Shellenberger: Biden Is Failing The World
Many people in the U.S. are still unaware of just how dire the situation is in Europe.
They have started logging their old-growth forests for wood fuel to stay warm during the winter.
You can see in a tweet that just came out today from somebody in Denmark that “people are stealing each other’s wood pellets and their wood briquettes as soon as they’re delivered.” [bold, links added]
To make matters worse, “There [are] constant reports of cars having their tanks drilled and their gas stolen.” Remember, it’s not even winter yet. Winter’s actually over 72 days away. So this is a very serious situation.
You can see that in Poland people are actually burning trash to stay warm. Burning trash in your fireplace creates toxic smoke. It’s hazardous. The government’s considering handing out masks so people can breathe more safely when they’re outdoors.
Recall that natural gas is the reason the United States reduced its carbon emissions more than any other country in the world.
Carbon emissions have been on the decline globally, in large measure, because of the transition from coal to gas.
Natural gas is something that most reasonable people agree is a superior fuel to coal. Natural gas is the reason the United States reduced its emissions by 22% between 2005 and 2020, which is five percentage points more than the United States had agreed to reduce our emissions under cap and trade legislation, which nearly passed Congress in 2010 and under the UN Paris Climate Agreement.
The above is a graph that was produced by Matthew Yglesias, a well-known progressive blogger. He tweets it out whenever somebody points out that President Biden isn’t doing all he can to expand oil and gas production. It’s accurate.
It does show that oil production increased on a daily average under Biden from under Trump. But it’s deeply misleading. You have to remember that under Trump, the coronavirus pandemic, for several months, massively slashed oil production.
You can see from the below chart of the EIA data on crude oil production that we still haven’t gotten back to where we were before the pandemic. Now consider how the need is much greater for US oil now that Europe and the United States are rejecting Russian oil.
The United States is the biggest liquified natural gas exporter, it’s true. But it takes five years to bring online new LNG capacity in the United States.
So all of the new LNG that’s come online during Biden’s presidency was due to past presidents.
And Biden has leased less land than any President since World War II. It’s a shockingly small amount of land: 130,000 acres as opposed to seven million acres under Obama, and four million acres under Trump, during the first 19 months of their administrations.
It’s a huge reduction in the amount of land being leased.
This turned out not to be the case.
The Senator from Alaska, Lisa Markowski said, “I can say with full certainty based on conversations as recently as last night, that Alaska’s industry does have an interest in lease sales and the Cook Inlet to claim otherwise is simply false, not to mention stunningly shortsighted.”
Biden Leased Less Land Than Any President Since WWII
People point out the oil and gas industry does have many thousands of leases, and that’s true, but there’s a high degree of uncertainty about whether the leases they have will produce oil and gas at levels that make sense economically to produce from.
So increasing oil and gas leasing at a time of an energy crisis in Europe seems like a no-brainer, but the Biden administration is not doing that. In fact, it’s been preventing the expansion of gas in many other ways.
You can see the Biden administration denied a request to have a formaldehyde regulation exempted. All else being equal, you’d wanna reduce that pollution. But I think a little bit of formaldehyde is gonna be a less toxic airborne event than having people breathing toxic wood and plastic smoke in Europe.
The right thing to do, in terms of aiding our allies, would be to waive that regulation. But the Biden administration refused.
You can see that the Biden administration is actively considering forgoing all new offshore drilling in the Atlantic and Pacific. It may do no offshore leases at all for oil and gas.
Instead, the Biden administration has sought to give sanctions relief to Venezuela in the hopes that Venezuela would produce more oil.
And of course, most famously Biden went to Saudi Arabia to ask the Saudis to produce more oil in July. Now, everybody agrees that was a huge foreign policy failure.
The Saudis announced they would be cutting production with the rest of OPEC+. The Biden administration’s pressure on the Saudis apparently annoyed them. Now, they’ve been pushed closer into the arms of Russia.
This is a pretty significant setback for the Biden administration.
Read rest and watch the video at Substack