EXCLUSIVE: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg met privately last year with the head of Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a non-profit dedicated to electrifying the U.S. economy from transportation to home appliances like stovetops.
According to his internal agency calendar obtained via information request by government watchdog group Americans for Public Trust (APT), Buttigieg met with RMI CEO Jon Creyts on Nov. 30, 2022. Creyts, who assumed the leadership position earlier that same month, is described by RMI as an ‘internationally recognized leader on global energy issues and climate change.’
‘Secretary Buttigieg’s misguided motto that ‘every transportation decision is a climate decision’ explains why he’s meeting with the group working overtime to ban gas stoves instead of ensuring U.S. travel is safe and efficient,’ APT executive director Caitlin Sutherland told Fox News Digital.
‘Buttigieg’s regular consultations with radical climate activists — whose chief goal is to eliminate all fossil fuels — while flying around the country on taxpayer-funded private jets is the height of elitist hypocrisy that has become a hallmark of the Biden administration,’ she continued. ‘It’s no wonder Americans across the country are fuming about his out-of-touch priorities.’
Buttigieg’s calendar showed the meeting was in-person and listed Creyts as the sole participant, but failed to include an agenda for the meeting. RMI, though, explained that the meeting focused on the group’s work electrifying the transportation sector.
‘This meeting focused on RMI’s work to electrify the transportation sector, including electric vehicles, vehicle charging infrastructure, and other clean mobility solutions,’ RMI spokesperson Rachel Sarah told Fox News Digital.
The Department of Transportation didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Ensuring zero-carbon transportation is listed as one of RMI’s top priorities on its websites. The group calls for zero-emissions freight, electric passenger fleets and for an electric vehicle charging network to be rapidly constructed nationwide. The group further states that it is ‘ending tailpipe emissions to create cleaner air, save millions of lives, and align the transportation sector with a 1.5ºC target.’
As part of it transportation initiative, RMI has advocated in favor of states adopting California’s recent regulations banning gas-powered vehicle sales beginning in 2035.
‘As states consider whether to adopt [California’s regulations] in whole or in part, it is valuable to consider not just the many economic, consumer, and health benefits of EV deployment but also the effect this regulation can have on tipping the market toward more rapid EV adoption,’ an RMI blog from April states.
‘Business-as-usual cannot be an option if the U.S. and the world are to meet our climate goals,’ it continues. ‘The path forward is clear, and there is no time to waste.’
Since taking office, meanwhile, Buttigieg has repeatedly pushed for greater electric vehicle proliferation and manufacturing.
And the group recently made headlines after it funded a study that highlighted public health dangers posed by gas stove usage. The study, authored by RMI researchers Talor Gruenwald and Brady Seals, was cited in a Bloomberg article in January that included comments from a Consumer Product Safety Commission member who told the outlet a gas stove ban was ‘on the table.’
The group’s position is to ensure the U.S. only builds zero-carbon buildings with electric appliances in the future, while continually retrofitting existing construction.
‘Burning fossil fuels (mainly gas) in U.S. homes and businesses accounts for roughly one-tenth of the country’s carbon emissions,’ another RMI blog post, from February, states. ‘Cutting this climate pollution is essential for the United States to meet its climate targets and to prevent the worst consequences of climate change.’
In addition, RMI has collaborated with the Chinese government to study transitioning away from traditional fossil fuels.
The group’s only office outside the U.S. is located in Beijing, China’s capital city. Creyts, who Buttigieg met with in his November meeting, helped found RMI’s China Program and establish the group’s Beijing office.
In 2013, RMI worked with the National Development and Reform Commission, a Chinese government entity, to create a roadmap for ‘China’s revolution in energy consumption and production to 2050.’ The report largely showed how China’s economy could adopt new clean energy technologies to replace oil and gas infrastructure.
On its website, RMI lists 30 reports it has helped assemble on China. For example, a March report on the Chinese power sector lists Xue Han, of the government-run Development Research Center of the State Council, as a contributor.
RMI is also a member of the China Clean Transportation Partnership, a green group with significant ties to the Chinese government.
Additionally, RMI board member Wei Ding was previously the chairman of the China International Capital Corporation, a bank partially owned by the Chinese government.
‘RMI has worked for four decades alongside governments to accelerate the adoption of market-based solutions that cost-effectively bring about a clean energy transition,’ Sarah, RMI’s spokesperson, told Fox News Digital. ‘We aim to work with any entity accelerating the transition to a zero-carbon future and securing its benefits for all.’
‘We share our research and analysis routinely with governments, policymakers of both parties, fellow non-profit organizations, and corporations — including those in the fossil fuel business. RMI works in China because reducing emissions in China is critical to preventing the worst consequences of climate change.’