U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) questioned Mr. Scott Nathan, President Biden’s nominee to be the Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), on efforts to end global energy poverty. Barrasso specifically pressed for a commitment that the DFC would promote an all-of-the-above energy policy when it comes to supporting energy projects in developing countries.
Barrasso also questioned Ambassador John Bass, President Biden’s nominee to be Under Secretary of State for Management, on the Biden administration’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. Bass recently headed up the U.S. State Department’s efforts to evacuate American citizens from Afghanistan.
The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held a hearing on the nominations of Nathan and Bass today.
On Energy Projects in Developing Countries:
“One of the issues that you mentioned was energy. Senator Van Hollen mentioned the fact that China is investing five times more in Africa than we are.
“And I am going to focus on that energy component that you just said you were interested in. Because I know what China is doing in Africa.
“The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), needs to provide financing for energy projects that are most suitable to the needs of developing countries.
“And I see you are noticing where I’m going – because you know what a bad job is happening right now.
“In April, this administration announced the DFC is going to halt all fossil fuel investments by 2030 to achieve a net zero carbon emissions portfolio by 2040. China is not going to do that.
“It also announced that the DFC is going to make one-third of its investment commitments be focused on climate change starting in just two years.
“Your limitation on CO2 emissions for new projects is equivalent to one 400 megawatt combined cycle gas plant a year.
“Meaning over the entirety of the life of the future of the world, you are only committed to eight natural gas power plants globally. Forever.
“Eight natural gas power plants is not going to end energy poverty in developing countries.
“Worldwide 759 million people are living without electricity. Stable, affordable, reliable electricity is the best way to help developing countries climb out of poverty.
“China knows it. We know it. This administration needs to understand it.
“Traditional energy projects are still the most affordable and still the most reliable. No modern economy will run on only variable renewable power.
“You are a smart man – you have to understand this.
“A country needs continuous abundant energy to run a manufacturing plant, a data center or a hospital.
“The things you are talking about doing require a lot of energy.
“Abandoning important energy projects will slow our effort to reduce poverty and it’s going to make China more powerful.
“You don’t have to make my word for it – listen to the leaders of another country.
“Let’s talk about Uganda. October 24th, this year, the President of Uganda wrote an opinion editorial in the Wall Street Journal: ‘Solar and Wind Force Poverty on Africa.’
“The policies of this administration are forcing poverty on Uganda.
“The President of Uganda has said, ‘Africa can’t sacrifice its future prosperity for Western climate goals.’
“I could go on and on about this. If confirmed, would you ensure the International Development Finance Corporation promotes an all of the above energy policy?
“Or are you going to be handcuffed to a policy that says, ‘we are going to let China take over with energy in Africa because we have our heads stuck in the sand?’”
Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s remarks on DFC energy projects.
On Afghanistan Withdrawal Failures:
“In August, President Biden oversaw the tragic, mismanaged withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“The withdrawal was an epic failure. Poor planning, zero strategy.
“Instead, this administration cobbled together a last minute, disorganized plan.
“People raced to the airport. Americans and allies left behind.
“Thirteen soldiers lost their lives, including Rylee McCollum of Wyoming. Tragic. Unnecessary.
“You were the coordinator for Afghan relocation efforts. You headed up the State Department’s efforts to evacuate American citizens and Afghans.
“You know of the failures of the withdrawal. As Senator Hagerty said, no one has been held accountable.
“Who at the Department of State should be held accountable for the strategic failures and the disorganized plan?”