Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was grilled Wednesday about the transition to green energy while speaking on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
“I have a philosophical question about how we approach things in terms of dealing with, with emissions and dealing with trying to, trying to cut down on the use of fossil fuels and how we deal with what Europe might be facing,” CNBC host Joe Kernen said. “What I mean by that is there are real possibilities that people might not have air conditioning during a heat wave, or in the winter that they may not have enough energy to heat their homes at this point.”
“Now the mitigation factors that we’re employing to try to cut down on emissions, those really aren’t going to cut CO2 emissions until probably 2030 and while we’re dealing with these, we’ve got India building coal plants. China building coal plants just hand over fist and emitting and not really helping our efforts whatsoever. When wind and solar won’t power the homes in Europe, how do we not use hydrocarbons to make sure that near-term these people aren’t either freezing or dying from the heat?” Kernen asked.
“Nobody thinks that you can make this change overnight, but also there’s a clear understanding when it comes to the climate, we’re running out of time, the science is unambiguous in terms of the level of threat, in terms of the lives and livelihoods that America and the world stand to lose if we don’t accelerate our action. And I don’t think we should be following the lead of India and China,” Buttigieg said. “I think countries like India and China should be challenged to follow the lead of the United States leading the way on climate.”
“But the reality set- the reality may set in in Europe and we may see the downside … do you think we’re going to be able to change the climate?” Kernen interjected. (RELATED: ‘The More Pain’: Buttigieg Says High Gas Prices Will Incentivize People To Go Green)
The duo then had a back-and-forth about whether changes now could make a difference within the next decade in regards to climate change, with Kernen saying even if climate change does threaten life, people still need coal to heat their homes and carry on with their lives.
The Biden administration has been pushing new regulations that would require states track their greenhouse gas emissions and would set declining emission targets for cars on the highway. The new regulations would try to incentivize Americans to buy electric vehicles.