by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Biden administration climate czar John Kerry is criticizing oil companies over plans to increase production even as President Joe Biden has spent months pleading with them to do just that to fight high gas prices.
Kerry told Axios that he called the CEO of BP to express discontent with the energy giant’s plan to increase its oil and gas investments by $8 billion in the next seven years. Kerry also noted his “concern” over a Chevron initiative to increase oil production in the southwestern United States to 300,000 barrels a day. The climate official went on to urge those companies to “take stock … of where the science is today” and recognize that increased fossil fuel production is at odds with global climate change goals.
Kerry’s remarks reflect the conflict between the Biden administration’s short- and long-term energy policy goals. Biden in 2020 promised to “end fossil fuel,” and after taking office, the Democrat canceled the Keystone XL pipeline and slowed new oil leasing to its lowest level since World War II. But last summer, when the average price for a gallon of gas in the United States hit $5 for the first time ever, Biden changed his tune and urgd the industry to ramp up production.
Biden continued those calls through the 2022 midterm elections as the Democrat looked to avoid political blame for Americans’ pain at the pump, and he even assailed the oil industry for what he called a failure to “increase domestic production and keep gas prices down” during his February State of the Union address. Many U.S. oil companies, however, say that the Biden administration’s hostility toward fossil fuels made them hesitant to invest big money in new drilling operations.