Biden administration has 'most robust climate change plan ever': Jennifer Granholm

The current climate crisis poses an economic opportunity, she said.

December 20, 2020, 12:27 PM

President-elect Joe Biden's newly announced nominee for Energy Secretary, former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, said she has not yet been briefed about the massive cyberattack that has affected several government agencies, including the Department of Energy, which oversees the countries’ nuclear stockpile, but acknowledged the severity of the expansive hack.

"I was nominated 16 hours ago, so I have not been briefed on the scope yet but I do know that we, the administration, incoming administration, is taking this extremely seriously," Granholm said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" Sunday.

"Joe Biden has said that day one priority is making sure that the country is safe from malicious cyber attacks, and this goes beyond espionage, is something that certainly the incoming administration is taking extremely seriously," she continued.

While Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it is “pretty clear” Russia engaged in the attack, Granholm stressed to Stephanopoulos that there were still many unknowns about the attacks, and they are still being vigorously investigated before any decisions on what action should be taken are made.

PHOTO: Jennifer Granholm, former Governor of Michigan, speaking at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference in Washington, April 3, 2018.
Jennifer Granholm, former Governor of Michigan, speaking at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference in Washington, April 3, 2018.
Sopa Images via Getty Images, FILE

"The civil servants, the investigators, the scientists who are doing the investigation, they've got to be able to come up with very specific answers so we know what the response will be. But Joe Biden I know will have a robust response once we find out the perpetrator and extent of it," Granholm said.

Granholm, 61, a former two-term governor and Michigan's first female chief executive, was first elected to lead the state in 2002, after serving as Michigan's attorney general from 1999 to 2003.

If confirmed by the Senate, Granholm would be just the second woman to lead the Energy Department and would be one of 10 women Biden has nominated so far to serve in his Cabinet.

During her time as governor, Granholm oversaw the auto industry bailout and recovery following the financial crisis of 2007 - 2008, working closely with Biden during that time.

Granholm would have a hand in carrying out Biden's proposed climate policy as part of her role as Energy Secretary. That $2 trillion proposal includes moving the country to a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, and investing heavily in infrastructure and the auto industry.

Granholm argued, as Biden has, that the current climate crisis poses an economic opportunity for the country, allowing the United States to become a leader on production of green energy products in America.

"We need to be the leader, rather than passive bystanders, or otherwise we're going to allow other countries like China and others we're fighting to be able to corner this market. So Joe Biden's focus has been obviously on climate change, and taking advantage of the economic opportunity for our people to be able to build the products that help America to lead," Granholm said.

When pressed by Stephanopoulos on progressives who argue that Biden's plan does not go far enough, Granholm stressed that the administration was undertaking an "all-in" strategy which includes input from a number of different groups.

"The Green New Deal was an important framework for what Joe Biden has put on tap, but I mean really, this is the most robust climate change plan ever," Granholm said. "The fact that he put together this team of people and that it is going to be an effort that runs through government. For example, Pete Buttigieg was nominated this past week. Transportation is going to be a huge component of this, and the input from folks across the political spectrum has made this plan the robust plan that it is."

"There's been wonderful input on the part of [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] and Bernie Sanders, but also the business community. I mean, we have an all-in strategy."

Granholm also expressed her optimism that Biden will deliver on his promise to move the country to net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2050, pointing to the historic nomination of Rep. Deb Haaland, who would be the first Native American to serve in the Cabinet if confirmed to serve as Interior Secretary, as important to making that happen.

"The Department of Interior oversees a massive amount of public land. That public land could be used to make sure that we generate clean electricity by putting wind turbines, including offshore, as well as onshore, solar panels, et cetera," Granholm said.

"Those jobs and that electricity -- there is going to have to be a significant sort of hair-on-fire effort inside the administration to get it in the ground to meet that goal. And we want to make sure that we are acting in a way that allows us to be a leader across the planet. And so we're gonna hold ourselves accountable," she said.