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Biden’s pivot towards US oil production draws ire among progressives and climate advocates

Biden’s pivot towards US oil production draws ire among progressives and climate advocates

Biden's pivot on US oil production draws ire from progressives, climate advocates

President BidenWhile the plan to increase liquefied gas shipments to Europe to assist the continent in its fight against Russian energy has won applause from oil and gas industry executives, it is likely to draw the ire of progressives who desire the opposite. White HouseTo focus on combating climate changes.

Last week, the Biden administration declared that it will collaborate with international partners to supply Europe at least 15 million cubic meters more LNG this year. Members of the European voting bloc also committed to receiving 50 billion cubic meters of American fuel until at least 2030 – part of a broader plan to reduce their reliance on Russia, which accounted for 40% of gas shipments last year.

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“We’re coming together to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian energy,” Biden said during a joint press conference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. 

Biden was accused by progressives, environmental activists, and others of not living up to his campaign promises of “confronting the existential threat from climate change.” 

Oil futures rose Tuesday morning after a volatile start. The market was weighing a coordinated international release to oil inventories against Russian supply disruptions.(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images/Getty Images

Peggy Shepard, a co-founder and executive director at We Act for Environmental Justice, said it was time for the White House to move away from fossil fuels – including halting LNG exports and infrastructure expansion. She stated that the U.S. should focus on green energy initiatives because of the soaring gasoline and oil prices. 

Shepard stated that “Building more LNG export terminals would lock fossil fuel infrastructure and polluting for decades to come.”

Biden was previously For the transition away from fossil fuels – including eliminating greenhouse gases from power plants by 2035 – he has fully embraced fossil-fuel expansion in an effort to punish Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine one month ago.

White House national climate adviser Gina McCarthy has acknowledged that Europe’s current energy needs have taken precedence over climate goals in the short term. Asked by Bloomberg how the White House was balancing the two, she said: “We’re actually not balancing right now.” 

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about the economy at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Washington, D.C., U.S.A, Tuesday, November 23, 2021. (Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg via Getty Images/Getty Images

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“Right now, we’re working on an emergency problem that the EU and we have on energy prices and security,” McCarthy said on the sidelines of a renewable energy summit in Washington, per Bloomberg. “But our goals remain the same – and that’s clean energy.”

The White House maintained that the new LNG pipelines and terminals would be constructed with greenhouse gas emission reductions in mind. This includes relying on clean energy for power, reducing methane leaching, and building “clean and sustainable hydrogen-ready infrastructure.”

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Activists believe that the president must go further to fulfill his campaign promises.

“President Biden campaigned on bold and ambitious goals to tackle the climate crisis and environmental injustice,” Kelly Sheehan, the Sierra Club’s director of energy campaigns, told Bloomberg News. “Supporting the push for gas exports to increase and lock in decades worth of fossil fuel production is directly against these goals.” 

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