News & Politics

'Utterly Ridiculous': Biden's Energy Sec. Suggests Climate Change Caused Florida Building Collapse

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

On Tuesday, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm suggested that climate change could have played a key role in the deadly collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla. A conservative climate expert mocked the idea as “utterly ridiculous,” especially considering the engineer report that exposed structural weaknesses in the building years before the collapse.

At least 16 people are dead and 147 more are still missing nearly a week after the collapse last Thursday. Back in 2018, an engineer warned of “major structural damage” to the concrete slab below the pool deck and highlighted “abundant” cracking in supporting columns.

CNN anchor Erica Hill asked Granholm, whom President Joe Biden appointed as secretary of energy, whether or not climate change played a role in the collapse.

“Given what we know about the changing climate, given that we’ve seen an increase in so-called extraordinary tides and the impact that that can have in areas like South Florida, do you think that climate would have played a role in that building’s collapse?” Hill asked. As the anchor asked Granholm this question, the chyron underscored the idea, reading, “Could Climate Crisis Have Contributed to Building Collapse?”

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“We don’t know fully,” Granholm admitted. “But we do know that the seas are rising. I mean, we know that we’re losing inches and inches of beaches, not just in Florida, but all around. Lake Michigan, where I’m from, we’ve seen the loss of beaches because the waters are rising.”

“This is a phenomenon that will continue,” the secretary predicted. “We’ll have to wait to see what the analysis is for this building, but the issue about resiliency, and making sure we adapt to this changing climate, that’s going to mean levies need to be built, that means sea walls need to be built, that means infrastructure needs to be built.”

Naturally, Granholm tied the issue to Biden’s infrastructure bill, which the president and his allies have used to push green handouts and other Democratic wish-list items.

Steve Milloy, a former Trump-Pence EPA transition team member and founder of, condemned Granholm’s suggestion as “utterly ridiculous.”

“Granholm’s suggestion that the condo collapse is due to climate is utterly ridiculous. There is no reason to believe that anything other than faulty construction and/or failed maintenance is the proximate cause,” Milloy told PJ Media. “The veteran engineer brought in for the building autopsy has said as much.”

“Moreover, although climate activists have been propagandizing for years that the King Tides flooding Miami Beach [just south of the Surfside condo] are evidence of climate caused sea-level rise, the reality is quite different. Miami Beach was built on a reclaimed mangrove – i.e., fill materials more than 90 years ago. Miami Beach is just sinking due to inevitable natural processes,” Milloy explained.

Even worse for the climate alarmist narrative, “sea level rise in the area is occurring at a rate below average global sea level rise for the past 150 years or so.”

Yet Milloy also noted what may be Granholm’s most embarrassing flub in the entire interview.

“The foolishness of her effort to propagandize for climate and Biden’s infrastructure package is underscored by her comment that Lake Michigan is rising due to sea-level rise. The former Michigan governor apparently has no idea that Lake Michigan is some 577 feet above sea level, an elevation that isn’t likely to be impacted by 3 millimeters per year sea level rise,” he explained.

Daniel Turner, founder and executive director of Power The Future, raised the alarm about Granholm’s comments.

“Climate change is anything authoritarians want it to be, but more than anything, it is the impetus to impose their will on a people unwilling to submit. In this thoroughly un-American sense, Granholm can use a building collapse, without inspecting the damage, without a background in construction or engineering, to stoke panic. What follows will be a government determining your housing, your transportation and your freedoms all to under the guise of public safety and well-being,” Turner warned.

“You think governors closing your churches and shuttering businesses during [the COVID-19 pandemic] was bad? Get ready for the power of government that declares a climate crisis. It will regulate everything – literally every facet — in your life,” he argued.

Granholm merely followed Biden’s lead in this. Last September, Biden twisted the facts to blame climate change for fires in the West, flooding in the Midwest, and hurricanes on the East Coast. In reality, floods in the Midwest and hurricanes on the East Coast are nothing new, while California’s fires have much more to do with poor forest management than with climate change.

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Yet to the hammer (and sickle?) of climate alarmism and government regulation, every disaster is a nail. Granholm shows just how far Democrats are willing to go in advancing this agenda.