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Joe Biden recently took a unique action in American politics by standing up against the oil industry, according to Bill McKibben.
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Joe Biden recently took a unique action in American politics by standing up against the oil industry, according to Bill McKibben.

Ten days ago, Joe Biden did something extraordinary and nearly unprecedented – he refused to bow down to the demands of big oil.

The government has stopped approving new permits for the construction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals, which had been regularly granted for the past ten years. This decision is not final, as the Department of Energy will spend time developing a new process for granting licenses that considers current scientific and economic factors. However, the strong backlash from the petroleum industry and their affiliated politicians suggests the significance of this move.

Additionally, you are able to mention something else: the decreasing strength of their arguments as time passes. Biden has exposed their lies, and it is satisfying to witness.

Politicians who are influenced by the industry have scheduled hearings in Congress this week and next to discuss natural gas. On Thursday, Joe Manchin, who has received significant lobbying funds from the oil industry and owns a coal brokerage company, will convene a meeting in the Senate. The House, on the other hand, started the proceedings on Tuesday with a hearing held by a subcommittee of the House energy and commerce committee.

A panel member called Toby Rice, who is considered an “expert”, is also the owner of a company that produces the most natural gas in the country. He quickly resorted to the deceptive tactics commonly used by people like him. I will attempt to explain it slowly so you can understand how he is tricking us.

According to Rice, the fracking industry has played a significant role in boosting our economy and reducing our dependence on foreign natural gas. This has also resulted in a 60% decrease in emissions in the United States since the beginning of the 21st century by replacing coal-powered energy.

The main focus is on “emissions,” which refers to carbon dioxide according to Rice. When fracked gas is burned in a power plant, it releases fewer emissions compared to coal. However, the main component of “natural gas” is methane, which is a significant greenhouse gas. When it escapes from a well or pipeline, it has 80 times more heat-trapping ability per molecule than carbon dioxide.

A significant amount of emissions is being released, and when these are added to the carbon emissions from burning gas, it is likely that America’s overall impact on global warming has not decreased in the past twenty years. Contrary to being beneficial, natural gas has been more of a hindrance, and now the industry wants to trap the rest of the world in this cycle.

In recent research, it was revealed that when fracking gas is transported on a boat for long distances, a significant amount of gas leaks out. This results in far more harmful emissions than using coal. If the White House continued to approve all the permits requested by the industry, the US would surpass Europe in producing greenhouse gas emissions within ten years. This is currently the largest project for expanding the use of fossil fuels on the planet.

The issue with Rice’s argument is twofold. Firstly, it does not acknowledge that gas, not coal, is being mostly threatened by Rice’s stance. Secondly, we currently reside on a planet where harnessing solar energy through the use of solar panels is the most cost-effective method of producing power. This makes it unnecessary to transition from coal to gas before ultimately switching to renewable energy sources. The notion that gas serves as a temporary “bridge fuel” is outdated by at least ten years, but it is a position that major oil companies are pushing to prolong for four to five more decades, as that is the projected lifespan of their new infrastructure.

Rice’s arguments may have been deceptive, but the other industry witness, Eric Cormier, simply appeared sorrowful. Cormier represented Chamber Southwest Louisiana, the area where the majority of this infrastructure is located. It is his neighbors, such as environmental justice advocates Roishetta Ozane and James Hiatt, who have spearheaded this fight by highlighting the negative impact these facilities have on the environment. However, Cormier argued that LNG development is necessary due to the economic devastation caused by Hurricanes Laura and Delta, which resulted in $17 billion in damages, 44,000 homes being damaged, and a decrease of about 7% in the population.

He’s not wrong about the damage – Lake Charles, the big city in the region, is arguably the blue tarp capital of the planet. But think about his argument for even a second: the climate crisis is causing such grievous loss along the coast of Louisiana that … we need to make the climate crisis worse to pay for all the damage.

What is the reason for the disappearing Louisiana coast to feel a strong desire to transition away from fossil fuels? The Chamber SWLA prioritizes short-term profit over all other measurements.

This type of deceptive environmental marketing has been happening for a long time. However, major oil companies are facing increasing challenges in justifying their actions, particularly after a recent economic study revealed that expanding the LNG export infrastructure would result in a 9 to 14% increase in energy costs for Americans. Surveys also indicate that the majority of Americans do not support fracking in their own country in order to sell cheap gas to China.

The industry will continue to make noise despite this. With the advancement of renewable technology, their only chance is to play political games. However, it is becoming easier for progressive leaders to challenge them. In December, the global community made a commitment in Dubai to move away from fossil fuels. Last month, Joe Biden began demonstrating his commitment in Washington.

  • Bill McKibben created Third Act, an organization that mobilizes Americans over 60 to advocate for progressive causes. This past autumn, they successfully lobbied the government to cease issuing LNG permits.

Source: theguardian.com