by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The White House held a brainstorming session on how to combat climate “denialism and delay” even as the Russian invasion of Ukraine fueled pressure on President Biden to end his crackdown on domestic oil-and-gas production.
The White House released Friday a readout from the previous day’s first-ever roundtable discussion held by the Office of Science and Technology Policy [OSTP] on “the scientific understanding of why arguments for delaying action on climate change are appealing and how they can be countered effectively.”
“It’s clear that a variety of special interests have had a vested interest in sowing doubt on climate change and feeding denialism and delay,” said White House senior adviser Neera Tanden in a statement. “We need to confront that reality.”
The two-hour virtual session illustrated the disconnect between the White House’s determination to push its climate agenda and rising GOP calls for Mr. Biden to lift restrictions on U.S. fossil-fuel development blamed for strengthening the hand of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“America must reclaim our energy independence to deter Vladimir Putin!” tweeted Sen. Bill Hagerty, Tennessee Republican. “President Biden must end his war on American energy NOW!”
James Taylor, president of the free-market Heartland Institute, said the White House roundtable’s timing was “like a dark comedy,” given “how our policies have boosted Russia’s economy and its military.”
“Here we have the day of a major invasion of Ukraine taking place, what’s the Biden administration doing? Are they putting all hands on deck to address this crisis?” he said on a press call. “No, they’re putting all hands on deck to strategize about how they can find a way to defeat the arguments of climate realists, or deniers as they call them, because they just can’t figure out why the American people aren’t buying into their climate alarmism.”