US Energy Sec. Granholm still ‘bullish’ Congress can ink ‘significant’ climate deal

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is still “hopeful, positive and in fact bullish” that Congress can agree on “a significant push into clean energy,” despite the regulatory body’s virtual gridlock on issues like climate.

Before Congress breaks for August recess, Democrats have said they hope to reach a deal on a budget reconciliation bill. Effectively reviving aspects of the Build Back Better bill that died in the Senate last year, the legislation may include tax credits to drive down the price of electric vehicles and funds for renewable energy production. The specifics, however, aren’t clear and talks are reportedly ongoing. The bill would need support from Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Granholm made the comments during a TC Sessions: Climate 2022 interview, which was recorded on June 10. The energy secretary previously served as Michigan’s first female attorney general and first female governor.

Watch the full interview between TechCrunch and Granholm after the jump. 

Asked if essential emissions cuts are still possible this decade if Congress fails to reach a deal, Granholm told TechCrunch: “There are pathways to get there without tax credits. But, you know, it’s a much bigger lift, clearly.” She added, “I’m gonna assume we get these clean energy tax credits. We can do it otherwise, but this is the most certain path to be able to get into those goals.”

The IPCC has called for steep emissions cuts by 2030 (a 43% drop). In the U.S., most of those cuts (“69% to 89%“) need to come from power and transportation, Electric Power Research Institute researchers say.

During the interview, the energy secretary also pointed to the infrastructure law that passed in November and a recent executive order on solar as evidence the White House is making progress on climate.