Billionaire entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria cautioned on Friday that the push toward renewable energy cannot occur overnight without serious economic consequences.
During an interview with Fox Business, the co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems explained that the United States used to be “totally sufficient when it comes to energy,” but is experiencing headwinds from the rapid transition toward green sources.
“No disrespect to those who want to go green. I want to go green, I wave the green flag, but you can’t do it overnight,” he explained. “You’ve got to adjust to it over time and not take a nation almost to its knees because you want to go green immediately.”
DeJoria, who was homeless before successfully launching his hair product empire, added that the transition ought to be led by the private sector. “It’s got to be done as a business person would,” he remarked. “Here’s the oil and gas consumption, here’s what we want to do, and let’s gradually get into it.”
The remarks come as European nations, many of which heavily regulate oil and gas production, contend with soaring energy costs amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Several countries, including Spain and France, have requested that their citizens slash energy consumption by reducing reliance upon air conditioning and heating systems. The European Union, in accordance with the European Green Deal and the Paris Climate Agreement, abides by the goal of becoming “a climate-neutral society” by 2050.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has announced that she would propose standards for European Union member states to reduce “overall electricity consumption” funded by redistributing profits from energy companies. Russian shipments constituted 40% of the European natural gas supply last year, although the rate has since dropped to 9%.
In the United States, officials in the Biden administration have contended that higher energy prices will compel the market to more quickly adopt green power. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said during a recent speech that “no country controls the wind and the sun,” meaning producers “can harness those sources of energy” to “make their economies more resilient and secure.” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg similarly remarked that “the more pain we are all experiencing from the high price of gas, the more benefit there is for those who can access electric vehicles.”
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon rebutted such arguments by noting that developing nations such as India, China, and the Philippines revert to coal power when oil and natural gas prices begin to rise, resulting in more emissions. “I think we’re getting energy completely wrong, which is, you know, ever since this war started, you know that Europe is going to have a problem,” he said during a recent interview. “And that it was pretty predictable that Putin was going to cut off some gas and some oil, and oil prices would go up.”
The White House is nevertheless pursuing a “whole-of-government approach to put climate change at the center of our domestic, national security, and foreign policy,” according to a speech delivered by President Joe Biden days after his inauguration. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, an entity in the Treasury Department charged with regulating and supervising banks, recently tapped a new chief climate risk officer.