Published January 28, 2024

Biden’s Natural Gas Pause Will Jack Up Emissions, Empower Foreign Producers

Written by
The Dakotan
| The Dakotan

Nick Pope on January 26, 2024 (Daily Caller News Foundation)

The Biden administration’s decision to halt approval of new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals will not reduce emissions, but it will empower foreign production, energy sector experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The administration is pausing its approval of proposed terminals while the Department of Energy (DOE) widens the scope of its review to include the climate impacts of projects to determine whether they are in the public interest. While President Joe Biden touted the move as a decisive step to counter the “climate crisis,” energy sector experts told the DCNF that the decision will actually increase global emissions while empowering foreign energy producers, including countries that are not exactly amicable to American interests.

“My Administration is announcing today a temporary pause on pending decisions of Liquefied Natural Gas exports – with the exception of unanticipated and immediate national security emergencies,” Biden said in a statement. “This pause on new LNG approvals sees the climate crisis for what it is: the existential threat of our time. While MAGA Republicans willfully deny the urgency of the climate crisis, condemning the American people to a dangerous future, my Administration will not be complacent. We will not cede to special interests.”

However, energy sector experts say that the decision is political rather than a choice motivated by concern for emissions and American energy security, as young voters and environmental activist organizations figure to be key bastions of support for Biden in the upcoming presidential election. Global energy production and demand, meanwhile, won’t decrease, but would-be importers of U.S. LNG may have to look elsewhere to meet their needs if the administration follows through and effectively kills numerous export terminal projects like Calcasieu Pass 2 (CP2) in Louisiana, they told the DCNF.

“Biden will do whatever he deems to be politically necessary. If he thinks he needs a bunch of college kids showing up to vote for him, he will do what it takes to do that,” Dan Kish, a senior energy fellow for the Institute for Energy Research, told the DCNF. “This won’t bring down emissions at all, because the U.S. produces LNG with the least environmental impact of just about every other country on Earth. This decision actually will increase emissions, because it will make it more expensive potentially to secure natural gas in Europe and Asia, and they may resort to burning coal.”

American LNG exports to Europe have increased significantly since the Ukraine war started, and European firms have invested vast sums of money in expanding LNG import infrastructure that would complement American export facilities like CP2.

“Russia and Qatar are clearly in the driver’s seat as a result of this decision,” Kish continued. “This is such a blow to NATO.”

In terms of emissions, natural gas is considered the cleanest variety of energy-dense fossil fuels, and U.S. LNG is about 30% cleaner than Russian LNG, according to ClearPath. The U.S. was the world’s top exporter of LNG as of June 2023, with Australia, Qatar and Russia rounding out the top four, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

“Despite the White House’s claims to the contrary, it is profoundly absurd to claim this action will do anything to curb emissions. The natural gas to meet global demand will come from somewhere — either from the US, where it is produced more responsibly than anywhere else on earth, or from other nations with far fewer environmental regulations,” David Blackmon, a 40-year veteran of the oil and gas industry who now writes and consults on the energy sector, told the DCNF. “The big winners would include countries like Qatar, where the terrorist group Hamas is safely headquartered, and Algeria, among other exporting nations. The losers include big users of U.S. LNG, especially Germany and other European countries who desperately need the gas to bolster their struggling economies and disappearing industrial base. The fact that the President himself chose to once again demonize ‘MAGA Republicans’ in his official statement on this policy move clearly demonstrates its nakedly political motivation.”

While the Biden administration did not outright kill CP2 and other LNG export terminal projects with its decision to pause approvals and extend the scope of review, the delay could jeopardize the projects by gumming up financing and introducing a substantially higher degree of investment uncertainty into the picture in the form of additional red tape, Blackmon and Kish both told the DCNF.

White House officials reportedly met with several activists, including a 25-year old TikTok influencer and members of Climate Defiance, ahead of the decision. Environmental activist organizations have pressured Biden to kill the CP2 project, especially after the administration allowed ConocoPhillips’ Willow Project in Alaska to proceed last year.

Activist groups took a victory lap following the announcement on Friday, and numerous protests that had been planned to pressure the administration about LNG export terminals have been canceled, according to Bloomberg News.

Meanwhile, the American Petroleum Institute and numerous Republican lawmakers slammed the decision, describing it as a counterproductive and needless assault on the American energy sector.

“The Biden administration’s decision to halt American LNG export approvals is nonsensical,” American Exploration & Production Council CEO Anne Bradbury said of the approval pause. “It simultaneously harms the U.S. economy, threatens the security of our allies around the world and stymies global emissions reduction goals.”

Stay connected to the latest news
Subscription Form (#3)

About the Author

Trending Now
The Dakotan Newsletter
Subscribe to get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox
Newsletter Form (#4)
© AndMuse, LLC 2024 Login Email
LIVE: 2022 Minot Mayoral Forum
Click to Watch Live
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram