Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was in the Triangle Tuesday singing the praises of the Biden Administration’s Inflation Reduction Act which promises to reduce consumer energy costs and cut greenhouse emissions.
Yellen toured Cypress Creek Renewables, Durham, a clean energy company that develops and operates distributed solar and storage projects. She later spoke at one of their solar panel fields in Chapel Hill about how climate investments of $375 billion over the next decade will achieve those goals through tax credits and private sector incentives, in addition to creating jobs and increasing economic growth.
“The President’s economic plan will strengthen our economy for decades to come,” she said. “It will make our economy more productive and resilient – and advance economic fairness for all Americans.”
Yellen said the country needs to accelerate its transition to a clean energy economy because of the direct consequences of continued dependence on fossil fuels, continuing to blame the Ukraine war for rising prices, not actions Biden took like shutting down the Keystone XL Pipeline.
“Not only do we continue to contribute and subject ourselves to a rapidly warming climate, but we expose ourselves to the type of energy market volatility we’ve experienced in the wake of Russia’s brutal war on Ukraine,” she said.
She stated that a possible economic crisis could occur if the country didn’t significantly reduce climate change, and that the government would need help from the private sector to meet its goals by cutting emissions in half from 2005 levels by 2030.
The Biden Administration has promised thousands of dollars in tax breaks and rebates for consumers who purchase energy-efficient water heaters, solar panel installation, and electric vehicles.
Yellen said the expected significant private investments into the clean energy sector, and business tax credits will push down the cost of clean energy production, leading to lower electricity prices.
Her visit is part of a month-long tour across the country promoting the Biden Administration’s economic agenda ahead of the midterm elections.
North Carolina is a pivotal state in the midterms. It has two state Supreme Court seats and races in the General Assembly that could determine if Republicans can gain enough seats for a supermajority that would be able to override vetoes from Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper.
There is also a tight race for the U.S. Senate between Republican Ted Budd and Democrat Cheri Beasley.
Beasley was not in attendance at Yellen’s appearance, as two events were added to her schedule— a 1 p.m. meet-and-greet at N.C. Central and a 3 p.m. meet-and-greet at N.C. State. Republican National Committee’s N.C. Press Secretary Taylor Mazock told Carolina Journal that these were announced soon after the Republican invitation for Beasley to attend.
It wasn’t the first time Beasley has had difficulty finding time to join Biden administration officials during recent visits to the state.
“No matter how much the Biden Administration tries to spin it, nothing can change the fact that their reckless tax and spend policies have been a disaster for North Carolina families and the American economy,” said Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC, in a statement ahead of Yellen’s visit. “President Biden’s answer to all of our problems has been to spend more money we don’t have on far-left priorities like green energy welfare, which will only make inflation even worse for North Carolinians.”
Yellen’s visit also coincides with an announcement Tuesday from the Biden Administration that North Carolina’s Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Deployment Plan has been approved ahead of schedule under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program.
NEVI was established and funded by Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, passed last November.
North Carolina will receive roughly $39.4 million in FY 22 and FY 23 funding, expanding its approximately 2,655 public charging ports by placing high-powered chargers along about 2,075 miles of Designated EV Corridors within the state.
The administration says the transportation sector is the country’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Biden has set a goal for half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 to be zero-emissions vehicles.
Ironically, the U.S. has cut more CO2 emissions than any other nation in the world by far. According to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2022, the United States since 2005 has reduced the volume of its CO2 emissions by over a billion tons (1,015 million tons).
“So even if the IRA achieved its CO2 emissions reductions to experts’ utmost predictions, all that Americans could expect is continued worsening of climate emissions elsewhere,” said Jon Sanders, director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life and Research Editor at the John Locke Foundation. “We’re not the problem, and impoverishing us is not the solution.”
“In fact, because of our greater relative entrepreneurial freedom and wealth, Americans have been cutting more emissions than any other nation,” he said. “We just didn’t do it the “right” way, through government mandates. For our reward, we’ve been sold into worse inflation, worse energy poverty, and a worsening environment for rolling blackouts.”