Join the green transition or stay behind

For Ari natter in 3/3/2021

Jennifer Granholm, US Secretary of Energy

Jennifer Granholm, US Secretary of Energy

WASHINGTON (Bloomberg) – Jennifer Granholm used her first speech as United States Secretary of Energy to warn oil and gas companies that they risk being left behind unless they transition to cleaner energy sources, at the same time offering them the opportunity to partner with the new administration. .

“I’m not going to sugarcoat how difficult transitions are,” Granholm said Wednesday during IHS Markit’s annual CERAWeek conference. “The bottom line is that this particular growth in clean energy and carbon reduction provides a great opportunity and I am extending a helping hand.”

Granholm’s comments come as the Biden administration seeks to reassure hundreds of thousands of oil, gas and coal workers who feel threatened by their fight against climate change, which includes a plan to cut carbon emissions from the economy by 2050. Biden has promised not to. leaving any worker behind during this transition to a cleaner economy, but it has been met with skepticism in the oil zone and elsewhere.

Granholm, who previously served as Michigan governor, was confirmed last month to head the Department of Energy, an agency with an annual budget of approximately $ 35 billion and a diverse mission ranging from helping build the nuclear warhead arsenal. of the nation to spend billions on research. new energy technology.

Granholm has said it will build on its experience in revitalizing Michigan’s economy after the 2008 recession and has vowed to focus on creating new jobs during the clean energy transition. Some lawmakers representing fossil fuel producing states have been critical.

“The Biden administration is telling these oil rig, coal mine and well workers that they can just get new jobs ‘building solar panels,'” Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso said last month. “Their livelihoods are being sacrificed in the name of Biden’s agenda.”

In his remarks at the conference, which takes place virtually this year, Granholm said the Biden administration has created a new Energy Jobs Office to help fossil fuel employees identify new opportunities. Examples cited by Granholm include oil and gas workers who use their drilling skills to harness geothermal energy and sheet metal workers who reinforce pipelines to protect against methane leaks.

Granholm praised oil and gas companies that have already committed to committing to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“The market is raising its hand and saying that we are going in a direction where you better come or you will be left behind,” Granholm said. “Maybe we should listen to some of those signals and it’s an opportunity for those who work in these sectors to work with us to diversify into clean energy solutions.”

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