addressing the need for carbon capture technology, Granholm noted that reducing greenhouse gas emissions at home will make it easier to get other countries to do the same.

“We’ve got a global problem, and China is a big contributor to that. We are too. But we don’t have much moral authority to say, ‘You should be doing this!’ if we’re not taking action and deploying the technology that we need to deploy.”

The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, passed by the Senate and awaiting action in the House, would allocate tens of billions of dollars to investment in clean energy infrastructure. President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion Build Back Better plan would invest even more in clean energy and responding to climate change.

The RNC took the comment out of context, claiming Granholm’s “We don’t have much moral authority” referred to the United States’ entire relationship with China.

 

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) shared the RNC’s tweet, scolding, “We have all the moral authority in the world. #china is a repressive dictatorship. The USA is the greatest, noblest country on the face of the earth. Biden is a failure as president in large measure because he’s forgotten that.”

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) called Granholm’s comments “embarrassing and wrong,” writing that she likened “America’s climate standards to China, saying we lack the ‘moral authority’ to call them out for polluting unless we pass President Biden’s radical, liberal climate agenda.”

“Remember,” Cramer continued, “China is 27% of global emissions. The U.S. is only 11%. Their emissions have tripled over the last 30 years and are on the rise while ours are going down. … Since 2005 the U.S. has led the world in reducing emissions, achieving more cuts than the next twelve reducing-emissions-countries combined. So much for no ‘moral authority.'”

While the United States has slightly reduced its carbon dioxide output in recent years, it has been by far the largest emitter of CO2 in total and is currently the second-worst culprit in the world.

But the GOP has largely embraced climate science denial, with former President Donald Trump and a majority of House and Senate Republicans refusing to acknowledge that humans are the principal cause of global warming.

Many have also used China’s emissions as an excuse to oppose U.S. efforts to reduce its own.

Last week, Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert tweeted, “If the government was truly concerned about ‘climate change’ they’d be pressuring China and India to shape up rather than pointless & inconveniencing measures like banning certain lightbulbs.”

As a candidate for president, Trump said, “I think the climate change is just a very, very expensive form of tax. A lot of people are making a lot of money. … And I often joke that this is done for the benefit of China. Obviously, I joke. But this is done for the benefit of China, because China does not do anything to help climate change.”

An August United Nations report delivered what Secretary-General António Guterres called a “code red for humanity” warning that without drastic efforts, human-induced climate change would “have profound consequences for the world’s social, economic and natural systems.”

GOP lawmakers completely ignored it.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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