On Friday, the Biden administration announced that it would use wartime powers to allocate $165 million from the Inflation Reduction Act to increase the production of heat pumps, arguing it will produce energy that is more "climate-friendly."
According to The Hill, the administration plans to use the Cold War-era Defense Production Act, which allows the president the ability to bolster certain industries if needed to help national security.
Director of the Energy Department's Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains Giulia Siccardo told the outlet, "Most of the companies that we announced today, seven out of the nine, are actually not yet manufacturing heat pumps here in the U.S., or heat pump components, in the U.S.Amer at scale," so the money would allow them to build the factories to do so.
She added that using the Defense Production Act allows them the ability "to quickly deploy funding to be able to add or convert manufacturing capacity."
In a statement, National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi touted the plan as a "win, win for our economy, our workers, and our planet." He wrote, "This acceleration of electric heat pump manufacturing also shows how President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is advancing American innovation, cutting energy bills for hardworking families, and tackling the climate crisis."
CEO of the American Gas Association Karen Harbert was less than pleased with the announcement. She wrote in a statement, "We are deeply disappointed to see the Defense Production Act, which is intended as a vital tool for advancing national security against serious outside threats, being used as an instrument to advance a policy agenda contradictory to our nation’s strong energy position."
Earlier this week, President Biden claimed that climate change was the "ultimate threat to humanity."
The idea that climate change is a threat to national security is nothing new for the Biden administration. In July 2022, Department of Defense spokesman John Kirby claimed as much. He said, "The Pentagon has noted not just in this administration, but even the previous one, that climate change is a national security issue."
"Not only does it affect our infrastructure...you're already starting to see military bases, like Norfolk Naval Base, having to invest millions of dollars to try to improve their infrastructure because of rising sea levels," Kirby said. "It has an impact on our readiness because you're seeing it now, even in the wildfires where so many National Guardsmen are being called out."
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