Biden energy secretary defends praising China on climate change spending in fiery hearing exchange
President Biden’s secretary of energy had an intense back-and-forth during a House Appropriations Subcommittee meeting on Friday.
Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm defended her previous comments praising China’s environmental policy under interrogation by Chief Deputy Whip Guy Reschenthaler.
“Secretary, on March 10, 2023, you said, “We can all learn from what China is doing” — obviously about the environment,” Reschenthaler said in the hearing. “At the time you made that comment, were you aware that 30 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions came from China?”
“Oh, yes,” Granholm answered.
Granholm claimed earlier this month that Americans can “learn from what China is doing” in combating climate change.
During an interview at the annual SXSW conference in Austin, Texas, Granholm sang the praises of China for its efforts to reduce climate change, claiming that the country is actually “very sensitive” about the issue, more so than the United States.
Reschenthaler continued pressing the energy secretary on the extent of China’s emissions, the continued construction of coal power plants in the country, and its Paris Climate Accord-sanctioned ability to increase emissions until 2030.
China recently hit its coal-production record last year. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, “55% of China’s energy” now comes from coal, “compared to 11% in the U.S.”
Granholm repeatedly clarified that she was aware of statistics on China’s impact on the global environment.
“Knowing that you knew all that when you made the comment, would you like to retract your praise for China?” Reschenthaler asked.
“No, my praise for China was on what they are doing to invest in clean energy, even as they are the world’s largest emitter,” Granholm told the Pennsylvania representative.
She added, “They are also the largest investor in clean energy technologies — they invest four times more than the United States.”
Reschenthaler went on to complain about comments Granholm had made in October 2019, in which she said the U.S. does not have the “moral authority” to criticize Chinese climate policies.
Granholm clarified that she was not referring to China’s human rights abuses, but only its energy policy.
“You were still talking about the moral authority of the U.S. v. China,” Reschenthaler replied.
Granholm accused Reschenthaler of taking her comments out of context.
Fox News’ Gabriel Hays contributed to this report.