Climate conspiracy theories to return with GOP-run House

By Scott Waldman | 12/12/2022 06:27 AM EST

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) wants to investigate the debunked claim that environmental groups are secretly colluding with China and Russia.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy points with his left hand.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Capitol Hill on Jan. 13. Francis Chung/E&E News

Republican lawmakers plan to conduct an investigation into the conspiracy theory that falsely claims Russia is behind President Joe Biden’s climate policies.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) last week released a list of his party’s planned probes after Republicans take power next month. It reveals that House Republicans will investigate the debunked claim that environmental groups that have influenced Biden’s climate policy are secretly colluding with Russia and China.

The 8-year-old allegation — which has never been supported by any evidence and is vehemently contested by environmental groups — will be a priority for the party’s oversight of Biden’s energy and climate policy, according to McCarthy.


“Democrat policies have sold out American energy security and American industry, leaving America dependent on energy from abroad and vulnerable to the whims of dictators from around the world,” McCarthy said in a statement announcing the probes.

A planning document released Tuesday by McCarthy outlines his oversight priorities for the 118th Congress. It includes dozens of possible hearings, under categories such as “Education & Woke Ideology,” “Big Tech and the Silencing of America’s Free Speech” and “Hunter Biden.”

McCarthy is the front-runner to become House speaker next year. His office did not respond to repeated requests from E&E News for comment.

Under “Energy Production & American Industry,” it lists probes into environmental, social and governance investment regulations; cancellation of energy permits; and the Biden administration’s “disregard” that climate policies could allegedly cause price spikes.

Since 2014, some Republican lawmakers and conservative think tanks have claimed without evidence that Russia is funding anti-fracking campaigns run by large American environmental groups. Environmental groups have strenuously denied any connection. McCarthy’s list shows that Republicans now also claim that China is involved (Climatewire, March 21).

It’s not the only conspiracy theory involving climate policy and hostile foreign governments.

Another probe will examine whether Biden’s energy policy is proof that he’s been “compromised” by China, incoming House Oversight Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo on her Sunday show. The line of inquiry will be part of the comprehensive probe into Hunter Biden’s laptop, Comer said.

Comer claimed, without evidence, that President Biden profited from his son’s business dealings in China and that, as a result, Biden’s climate policy was intended to benefit China.

“You look at all these crazy policies coming out of the Biden administration with respect to energy policy that are affecting every American in a negative way, and you think maybe he is compromised,” Comer said.

Biden’s energy policy is designed to cut reliance on China by onshoring clean energy manufacturing and battery production. He also wants to ramp up domestic critical mineral mining. The Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law by Biden in August, includes $370 billion in clean energy incentives to help achieve those goals.

Additionally, Republican Party leaders have signaled that they plan to probe Biden’s strategy to use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to reduce gas prices, as well as what Biden said when he traveled to Saudi Arabia and asked for an increase in oil production months before the midterm election (E&E Daily, Dec. 5).

Republicans also say they will examine both EPA’s methane regulations process and the Securities and Exchange Commission’s process on environmental, social and governance rulemaking.