It’s the laugh heard ’round America — and the world.
Last week, Jennifer Granholm, President Joe Biden’s energy secretary, was appearing on Bloomberg TV when she was asked this question: “What is the Granholm plan to increase oil production in America?”
Granholm immediately began laughing. “That is hilarious,” she responded. “Would that I had the magic wand on this.”
“As you know, of course, oil is a global market. It is controlled by a cartel. That cartel is called OPEC, and they made a decision yesterday that they were not going to increase beyond what they were already planning.”
Laughing at Americans paying more for gas?
Biden and the Democrats are out-of-touch with how their failed policies hurt working families.pic.twitter.com/9lbi2Nzx5I
— GOP (@GOP) November 5, 2021
There are several problems to this answer, but the biggest one is the prelude to it: the laugh.
For Granholm, what she was dismissing is Americans who are paying a lot more at the pump — and stand to see further price increases. According to CNN, Bank of America projected last week that by June 2022, the price of crude oil would rise by 45 percent.
It’s not just the pump or the prices on store shelves, however. Lest we forget, carbon energy affects a number of other areas, too — including agriculture, where experts are predicting an energy shortfall will mean a deadly food shortage in the near future.
“I want to say this loud and clear right now, that we risk a very low crop in the next harvest,” said Svein Tore Holsether, the CEO and president of Norwegian-based fertilizer giant Yara International, according to a Fortune article published Thursday.
“I’m afraid we’re going to have a food crisis.”
Fertilizer prices, he said, had roughly tripled during the summer and fall, in part due to natural gas prices in Europe increasing at about the same rate.
Yara produces ammonia, which is one of the ingredients of artificial fertilizer. To this, they either utilize hydropower or natural gas.
“To produce a ton of ammonia last summer was $110,” Holsether said. “And now it’s $1,000. So it’s just incredible.”
While Yara has donated $25 million of fertilizer to vulnerable farmers, he said, they can’t just give the product away — and since September, it’s been reducing its production of ammonia by 40 percent.
While food prices have also gone up, meaning some farmers can afford to pay for more expensive fertilizer, smaller farmers could end up taking a hit. What’s more, Holsether predicted a food crisis could unfold similar to the computer chip crisis we’re currently experiencing — a delayed reaction to the effects of the COVID-19 shutdowns.
“That’s all linked to factories being shut down in March, April and May of last year, and we’re reaping the consequences of that now,” he said.
“But if we get the equivalent to the food system … not having food is not annoying, that’s a matter of life or death.”
Beyond food shortages is food families can no longer afford. That’s what made Granholm’s answer so infuriating; the administration she works for views carbon energy production and security as a minimal priority. (See how they canceled the permits on the Keystone XL pipeline and paused federal oil leases, for instance.)
This isn’t just about the price at the pump — and it doesn’t just affect Americans, particularly given agricultural exports.
Laugh now, Secretary Granholm. When families in America and abroad are starving or can’t afford basic foodstuffs, thanks in part to your administration’s reliance on OPEC for carbon-based energy, you can imagine how that cackle will look in 2022 political advertisements.
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