On July 20, 2022, when his mental acuity appeared more intact, President Biden made a powerful speech about climate change at the Brayton Point Power Station in Massachusetts and his supposedly unstoppable commitment to fight it. Among those in the cheering section were John Kerry, Biden’s Presidential Envoy on Climate and Gina McCarthy, his former national climate advisor, as well as the Bay State’s Senators, Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey.

On that summer day, Biden presented himself as a tough leader who believed climate change was a threat to U.S. national security and that he was unwavering in his commitment to protect Americans from the undeniable crisis.

Here are excerpts from that that speech.

I come here today with a message: As President, I have a responsibility to act with urgency and resolve when our nation faces clear and present danger.  And that’s what climate change is about.  It is literally, not figuratively, a clear and present danger.

The health of our citizens and our communities is literally at stake.

The U.N.’s leading international climate scientists called the latest climate report nothing less than, quote, “code red for humanity.”  Let me say it again: “Code red for humanity.”  It’s not a group of political official — elected officials.  These are the scientists.

We see here in America, in red states and blue states, extreme weather events costing $145 billion — $145 billion in damages just last year — more powerful and destructive hurricanes and tornadoes. 

I’ve flown over the vast majority of them out west and down in Louisiana, all across America.  It’s a — it’s amazing to see. 

Ravaging hundred-year-old droughts occurring every few years instead of every hundred years.  Wildfires out west that have burned and destroyed more than 5 million acres — everything in its path.  That is more land than the entire state of New Jersey, from New York down to the tip of Delaware.  It’s amazing.  Five million acres.

Our national security is at stake as well.  Extreme weather is already damaging our military installations here in the States.  And our economy is at risk.  So we have to act.

Extreme weather disrupts supply chains, causing delays and shortages for consumers and businesses.

Climate change is literally an existential threat to our nation and to the world. 

So my message today is this: Since Congress is not acting as it should — and these guys here are, but we’re not getting many Republican votes — this is an emergency.  An emergency.  And I will — I will look at it that way.

The cornerstone of Biden’s “green energy” policies was forcing the transition of America’s automotive industry to electric vehicles. GM CEO Mary Barra and Ford CEO Jim Farley admirably embraced Biden’s EV policies, with Barra boasting that she’d be selling more EVs than Tesla by 2025. One would hope that Americans could count on the leaders of two major U.S. companies they heavily subsidize, and in the case of GM rescued from bankruptcy, to rally around the president to bolster his national security efforts.

Meanwhile, Toyota, a major seller of vehicles in the U.S., said Biden’s aggressive EV mandates weren’t reasonable and refused to embrace them. Given that Toyota is based in Japan, one could argue the company’s refusal to get behind Biden’s EV policies was climate treason by a foreign-controlled power. For years, environmentalists and the U.S. media mercilessly trashed Toyota, portraying the company as a reckless carbon emissions-spewing company that was harmful to America’s valiant efforts to save the world from climate change.

It’s well known that Barra and Farley have failed miserably on the EV front. At this writing, GM still has the stop-sale order it issued more than two months ago on the EV Chevy Blazers it manufactures in Mexico because it hasn’t yet figured out how to fix the serious software issues that were responsible for two reviewers trashing the vehicle. There also have been serious problems with GM’s EV Hummer and electric Cadillac Lyriq.

Ford’s electric F-150 Lightning pickups are piling up on a lot near the company’s Dearborn headquarters because of an electrical issue with the headlights.  Even after slashing the prices on the electric Mustangs the “All In On America” company proudly manufactures in Mexico, Ford dealers are still having trouble finding consumers willing to drive the vehicles off their lots.

Barra’s and Farley’s dismal EV failures aren’t the only harms to Biden’s war on climate change.  American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), an organization whose mandate is to “reduce energy waste and combat climate change,” the other day released its 2024 rankings of the most environmentally friendly vehicles and those causing the most harm. ACEEE’s rankings are based on the cost to human health from air pollution associated with vehicle manufacturing and disposal, the production and distribution of fuel or electricity, and vehicle tailpipe emissions.

Barra, and to a lesser extent Farley, should be ashamed of themselves, as should the environmentalists and the legacy media publications that trashed Toyota.

According to the ACEEE’s rankings, Toyota and its luxury Lexus brand manufacture six of the top 12 vehicles the organization deems the greenest of the green automobiles on the market. South Korea-based Hyundai and its Kia brand scored four positions, and UK-based Mini Cooper and Japan-based Nissan each scored one.

Toyota/Lexus vehicles scored four positions on ACEEE’s second-tier list of greenest vehicles, while Kia had two vehicles. Ford scored two positions but notably one of the vehicles was the Maverick, a pickup the red, white, and blue feigning company also proudly manufactures in Mexico.

GM didn’t have one vehicle in the “greenest” and “greener” rankings. Where Barra can boast about being the industry leader is the ACEEE’s list of vehicles most hostile to Biden’s war on climate change. GM has four vehicles on that list, a tie with Netherlands-based Stellantis. Ford has one vehicle on the list.

What should have Biden and environmentalists in a tizzy is that one of Barra’s vehicles the ACEEE deemed among the most environmentally damaging is her EV Hummer pickup. Yes, while Biden and the media were hailing Barra’s ambitious EV transformation claims, they mistakenly assumed that she was doing her part to combat climate change. Instead, she was hoping to line GM’s corporate profits with another high-margin truck so she could justify another $29 million annual payday for herself. (Notably, Barra’s 2022 compensation was six times what Toyota’s CEO was paid despite Toyota being considerably more profitable and sells more than five times as many vehicles, one-third of which are hybrids).

In addition to harming the environment, the EV Hummer is a safety menace. The vehicle weighs more than 9,000 pounds (it’s battery alone weighs more than a Honda Civic) and two auto reviewers warned the electric Hummer’s brakes were inadequate. Jennifer Homendy, who heads the National Transportation Safety Board, also has warned about the dangers of the Hummer, as well as other electric pickups and SUVs. I’ve previously published two commentaries about the Hummer’s dangers (see here and here), which also make a mockery of the Biden Administration’s efforts to reduce traffic fatalities.  

Drivers or passengers in vehicles on ACEEE’s greenest list are possibly goners if rear ended by an EV Hummer, which Barra recently disclosed is one of the vehicles that she drives (the other is an EV Blazer).  

Barra has legions of industry loyalists and admirers, and perhaps GM can find some expert or one of her media sycophants to discredit the ACEEE’s methodology in compiling its lists. But the organization’s rankings aren’t the sole findings that should have environmentalists screaming from their solar rooftops.

Mary Barra/GM photo

According to the EPA’s 2023 annual report released in December, GM’s carbon emissions during the 2017-2022 period increased more than any automaker except Honda. The EPA blamed the shift on Barra’s increased focus on more profitable gas guzzling trucks and SUVs, which more than offset emission improvements in GM’s other vehicles.

By comparison, during the 2017-2022 period, Toyota’s carbon emissions decreased more than any other automaker, and the company’s overall fuel economy improved. What makes these results so remarkable is EPA says that Toyota during this period increased its share of the truck and SUV market to 38% from 27%.

ACEEE ranked Toyota’s plug-in hybrid Prius as the greenest vehicle on the market, even more so than any Tesla vehicles, none of which made the organization’s “greenest” or “greener” lists. The redesigned Prius has received uniformly rave reviews, which is why there is a one year waiting list to order the vehicle. The plug-in version can go up to 44 miles miles on a single charge, sufficient range for most people to avoid gas stations except when taking extended trips.

GM once had a vehicle that could give the plug-in Prius some formidable competition. It was called the Chevy Volt, which was also a plug-in and could go 53 miles on a single charge. The Volt was conceived by GM’s management prior to Barra taking over in 2014 and was first made available in 2010. Barra discontinued the vehicle in 2019.

Although it’s been five years since the last Volt was sold, in my Los Angeles neighborhood I still see more Volts than any other vehicles manufactured by GM, which understandably isn’t a popular brand in much of California given the company’s climate disregard. I make a point of engaging every Volt driver I meet and without exception, the owners rave about their vehicle.

There’s been some speculation that GM might bring back the Volt, but the battery brains behind the vehicle are long gone from GM. In a recent story explaining why GM bombed so badly introducing electric vehicles, the publication InsideEVs said a major impediment was the departure of GM’s most experienced battery engineers through retirements, buyouts, and even poaching by other firms under Barra’s leadership.

As for Biden’s supposed ironclad commitment to fighting climate change and his administration’s aggressive EV mandates, the New York Times recently reported the president plans to relax some of his strategies to garner cooperation from the auto industry and political support from the UAW, which recently endorsed his reelection.

New York Times, Feb. 17, 2024

According to Politico, Biden and Barra are close, with Barra having visited the White House at least eight times since his election. When it comes to failed EV leadership, Biden and Barra share much in common and have lots to talk about.

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