Sustainability Energy

Volatility of oil market shows now’s the time to move away from fossil fuels, sustainability leaders say

“I think that what we are learning from this moment is that we cannot be dependent on oil and gas any longer,” said Chicago’s Chief Sustainability Officer Angela Tovar.
FILE – In this Sept. 18, 2021 photo, emissions rise from the smokestacks at the Jeffrey Energy Center coal power plant as the suns sets, near Emmett, Kans. As climate change bakes the planet, dozens of nations including the U.S. and many local governments are putting a price tag on greenhouse gas emissions that are causing more floods, droughts and other destructive events. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

Story at a glance

  • On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said it’s going to be difficult to bring down the price of gas in the U.S. as the war in Ukraine continues.

  • In early March, the price of crude oil increased by $9 a barrel due to the conflict in Ukraine. 

  • The price of gas began to slowly decline in early April, but has shot up over the past week.

Sustainability leaders said Thursday the current “volatility” of the oil market is a sign it’s time for the U.S. to make the switch to renewable energy.   

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, now entering its third month, has been felt around the globe as the war has triggered large supply chain issues and massive swings in oil and gas prices.  

At the beginning of this month, the price of gas began to slowly decline after prices spiked in March as Russia escalated its invasion of Ukraine.  


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 But over the past week, the price of gas has started to sneak back up, with the national average cost of a gallon of gas at $4.14, according to AAA.  

 U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said Thursday she doesn’t expect gas prices to fall soon.  

 “I have to be honest…It’s going to be difficult to see prices drop significantly because of the war in Ukraine,” Granholm said during The Hill’s “The Sustainability Imperative: Cleaner, Sustainable Energy of Tomorrow” virtual event. 

 In March, President Biden announced a ban on imports of Russian oil, which takes about “a million and a half barrels of oil offline,” Granholm noted, which has contributed to the spike in oil prices.  

 To address the oil deficit, the Biden administration called on the oil and gas industry to boost production. U.S. industries should be able to provide an additional million and a half barrels by the end of the year, Granholm said.   

 “I think that what we are learning from this moment is that we cannot be dependent on oil and gas any longer,” said Chicago’s Chief Sustainability Officer Angela Tovar, who also attended the event.  

 “Not only does it not make sense from a market perspective, but also from a climate perspective.” 

 Tovar noted that cities have options to build a zero-emissions transportation network by increasing renewable public transportation options, or by making cities more walkable or bikeable. She also suggested cities build infrastructure to accommodate electric vehicles.  

 Cutting transportation emissions is critical in the fight against climate change. In 2020, over a quarter of all CO2 emissions in the U.S. came from the transportation sector alone, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.   

 The chief sustainability officer of Austin, Texas, Lucia Athens, who also attended The Hill’s virtual event, agreed with Tovar. She said cities investing in renewable energy are “diversifying their portfolios of assets” to allow for more stability when particular energy markets become volatile.   


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