Biden sends the wrong message on climate change, US is a leader on lowering emissions
With President Biden in Glasgow, we need to recognize the United States has already shown that we can and do lead on decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, from 2005-2018 U.S. carbon dioxide emissions fell by 12 percent. During this time, the U.S. became the No. 1 energy producer in the world. We reduced our emissions by increasing production of cleaner-burning American natural gas. We created jobs, improved our economy and reduced emissions in the process.
During the same period, global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions increased by nearly 24 percent. Europe invested heavily in renewables that were unable to support their modern economies. Russia and its inferior environmental standards expanded its “worst in class” natural gas production. Now Europe’s failed “keep in the ground” policy is leading to greater imports of Chinese coal and Russian gas.
China’s GHG emissions have now grown to exceed those of the developed world combined. Even worse, they are not expected to peak for another decade. China is the greatest threat to global emission reduction efforts, but this administration is choosing to blame American energy workers while doing everything they can to drive production into China’s lap.
When products are made and energy is produced using U.S. technology, under our stringent, proven environmental standards, emissions decrease. When anti-American industry and energy policies outsource production and jobs to China, the same things will be made, but under China’s environmental standards, or lack thereof, with more pollution. If the goal is to reduce global emissions, we need to embrace American innovation, not reject it. Narrow and radical domestic policy that lets China off the hook may get applause at international conferences, but does nothing to reduce global emissions. It only hurts our workers.
We can be a model in this fight. We can export U.S. energy and technology that reduces emissions, supports modern economies and creates American jobs in the process.
However, the climate change community has a serious issue. The loudest voices are pushing proposals more focused on showing others how much they care than accomplishing the goal of lowering global GHG emissions. The Biden administration wants to show off to Europeans while its actions actually increase global emissions and empower our geo-political rivals.
We are already seeing this play out. On day one, Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline (and its 11,000 jobs), his administration then illegally paused oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters, and suspended drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. After doing everything possible to kneecap American energy production, the Biden administration waived sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream II natural gas pipeline, a gift to Putin.
This week, President Biden and “climate leaders” in Glasgow will pat each other on the back, pretending to make a difference, while doing their best to put Americans out of work. China’s President Xi will not attend. Agreements will be made that China and Russia will ignore and Europeans will fail to meet.
Entirely eliminating fossil fuels and returning our economies to the stone age does nothing if you only force production to pack up and move to a country with worse environmental standards. If the administration wants to lower global GHG emissions, they need to be less concerned about virtue signaling and more concerned about real solutions that have already worked.
Bill Cassidy, M.D., is a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee. Kevin Cramer is a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.