This week, President Biden’s Department of Energy announced that US exports of crude oil set a new record high — averaging 3.99 million barrels per day (b/d). It’s the most oil we’ve exported, ever, since the crude oil export ban was lifted in 2015. Coincidentally (or not), ExxonMobil announced it is acquiring a major rival to create the largest oil drilling company in the Permian Basin, which is the source of a lot to those record-setting crude oil exports.
This is the latest news in an ongoing disaster – the US is leading on climate change, but we’re leading in the wrong direction. This despite the obvious and ongoing impacts of the climate crisis, and the clear and unequivocal science from the United Nations and other international bodies that we must phase out fossil fuels. And despite the President’s own clear words that he sees climate change as an existential threat on the order of a nuclear war, and his promises and policies to cut US emissions in half by 2035 and to net zero by 2050.
It’s time for President Biden to listen to the science and end the era of fossil fuels. He can do it, too, as we’ve told you many times. All he needs to do is declare climate an emergency under the National Emergencies Act and stop the federal approval of all new fossil fuel projects. Sign here to tell him again.
Rather than equitably phasing out fossil fuels, which are the cause of the climate crisis, the U.S. is actively expanding them. The Biden administration has approved a slew of new fossil fuel ventures, including drilling on public lands, the construction of Minnesota’s Line 3 tar sands pipeline, the Willow Project in Alaska, thousands of miles of pipelines to boost liquified natural gas exports, and construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
Part of this is a shell game – President Biden promised to cut US emissions, which don’t include fossil fuel exports. Big oil companies like ExxonMobil see that as an opportunity to keep investing in the expansion of fossil fuels here on US soil, and even collect subsidies and credits from the US taxpayers in the process. But it is, as we say, a shell game. A fig leaf of a defense for actions that will only accelerate the climate crisis. – Bill McKibben put it succinclty:
But the atmosphere doesn’t care; once burned, the carbon quickly disperses around the globe, heating the entire planet.https://billmckibben.substack.com/p/it-seems-like-the-next-big-fight
Now, more than ever, we need Biden to use every tool in his arsenal to fight for a livable, equitable future.
One of those tools is the Biden administration declaring climate an emergency under the National Emergencies Act. That would give us the ability to reinstate the crude oil export ban, end new fossil fuel projects in the permian Basin and beyond, redirect disaster relief funds toward distributed renewable energy construction in frontline communities, and marshal companies to fast-track renewable transportation and clean power generation. All while creating millions of high-quality union jobs.
And even before the emergency declaration, Biden has the power to deny approvals for new fossil fuel projects, and phase out fossil fuel production on federal lands and waters—two critical steps, according to scientists, to staying under the global warming limits we comited to under the Paris Climate Agreement.
Climate change is already an emergency–we need an emergency declaration and an immediate end to fossil fuels. There’s more Biden can do, and it’s time for the Biden administration to step up and lead in the right direction, not the wrong one.