by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
I am deeply troubled by the way concern over climate change is being used to repress domestic energy production. The U.S. is failing to produce sufficient quantities of natural gas and oil for ourselves and our allies. The result is the worst energy crisis in 50 years, continuing inflation, and harm to workers and consumers in the U.S. and the Western world. Energy shortages are already resulting in rising social disorder and the toppling of governments, and they are about to get much worse.
We should do more to address climate change but in a framework that prioritizes energy abundance, reliability, and security. Climate change is real and we should seek to reduce carbon emissions. But it’s also the case that U.S. carbon emissions declined 22% between 2005 and 2020, global emissions were flat over the last decade, and weather-related disasters have declined since the beginning of this century. There is no scientific scenario for mass death from climate change. A far more immediate and dangerous threat is insufficient energy supplies due to U.S. government policies and actions aimed at reducing oil and gas production.
The Biden administration claims to be doing all it can to increase oil and natural gas production but it’s not. It has issued fewer leases for oil and gas production on federal lands than any other administration since World War II. It blocked the expansion of oil refining. It is using environmental regulations to reduce liquified natural gas production and exports. It has encouraged greater production by Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and other OPEC nations, rather than in the U.S. And its representatives continue to emphasize that their goal is to end the use of fossil fuels, including the cleanest one, natural gas, thereby undermining private sector investment.